This week brought the annual Middle School Sports Banquet to the Goshen Campus, and it was heartwarming as usual! The camaraderie and spirit among teammates and the special relationships that develop between coaches and their players were on full display Tuesday night. The coaches spoke warmly about their teams, seasons, and challenges, and delighted in handing out well-deserved trophies to some of their athletes. I always love how their teammates delight in cheering each other on, and the “all for one” philosophy is clearly evident. It’s easy to see that our faculty and parent coaches are teaching our students the proper lessons about athletics; that winning isn’t everything (OK, it is nice!), practice is crucial, and sportsmanship is paramount. The smiles on the students’ faces makes it one of the really rewarding evenings of the school year.

And in addition to the Middle School Sports Banquet, many other events keep coming at us on the Goshen Campus. Last week we hosted yet another stunning Kindergarten Derby, and in our version, there were no disqualifications, only ponies willing to help each other out when they took a tumble! The costumes, parade, and pageantry were fabulous and it was a memorable day at “St. Francis Downs” for our preschoolers through 8th graders, as the latter took their final victory lap around the circle out front.

Last week was the Middle School Talent Show; this week, it was time for our Lower School students to have their turn! It was a jam-packed affair, as always, emceed by 4th graders Nolan Reif and Mary Elizabeth Broecker. Kim Rash and Joanne Brock helped the kids prepare, and the acts included a song sung in Chinese, Scottish dancing, a live drawing of a Siamese cat, a patriotic “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” magic tricks, and more. Wow!  

And finally, several grades are wrapping up their service learning projects for the year. Our 7th graders got their hands dirty helping out at Dare to Care’s senior food bank site. This is one of the High School’s normal community service sites, and we appreciate the connection! 7th grade advisors Debbie Adkins and Julie Mushkin came back raving about the students’ efforts! From Debbie:

“Our 7th grade students chose to work at Dare to Care to fulfill their service learning requirement. They wanted to do something hands-on. At the warehouse, students worked in two assembly lines and packed 650 commodity food boxes to be delivered to low-income senior citizens. Many were surprised how quickly time went by as they worked. Responses were overwhelmingly positive. One student said, “I liked helping people, but still enjoyed the process.” Others reported feeling a sense of satisfaction because “We didn’t just raise money. We went and actually worked. We got to be more involved with Dare to Care and helping others.” Students were somewhat surprised to see teachers Julie Mushkin, Julie Marks, Lindsy Serrano, and Debbie Adkins working alongside them, and not just supervising. One student commented that she only wished to be part of the next step during which the boxes would be delivered so that she could see the faces of those they helped.”

Joanne Brock’s 2nd graders are selling “friendship pins” with the hopes that everyone in the school will have one by year’s end! The money they raise will go towards Camp Quality, which hosts youngsters battling cancer. And every grade is also taking part in an additional fundraiser to support the Main Amp, Theater, & Lobby renovation. I was especially impressed at Lower School Morning Meeting this week to hear the 3rd grade class has raised over $500 with their recent walk-a-thon!

Librarian and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Lindsy Serrano has also been a busy bee lately! She spearheaded our first-ever Diversity Week last week, and hosted the annual Carmichael’s Book Fair on campus this week. Here’s more from Lindsy on our recent Diversity Week:

“One of the goals this year for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was to hold a week of programming on the Goshen Campus to celebrate the variety of cultures and identities at our School. On Monday, April 29th, the Queer Straight Alliance gave book talks (beautifully crafted by Julie Mushkin) during Middle School Morning Meeting. They highlighted popular books about and featuring LGBTQ characters. On Tuesday, the QSA did a similar presentation for the Lower School. Many thanks to Emily Campbell and the QSA for putting together these presentations. Another major component of the week was the activities carried out by student representatives from the Black Student Association, the QSA, and the Diversity Committee during lead and advisory time. The lessons came from Welcoming Schools, which is an incredible program from the Human Rights Campaign that focuses on preventing bias-based bullying. These lessons focused on helping students share their identities with their teachers and classmates and helped students begin to understand that we can’t know someone based on their appearance. We had a wonderful week learning more about each other and can’t wait to do it again next year! Many thanks to our lead teachers and advisers for all of their work during the week and the leaders of our school’s affinity groups – Emily Campbell (QSA), Salema Jenkins (BSA), Brian Kirby (Diversity Committee), and Anne Holmes (Diversity Committee).”

So hang on to your hats – the whirlwind of activities will just keep on rolling these next few weeks!