Traditions and Values

Tim Breen, Head of School
Thursday was our final day before holiday break. We have many traditions for that day, from the rag-tag faculty production of a condensed version of A Christmas Carol at morning meeting, to Big Clean in the afternoon, to our Holiday Celebration in the evening, and our dinner together. This day is a wonderful example of the spirit of our community, an example of the values we live.
As a faculty we never rehearse A Christmas Carol very much, this was the first year that we had no rehearsals at all. And it may have been one of our best performances (“best” of course means most entertaining…). I’m not sure what lesson we should take away from that – but as always it provided much laughter, along with the message about love and giving of ourselves to one another. After classes filled with final projects and presentations, students and faculty members again gathered for Big Clean – a time to pitch in and make sure we leave the dorms and classroom building in good shape over break. A short break provided time for some sledding and snowboarding on Hood’s Hill, then we all got dressed up for our Holiday Celebration. Together in the Great Hall, we heard readings from different religious traditions, music from our a cappella group and student soloists, a beautiful reflection by Paul, our Chaplain, on the coming of light and how we can bring the light to others, and our traditional closing: the singing of Silent Night by our Senior class. The lights dim, and the seniors sing lit only by the candles they hold. The whole community joins for the 2nd and 3rd verses. It is almost as if the seniors are on their own, bringing their light into the world, but reminded that we are all there, just behind, supporting them.
As we do on many days, we begin the day together (at morning meeting), and we end the day together at a sit-down dinner. The holiday dinner is always special, as many parents join us as well. This year we also invited leaders of local non-profits – organizations our students have served this year. The food was great, and of course we had the traditional singing of “We Three Kings” by three faculty members – a performance filled with energy, if not with what would be considered traditional singing talent.  It brings smiles and laughter every year.
For me, our last day before the holiday break speaks to many of our values as a school.  We value our time together as a whole community – beginning and ending the day together. We invite others in to share with us. We work together to contribute to the beauty of our campus. We spend time in reflection and with the power of beautiful music.  And we laugh and smile together, a lot.
It is truly a blessing to be here.  Happy holidays.

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