A Tradition of Excellence
From teaching Industry, Courtesy, Responsibility, and Scholarship, to holding assemblies and encouraging our students to shake hands upon entering the classroom, The Cushman School’s dedication to our roots is what has made it one of the best schools in the country.
The Cushman School upholds and enjoys many academic, seasonal and civic traditions that provide cultural awareness and celebrations of accomplishment. These special events are integral to and encompass the daily life of a Cushman student and many serve as benchmarks for students in the timeline of a Cushman education.
Every Monday morning is “All School Devotion.” The entire student body gathers for a student-led presentation regarding pillars of good character as well as an acknowledgment of birthdays, athletic awards and academic achievements. At times, special recognition occurs for those who have demonstrated extraordinary industry, courtesy and responsibility. Cushman’s goal of developing the whole child is reinforced by these and many other traditions.
The Head of School gives out a Kindness Key to students demonstrating acts of kindness to their Cushman Community. The Kindness Key aligns with Cushman’s focus on developing empathy and strength of character in our students. Students are eager to receive this award and we are proud that this generation of children recognizes that “it’s cool to be kind”.
This long-standing, Cushman tradition is a rite of passage for our Primary students as they matriculate onto Elementary School. Held in the beginning of May each year, this festive celebration usually includes the May Day dance and assembly that features singing and dancing with ribbons around the Maypole. Kindergarten students then cross the flower-embellished bridge to culminate this beautiful ceremony. Congratulations to some of our youngest Cougars for moving onward in their Cushman School journey.
During annual Oratories, the students in first, fourth, sixth and seventh grades choose poems, speeches or songs to memorize and deliver on-stage to their peers and families.
At Cushman, we take great pride in celebrating our roots on Grandparents’ Day usually scheduled prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. This day is dedicated to honoring our students’ grandparents and great-grandparents and their legacies as well as recognizing those who have served in the military. We often invite our families into the classrooms on this day so that students can show off their favorite projects. This loving event culminates with our Grandparents’ Day assembly where all students perform.
There is nothing like the joy of reading. Each year, The Cushman School invites authors and parents to the annual Reading Round-Up to celebrate the importance of reading with our students. Aside from our virtual event during COVID, the tradition is for small groups to dress in western attire, relax on blankets in the shade covered by our campus foliage and appreciate the written word. Some authors, motivational speakers, and parents will also be invited to speak on relevant global topics. Not only does it help students with their reading skills, but it connects them with diverse viewpoints and provides meaningful insight into character development and individualism.
May Day signifies the official start to spring when our Primary School students get to deliver a performance of poetry, dances, and songs. The finale is the festive May Pole Dance of intertwining colorful ribbons around the Maypole. This is a stellar moment for some of our youngest stars as the dance requires great coordination and concentration in front of an audience of their families, faculty and friends.
One of the performing arts highlights of the school year is the Spring Play. This annual tradition has been held each May on the professional stage at the nearby Barry University. Now we look forward to hosting this performance in our new Play to Learn Performing Arts and Athletics Center following its opening in 2022. Each year, a new musical is selected to best showcase the 5th graders; who all have starring roles as they are the leaders of our Elementary School prior to matriculating on to Middle School.
A traditional ceremony that elevates the junior class to leaders of the school and serves as an official send off to our seniors. Graduates exchange a candle as a symbol of leadership, wisdom and knowledge with a junior. In return, Graduates receive a rose as a symbol of love and friendship.
We celebrate the Arts each year at our annual Gallery Walk. This event transforms our campus with a fantastic display of our students’ impressive creativity. Their artwork is featured throughout the walkways and in classrooms, and there is often a special “guest artist” who attends. Our Voices of Cushman and Half Notes kick off the morning with a heartfelt musical performance. Ranging from beautiful sunflower paintings by Dr. Haralson’s youngest artists through spectacular innovations from Middle and High School students, the overall presentation gives Art Basel some neighborly competition!
Heritage Days at Cushman are a long-standing tradition that links our students to their families’ history and the interconnectedness of our global community. As part of our fifth-grade social studies curriculum, students deliver impressive speeches about their ancestral roots and how their forefathers came to America. On this day, the Elementary School pavilion is transformed into a “mini Epcot” with elaborate displays, artifacts and fabulous food from all over the globe.
As a culmination of the fourth-grade curriculum and study of the United States, students select a state, conduct thorough research and create comprehensive presentations. Some include a variety of written pieces including poetry, a presentation board, brochures on their state, and short stories. Students end this wonderful learning experience with the State Fair. This event allows them to showcase their work, dress in costume, bring in food representative of their state, and orally present their knowledge to the entire Cushman School’s student body as they visit their displays.
Inspiring teamwork, sportsmanship, and camaraderie among the Cushman community, these festive highlights to our unique P.E. programming get all students out to play! Students in all divisions are put on either the Blue or White Teams (Cushman colors) and enjoy friendly competitions throughout the school year during their P.E. classes. They wear their team t-shirts to school on these Cougar Spirit days… which always involve fun sports activities, music, freeze dancing, popsicles and tons of joy.
We love to celebrate birthdays at Cushman. It’s a long-standing tradition to recognize each student’s birthday at the morning flag ceremonies. They are called up to receive their birthday ribbons as well as a book of choice, which is later gifted back to the Cushman library in his/her honor. Students are invited to dress out of uniform on their special day.
At Cushman, students are encouraged to participate in a variety of programs that help enrich the lives of others both in our local community and worldwide. This empathic mindset begins in age-appropriate ways from the earliest years through tremendous leadership roles in high school, when students graduate as Innovators of Change.
Service learning connects the school-based curriculum with the inherent caring and concern young people have for their world, whether on their school campus, at a local food bank, or in a distant rainforest. The results are memorable, lifelong lessons for students. For example, each year, Middle School students participate in Service Learning Projects such as supporting the Holocaust Documentation Center or America’s Moms for Soldiers.
In the tradition of purpose-driven learning at Cushman, Society and Me (SAM) is a required four-year course for all Cushman High School students. Its purpose is to have students identify and analyze major issues of our time, choose one they wish to tackle independently and deliver solutions that positively impact the society at large. This work inspires our students to find and share their voices on important timely issues … and ultimately make the world a better place.
At this invitation-only SAMx Showcase, five of our high school students reveal their year-long Society and Me outreach projects and accomplishments as a special culmination to all our high school students’ impressive work. It’s usually a heartfelt, inspirational evening that reinforces the importance of creating empathic mindful adults. We are proud of our Innovators of Change.
Both 11th and 12th graders enjoy this ceremonial rite of passage and receive their Cushman Cougar rings.
Students and parents are invited to decorate a car and participate in a festive, celebration of goodbyes to our Graduates as they drive along Biscayne Blvd. from our main campus to our high school campus! The best decorated car wins prime seating at Graduation.