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Burke's Traditions

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Traditions & Celebrations

Founded in 1908, the Katherine Delmar Burke School, known as Burke's, is a school that is constantly forward-thinking while holding true to many long-standing traditions that make our community shine.

List of 12 items.

  • Opening Assembly

    Burke's formally rings in the school year at this all-school assembly, where the oldest eighth grader and youngest first grader team up to ring in the new year. 
  • School Families

    Each Burke's employee co-parents one of 38 School Families with a colleague or two, gathering with a dozen or so students from all grades at several events over the course of the school year. At the core of School Families are the relationships between Big Siblings (fourth graders) and Little Siblings (kindergarteners), who are paired off each fall.
  • Lower School Picnic

    Lower School students bring a parent or special guest to the front field for a picnic early in the school year. After the blankets have been cleared, students and visitors team up for various games and dances capped by the Snake Dance, which links the entire Lower School together in one long line, led by the Head of School, that "snakes" around the grass.
  • Halloween

    Every October 31 (or thereabouts), Burke's students can come to school in costume for an all-school community dance and parade! The Makery is open for costume creativity in the weeks leading up to the big event!
  • Holiday Sing

    The day before Winter Break, every Lower School student participates in a concert designed by the fourth grade that includes favorites from a variety of faith and cultural traditions. Many years include the popular "Call to Kwanzaa," the Hanukkah song "Candles, Candles Burning Bright," and the gospel number "Children, Go Where I Send Thee."
  • Lion Dance

    Burke’s commemorates each Lunar New Year with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance performed by the third grade. The dance was shared with Burke's by Loong Mah Lion Dance Troupe.
  • International Women's Day

    An all-school International Women's Day Assembly is held every March. Seventh-grade speeches are followed by special guests that have included Mayor London Breed, Vice President Kamala Harris, Kim Chambers, and Judge Abby Abinanti.
  • Maypole

    The eighth graders perform this ceremony on or right after May 1, where they have to weave the ribbons from the Maypole into intricate patterns. It can also be an emotional moment for eighth graders as they realize that their time as Burke’s girls is coming to an end.
  • Eighth Grade Musical

    Members of the eighth-grade class stage an hour-long musical each June. The students are responsible for working together to produce, act, sing, provide technical support, create sets and costumes, and supply anything that's needed to pull off the show.
  • Stepping Up Ceremony

    A special student-centered ceremony when students are invited to "step up" to the next grade and fourth graders celebrate their final day in Lower School.
  • Pansy Day

    Pansy Day celebrated graduating eighth graders and welcomes rising fifth graders into Upper School. After the songs, speeches, and awards, the graduating class is sprinkled with pansy petals (a symbol of remembrance and thought).
  • Commencement

    Burke's students in their dress uniform middies and Burke's gold and green ribbons receive individual tributes from faculty and well wishes from the community.
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.