• News
Spring Gathering Marks Holy Season for Many Ravens


Clockwise from top left: Finley Hodges ’37 on the way to Olander Center for the gathering; Nikki Gupta ’26; members of the Lower School Raving Ravens; Aryan Ghodrat ’24

The school community gathered on Tuesday, March 26, to honor the spring season, in which students of numerous faith traditions are celebrating some of their most holy days and festivals. The schoolwide event was planned by the student-led Spiritual Task Force in partnership with Head of School Doreen Kelly.

Students, faculty and staff were welcomed by Aryan Ghodrat ’24, who shared the memory of his first time marking Persian New Year — the first day of spring — with the tradition of Chaharshambeh Suri, a symbolic celebration of the triumph of light over evil. He recalled with humor that his parents encouraged him, then six years old, to jump over small fires built for the special event. Overcoming his initial concerns — “My whole childhood I was told not to play with fire, and now my parents wanted me to jump over multiple [fires]?” he said — he eventually joined in. “It has become my favorite tradition in Persian New Year,” he concluded. “So, as we gather here today, I urge you to embrace the stories that shape us, much like I embraced mine that night.”

Next, Faris Othman ’25 spoke, reflecting on his Muslim faith tradition and the observance of Ramadan. “Right now I am fasting [from dawn to dusk] for Ramadan. Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is a time of spiritual reflection and self-discipline for Muslims,” he explained. “It commemorates the significant moment when the angel Gabriel appeared to prophet Mohamed with a message from Allah. The message was the Quran, which guides Muslims to lead lives of righteousness. Beyond the historical context, Ramadan serves as a reminder for Muslims to be compassionate and empathetic to the struggles of others.”

Nikki Gupta ’26 then talked about Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, which marks the end of winter and honors the triumph of good over evil. She recalled celebrations during her childhood in which her grandparents would visit and the family would dance and throw colored powder on one another to symbolize the beauty of the festival. “I will always cherish these moments spent with my family and the memories we make. The colors and excitement of Holi remind us to radiate positivity and spread happiness to everyone around us.”

 The assembly enjoyed a song, “Stars,” performed by the Lower School Raving Ravens choir, directed by Katie O’Neill with accompaniment by SK Chipley.

Ethan Axler ’26 and Ethan Dinitz ’26 spoke next about the Jewish festival of Pesach, or Passover, which takes place in the coming weeks and commemorates the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. Passover is also “a profound story that carries global truths and wisdom relevant to our lives today,” they said. It “teaches us about the power of liberation… highlights the importance of remembrance… and emphasizes the value of resilience in the face of adversity. Passover inspires us to persevere with determination. It teaches us that setbacks are not permanent barriers but opportunities for growth and transformation.”

Next, Kelly read scripture from her Christian faith tradition that shares the story of Easter, which this year takes place on Sunday, March 31. The first verses, from I Corinthians, tell the story of Jesus sharing the Last Supper with his disciples; verses from Luke tell of how, following crucifixion and burial, Jesus rose on the third day. Kelly then reflected on the importance of this season in so many faiths held by members of the Ravenscroft community. 

Next, Middle School teacher Sarah Baker shared a poem, “A blessing for the life you have” by Kate Bowler, and Assistant Director of Admissions Sean Kelly ’11 said a closing prayer from his Christian faith perspective. Spiritual Task Force member Nick Gillespie ’24 then dismissed the assembly.