When Joe Chodl and Colin Britt arrived up at the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) that Wednesday morning, our Upper School principal and choir director didn’t expect to hear so many melodies. Pulling into the gravel lot in the early morning hours, they pictured tired ninth graders filing out of the camp’s dining hall. Dr. Chodl and Dr. Britt had driven up from Rutgers Prep to offer encouragement and to see how the ninth grade students were bonding during the annual camping retreat. Students had already started rigorous activities for the day, however. Joe and Colin would need to walk through the woods to link up with busy student groups.
That’s when they heard the singing. Neither Joe, a father of two young boys, nor Colin, who has performed professionally with Disney, had trouble recognizing the song list—favorite Disney tunes from classic movies. As they hiked closer to the voices, they heard students laughing and challenging each other to remember lyrics. It seemed like the camping trip was achieving its goal—the students sounded happy and connected to each other.
Then, as Joe and Colin approached, a different song floated through the forest: the Rutgers Prep School song. “You have to learn the words,” students who had risen up through our lower and middle school urged, patiently teaching the lyrics to the ninth graders who had just joined our community. Dr. Britt, who recently arranged the centuries-old music for instrumental performance, appreciated the joy with which our ninth graders belted out the lyrics. The activity was an excellent idea and one the students came up with on their own, spontaneously discovering a musical method to welcome their classmates.
“You can’t manufacture moments like those,” Dr. Chodl remembers. “Before students ever attend class in the Upper School, we send them to PEEC in order to connect with each other. That’s how much we prioritize class unity.” While those important moments often cannot be orchestrated, we appreciate the many ways our students welcome new classmates to our campus throughout the fall. As one transfer student observed last year, “You don’t feel like a new kid for very long at Rutgers Prep.”
If the school song is one of your favorites, we sing it throughout the year at events on campus. Please contact our alumni office to find a time to stop by. If you don’t yet know its words by heart, here they are below. We’re proud of the long tradition of joy our students have found in singing it.
The School Song
By the lovely riverside;
And we’ll never shirk our duty
To uphold her name with pride;
With her many loyal sons and daughters
Since her hist’ry began,
By the gently flowing waters
Of the River Raritan.
Of our schooldays here is told,
May it never dim the glory
She has known since days of old;
Let our symbol be the river flowing
Onward to the sea;
In the way that we are going
May we ever steadfast be.