Commencement. In keeping with tradition, the senior class dons white dinner jackets and black ties for their graduation ceremony. The valedictorian and senior class president give speeches, followed by a special Commencement speaker chosen by the class. Past Commencement speakers include Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot, international explorer Victor Vescovo ’84, former Navy SEAL LCDR Rorke Denver, and NASA scientist Alan Stern ’75.
Blue Shirts for Seniors. The normal school uniform is a white oxford cloth button-down collar shirt with grey shorts. During the last day of class for the junior class members, they “graduate” to the blue oxford cloth button-down collar shirt that is worn only by the seniors. They meet in the amphitheater for a breakfast and photo session wearing the blue shirts for the first time.
Lower School/Senior Buddies. At the beginning of the senior year, the Upper School assigns the 12th graders a Lower School “buddy.” Depending on how many are in the senior class, lower schoolers in grades 1-3 are available as buddies. Throughout the year, the seniors and their buddies get together for lunch, a snack break, a trip to the zoo, among other activities. The senior and his buddy have a special moment together when the lower schooler rides into the annual All-School Christmas Party on the shoulder of his senior.
The Pecos Wilderness Trip. Rising ninth-graders are required to go on a 10-day trip to the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico. This is the culmination of the Outdoor Education Program that begins in the middle school years with overnight campouts. The Pecos Trip is a rite of passage for the students leaving Middle School and going into Upper School. Faculty members, and other Upper School students who act as sherpas guide the ninth graders on a hiking and camping trip that acts as a bonding experience for the class.
McDonald’s Week. The Junior Class is in charge of this special Community Service effort each November. They plan activities for each of the four mornings leading up to the Thanksgiving Break. The local McDonald’s restaurant agrees to donate meals to the clients at the Austin Street Centre in downtown Dallas in exchange for the number of breakfasts sold to St. Mark’s and Hockaday students and their families during McDonald’s Week. T-Shirts with the logo of each McDonald’s Week are sold, and loose change is collected. This money is donated to the Austin Street Centre to meet the other needs of the homeless shelter.
Marksman Ball. St. Mark’s spring formal is held in May and begins with the announcement of that year's Marksmen yearbook dedication. The dedicatee addresses the class and the seniors receive their yearbooks. Students and their dates enjoy a seated dinner with parents before splitting off for a dance.
Homecoming. Each fall, St. Mark’s celebrates Homecoming Weekend, featuring activities for the entire school community. On Friday night, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends are invited to a kick-off party in the Great Hall before joining students in Norma & Lamar Hunt Family Stadium for the home varsity football game. At halftime, the Homecoming Court is honored. On Saturday night, Upper School students and their dates attend the Homecoming Dance, where the Homecoming King and Queen are announced.