Ravens from all three divisions gathered around the Bell Tower today for a Gathering of Thanksgiving, celebrating the importance of gratitude and reflecting on the ways they can bring joy to one another.
The Gathering of Thanksgiving was planned in partnership with students on the Spirituality Task Force, which supports schoolwide efforts to cultivate community belonging and greater awareness of students’ and staff’s various faith perspectives.
Following a ceremonial ringing of the bell by Charlotte Stringer ’26 and Hayden Perry ’26, Sunishka Deshpande ’22 welcomed students, faculty and staff to the assembly. Acknowledging that such a gathering was not possible last year, she said, “As I look around on campus, I adore the changing colors of the leaves, sweater weather and all of you, students of various grade levels and different paths in life, thankful for our community. I urge you all this fall break to reach out to your loved ones, share a feast together — and don’t forget to add some spice.”
After Anika LeCheminant ’29 led the community in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the Upper School Concert Choir, led by Robert Strebendt, performed “Run to You” by Pentatonix, arranged by Strebendt.
Heidi Segars ’22 and Simone Baldwin ’22 then shared words on the theme of gratitude. Heidi prayed from her Christian faith perspective, “As we commemorate the season of Thanksgiving, help us reflect on the blessings in our own lives and find joy in the practice of gratitude today and every day.” Simone read a poem entitled “Be Thankful,” which explored how even challenges and setbacks can become blessings through the exercise of gratitude.
In her remarks, Head of School Doreen Kelly talked about the universality of gratitude and how practicing kindness — even during challenging moments — helps create joy. “Some days we’re feeling more joyful, and some days we’re feeling the impact of when things are hard,” she said.
She then drew from Harry D. Cohen’s book, “Be the Sun, Not the Salt,” which explores the “heliotropic effect,” comparing our intentional positivity to the energy given to plants by the sun. “I have a plant at home, on the coffee table in the middle of the house. And no matter where I turn it, it will move toward the sun — toward life-giving energy,” she said. “What would it mean for all of us to consider being just a little bit more heliotropic in the way we show up at Ravenscroft?”
Encouraging students, faculty and staff to lead with kindness — and to smile, even through their masks — she closed the assembly, and everyone returned to their classrooms.
Watch a video of the assembly here.