Grandparents' and Grandfriends' Day last week was so JOYful and I would like to thank the PTF and all of the wonderful bakers who contributed to the reception. Several of our students told me this was their favorite day of the academic year and now I know why! I could not think of a better way to begin the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It was also a privilege for me to attend an Alumni Gathering in Chestertown on Thanksgiving Eve. I heard some fun stories about life at Kent School across four decades and was struck by the deep love and gratitude alumni have for their School.
Right before Thanksgiving I received a book from two of our students that moved me to tears. I spent my break reading
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
by Nobel Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I especially loved reading it in the quiet morning hours when my house was sound asleep. Amid the wonderful chaos of having my three adult children and one black lab home for our first holiday in Chestertown, I found great peace within the pages of this book. The Eight Pillars of Joy resonated with me as well as the Joy Practices shared and I will most certainly be Journaling for Gratitude in my Kent School journal. One quote that stayed with me is simple yet poignant,
...ultimately, our greatest joy is when we seek to do good for others.
Seeking to be a good person and doing good for others are central tenets of a Kent School education. Our caring learning community supports our students' pursuit of finding and celebrating the good in themselves and others through our core values of integrity, respect, responsibility and friendship. Our Empty Bowls event in November was a shining example of the selfless spirit that is Kent School. Tomorrow night our Chorus will be carolling in Chestertown for the first night of Winterfest Weekend so that others can enJOY their angelic voices. I am looking forward to accompanying them and maybe even singing. Join me!
Being a good citizen in our Kent School community is highly valued. I believe that our 7th and 8th grade students are ready to model for the rest of the school independent study, time management and friendship in an important way. Beginning on January 3, 7th and 8th grade students will not be required to stay in the Before Care program in the Library after 8:00am if they arrive early to School (if they arrive between 7:30am and 8:00am they will need to be in the Library until 8:00am). Students will be required to sign in as usual in the Library, then they are free to study, visit with friends, or read in the Middle School commons area near the 8th Grade Homeroom. Using unsupervised free time wisely is a skill they will need for secondary school and I am pleased with how Study Hall is going for them this year.
We will also have a new face in the After School program. I am delighted to welcome Jenna Walters to Kent School as the After School Program Coordinator beginning today. Jenna joins us from Radcliffe Creek School where she has taught Preschool. Jenna will be in after care for the two hour shift each day and will also be doing some subbing for us. Please stop by and introduce yourself.
You have just a few more days to finish reading
. As you know Vermont educator Sam Drazin will be on campus on Tuesday to discuss kindness, disability awareness and the All Middle School read
. The 4th Grade is also reading
and will attend the Middle School assembly. The entire Middle School will hold a meeting during Advisory time on Monday to discuss some ideas and questions for Sam prior to his visit. In addition, advisories this past week and leading up to December 6 will focus on kindness. I hope you will join me for the community program at 6:00pm on December 6 in the Mike V. Williams Gymnasium. Sam will share disability awareness strategies for parents and I know you will find his story compelling and inspiring.
I hope to see you on campus many times in this short, festive and action-packed month at Kent School. I am excited to see for the first time our Holiday Clubs and the Holiday Program. Traditions like these that make our school so special are meaningful to our students and keep them connected. And, as we prepare for the December holidays and the coming of a new year I would like to leave you with this charge from
The Book of Joy.
...be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around us.
Have a restful winter break.