Happy 137th Birthday to Groton!

Groton School celebrated its 137th birthday on Thursday with a festive all-school dinner, cupcakes, and the traditional singing of “Blue Bottles,” one of the school’s most beloved and quirky traditions.

The evening birthday dinner was a celebration simply because it occurred. With the school gymnasium filled with revelers and decorated for a party, many thought back to the year before, when the always-anticipated school birthday celebration fell victim to pandemic protocols. Groton School felt a special brand of birthday joy, combined with gratitude, this year.

At the end of each birthday dinner, Groton’s Fifth Formers (juniors) traditionally, sing “Blue Bottles,” but because Sixth Formers missed the chance last year, the two forms joined for a raucous rendition of the song, which was moved outdoors due to pandemic rules that still prohibit indoor singing. When it was too dark to videotape the song, students quickly turned on their mobile phones' lights and, in an instant, the "stage lights" were on, crowdsourced by a supportive audience.

The school birthday celebration coincided with the annual Give2Groton campaign; over three days, October 27–29, alumni, parents, and friends generously donated $450,130 in gifts. The goal was 500 donors, but 767 participated. Groton sends thanks to everyone who stepped up once again this year to support Give2Groton. 

Each school birthday (which actually falls on October 15) begins with an inspiring chapel talk. This year was no exception, as Marichal Monts ’81, the founding pastor at the Citadel of Love church in Hartford, Connecticut, delivered a moving talk about his calling to service and Groton School's role in his life.

He recalled staying up all night when he first arrived at Groton as a student “because there was no noise. I was so accustomed to the sirens and people talking outside my window in the projects that I had to learn how to sleep in the quiet.” Church, he said, had filled his life with “joyful noise.” 

At Groton, he explained, his calling toward service crystallized. “I began to feel the urgency and the importance of understanding that real living was in giving,” he said. “This place instilled in me an even deeper desire to serve God through serving people.”

The speaker urged students to use the gift of a Groton education to better the world. “Just promise me that you will use your authority and position and influence and power for good,” he said. “Use your voice in government, in education, in religion, in the sciences, in politics, in the media, and in your interpersonal relationships.

"Use it to bring more voices to the table. Use it to learn more about people who are not like you.”