Service to Others
We have had many opportunities since late August to affirm our commitment to the three promises St. Johnsbury Academy makes to our students and their families. These three promises – to help each student become the best person possible, to become the best learner possible, and to become part of something bigger than themselves – are embraced in many ways in and among our community. These three promises are considered regularly in Chapel, in our classes, in the hallways, and beyond. Though not always quoted, they are central to our work.
Though temperatures would indicate otherwise, it is November – a month that is often known for gratitude and celebration of community. So, while I walked home tonight in short sleeves, I thought at length about our busy fall, our three promises, and those opportunities to understand ourselves through the support of others.
One of the most palpable ways our three promises are felt and seen is through service to others. I am incredibly proud of the ways that our students and faculty have given of their time and talents this fall; I am eager to share a few of these moments with you. Thanks to donations from Salvation Farms Chef Hale and dozens of student volunteers processed over 600 pounds of raw vegetables into ready-to-eat sides such as tomato sauce, roasted potatoes, and sweet corn. These items support the work of Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA) and Kingdom Community Services. Mr. Roberts and students in his Advanced Electrical class moved and stacked firewood for two local families. Many fall sports teams participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. SJA’s very own “Make It Better” club held a schoolwide ‘birthday party in a bag’ drive to help provide over 100 local families in need with essential birthday party items for their children. Mr. Carr and some of his students helped a family move into a new home. Most recently, students in Mr. Stark’s Advanced Woodworking class presented memorial benches in honor of Mr. Jerry Prevost, a longtime faculty member, and Ms. Jillian Hegarty, Class of ’20.
In a world full of soundbites and unlimited scrolling, the ‘long play’ of promises take time. It is easy to lose sight of all the good in our community, all the progress we make with young people each day. On any given day it can be tempting to allow what is immediate to overshadow what is important, understanding, of course, that some things are not that binary.
Promises are hard work, and they are meant to be taken seriously. Our community is working hard and taking the commitment to ourselves and each other seriously. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, the SJA community will hold a Variety Day and Food Drive to support our local food shelves at a time of year when many in our community are struggling to put food on their tables.
This November, and beyond, we are grateful for your support and the continued partnership needed to keep our three promises to you and your families.
Assistant Head of School for Academics & Student Life