Students, faculty and staff came together as a school community in the A.E. Finley Activity Center’s Main Arena on April 6 for a Spring Chapel/Gathering.
The gathering — the first such schoolwide event held indoors in more than two years — celebrated the season of rebirth and renewal through song, stories and reflections from students and faculty sharing from their own faith perspectives. The Upper School Wind Ensemble, led by Kelly Nivison, and the Upper School String Symphony and Eighth-Grade Strings, led by Pamela Kelly, performed as well.
In her opening remarks, Head of School Doreen Kelly reminded students, some of whom were enjoying their first-ever chapel at Ravenscroft, why it is such a cherished schoolwide tradition.
“It is an important part of our mission, vision and values, where we honor our spiritual tradition that is rooted in a Judeo-Christian tradition,” she explained. “And while not everyone who gathers comes from those traditions, we invite everyone into a space of respect as others share prayers, music, poems and thoughts that reflect their ‘I’ position.”
Kelly noted as well that chapels, as with similar gatherings that take place throughout the school year, are planned in conjunction with students on the Spiritual Task Force. “Thank you for your kind attention and respect today,” she added.
The program reflected the numerous faith perspectives present in our community. Upper School teacher Anna Nethery shared an opening prayer. Harper Atkins ’29 and Isaac McGlown ’29 led the singing of “Hymn to Joy.” Ethan Silverman ’25 and Hannah Silverman ’23 shared a Torah reading and prayer to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover, which commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. Later, Simone Baldwin ’22 gave a New Testament reading on the Last Supper and the covenant born from Christ’s sacrifice. Sunishka Deshpande ’20, who is a practicing Hindu, read Christina Rossetti’s poem “Spring,” which captures the glory of nature’s return to life after winter.
Kelly said in her address, “I also want to offer good wishes to those who are in the midst of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, which includes a profession of faith, charity and pilgramage as well. May this season of hope, reflection and reconciliation be a point of connection to our common humanity.” She went on to say:
Personally, I have really looked forward to this spring season for so many reasons, and when I finally saw the daffodils pop up in front of the Lower School, I had a sense of the spring season that many poets have captured over the years. Recently a student asked me what my favorite flower is. I had not been asked that question in a long time, but my answer is easy: the daffodil. Each year, I notice the daffodils on campus, and it is nature’s way of reminding me that even in the toughest of times, the bulb pushes through the earth — and I am reminded again of this season’s hope.
… Today represents a wonderful opportunity. I want to thank all of you for all you do to bring hope into my life. I wish you a wonderful Spring Break and many blessings within your holy traditions.
Head of Middle School Bernardo Guzmán gave the closing prayer, explaining to the community that it is a Children’s Prayer from his Catholic faith tradition. He added that he recites it to his own children every night, in both Spanish and English.
Students were then dismissed to return to their schoolday.