Setting the Tone for the Holiday Season

students coloring leavesGratitude week in the Lower School is traditionally the last whole week of school before the Thanksgiving Break. Students participate in a series of daily activities that encourage them to take stock of their blessings and express their gratitude to others. The week serves as a beautiful gateway into the holiday season ahead.

During one activity, students decorated paper leaves with words and icons representing what they were thankful for. As he colored in the word “life” in his leaf, grade 5 student William V. ’31 said, “I have gratitude, but I feel like with this more conscious week of activities and everything my gratitude shows a lot more.”

Classmate Cyra A. ’31 stated she was thankful for “the library, my family, my friends, and mangoes.“ Working alongside Cyra, Noah S. ’31 said, “I’m thankful for Jesus. I’m thankful for all the teachers who help and improve me when I’m learning.”

Experiencing gratitude week for the first time, new student Victoria T. ’31 said, “When you do activities like this, you’re opening up and showing what you’re thankful for, and you’re actually listening to yourself, and saying, I really am thankful for this.” Also experiencing gratitude week for the first time, Eva D. ’31 added, “Sometimes you don’t realize all of the great things that you have, and gratitude week might make you more thankful for some of the things you were taking for granted.”

While Lower School students participate in gratitude week, other activities in the Upper School and across all grades serve to ring in the holiday season. These include the annual Thanksgiving Community Mass in Grace Hall Chapel, the all-school Thanksgiving food drive for the Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry, the Senior Thanksgiving lunch organized by their parents, The Upper School Thanksgiving Prayer Service, and the Black Scholars, SHADES (Students Helping Advocate for Diversity in Education and Society), & SDLB (Student Diversity Leadership Board) Annual Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner.

Throughout the Oak Knoll community, faculty, staff, administration, parents, and alumnae/i all consistently comment that the holiday season from Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas and New Year is their favorite time of year. May the spirit of gratitude permeate the days ahead as we enter this holiday season and remain throughout the year.