Last night we met for a Community Dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving as a school. Chef Sven and his team provided a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, green beans and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pasta—followed by three different kinds of pies! We sat at assigned tables and had fun talking about the fall trimester, the winter to come, and about what has challenged the students the most up to this point in the year.
After dinner we followed tradition and headed to the Louise Shonk Kelly Recital Hall to share our collective gratitude with one another. I started by expressing my gratitude to all the students for their courage in striving to be their authentic selves this year, and thanking the senior class for working so hard to create a positive, safe and inclusive culture on campus this year. At that point I opened up the sharing opportunity to the audience. I was not sure what to expect, but after about twenty minutes I had to ask the students to wrap it up since I had to release them to study hall to get ready for their last day of exams. Students thanked their teachers, roommates, teams, classes, coaches, parents, tutors, advisors, faculty toddlers, college counselor, the buildings and grounds staff, and just about anyone else in the school! After each acknowledgement the whole school gives two claps before the next speaker raises their hand. Momentum builds over the course of the meeting and more and more students develop the courage to speak up. This tradition is one of my favorites of the year and I hope that the students carry the spirit of Thanksgiving home with them for the holiday break!