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Ravens Celebrate the Season of Gratitude Together


Lower School music teacher Katie O’Neill leads members of the Class of 2033 in performing “Lovely World.”

The all-school Gathering of Thanksgiving took place today in Warner Arena, providing an opportunity for all three divisions to join together in reflection and gratitude. The program was planned and led by students, a result of the work of the student-led Spiritual Task Force.

Jaden Sullivan ’28 called the school community together with the ringing of the bell in the Murphy Bell Tower. Spiritual Task Force member Nick Gillespie ’24 welcomed everyone to the gathering, and Grace Axler ’26 led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The community was treated to special music by the Class of 2033, the third-grade class, “Lovely World.” They were directed by Lower School music teacher Katie O’Neill, with accompanist SK Chipley on piano. Faris Othman ’25 then said the opening prayer of thanks from his Muslim faith perspective, followed by a poem, “Gratitude,” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, read by Ethan Axler ’26. 

Next, Aryan Ghodrat ’24 shared some reflections on gratitude through his Persian heritage and Baha’i faith perspective. Noting that his experiences may be different from those Ravens who celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving — “Picture a Thanksgiving where traditional bread rolls have been auto-corrected to pita bread and the aroma of sweet potato casseroles replaced by the rich fragrance of Persian stews” — he went on to say:

Clockwise from top: Head of School Doreen Kelly introduces the Class of 2033’s performance; Grace Axler ’26 leads the Pledge of Allegiance; Nick Gillespie ’24 shares a welcome; Aryan Ghodrat ’24 reflects on the universal language of gratitude.

My table may look different than yours, but the sentiment is universal. We gather, we reflect and, most importantly, we express our heartfelt gratitude. 

Through the Baha’i faith, I’ve learned that gratitude comes in many forms and goes beyond mere words. It is said that “there is a cordial thanksgiving … which expresses itself in the deeds and actional of [humans] when [their hearts] are filled with gratitude.”

… As we gather, whether it be around pita or casseroles, let’s remember this universal gratitude. Beyond feasts and festivities lies a profound connection: giving thanks. It’s more than words — it’s a way of life, an act, a gesture. So I invite you to reflect on how you give thanks during this season and consider the deeper messages behind your traditions.

Head of School Doreen Kelly — joined by Amory Martin ’30, who was Head of School for the Day — then closed the gathering with “Blessing for the Fullness of This Day” by Pierre Pradervand, which ends with these lines: “I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and choose love over fear. Thank you, Life, for this day.”