On the day before Thanksgiving, grandparents, parents, and other special friends and relatives came to campus to celebrate Grandfriends Day, an annual tradition that is one of the most treasured of the school year.
After a stunning performance on the violin by eighth grader Hughie Park, Head of School Clair Ward welcomed visitors in the Trustey Family Theatre with an invitation to all to embrace the school/home partnership. Taking the children's classic Goodnight Moon as her example, Ward told listeners, "We spend a lot of time as a culture soothing infants with things like Goodnight Moon. As children get older, we spend less and less intentional time doing this important and nurturing task for children. I urge you consider ways to re-incorporate soothing routines back into your time with our children. As adults, let us model for them ways in which to quiet the body and the mind other than those that take electricity."
The hundreds of guests then dispersed across campus to spend time with children in their classrooms, enjoying interactive games and projects, mini-lessons, Harkness-style discussions, and much more in both the Upper and Lower School. Teachers had families team of for everything from on-screen quizzes about Thanksgiving trivia a nd biographical interviews, to science experiments and group readings—delighting visitors young and old.
Grandfriends Day concluded with a pre-Thanksgiving assembly in the Howard Gymnasium, including a concert and an address by the elected ninth grade speaker. Music teachers Jenn Boyum and Alex Asacker surely evoked many memories with their selection of American jazz standards from before 1960, performed by students from Pre-K through Grade 9. In between songs, student speaker Ava D'Ambrosio fondly reflected on her own family's Thanksgiving traditions, wishing all a joyful holiday.