Sewickley Academy Gathers to Celebrate Thanksgiving
Each year, on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving, the Sewickley Academy community gathers in the Events Center for an all-school Thanksgiving-themed assembly.
This year, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and parents took their seats as Head of School Kolia O'Connor welcomed everyone. He reminded the audience of the importance of gratitude. “Thanksgiving launches us into the holiday season, and it asks us to begin the holidays by reflecting on all that we are grateful for. I think that is a wonderful – even necessary thing. When I think about how fortunate everyone in this room is, I reflect on how we should all count our blessings because they are many,” he said.
Mr. O’Connor spoke of a recent trip to Guatemala City, Guatemala to visit Safe Passage, a school the Academy is collaborating with, where he met a boy who considers himself to be blessed in the midst of harsh circumstance. He encouraged the school-community to embrace two important lessons to take into the holidays – appreciation for all the ways in which we are blessed and people over stuff.
After his remarks, the students in Grade 4 performed S’vivon from the Festival of Light and Peace.
Mr. O'Connor then introduced three students Grade 4 student Dionte, Grade 8 student Anjali, and seniors Catherine and Lena. Dionte, a Lower School Student Council representative, spoke about two things he is thankful for – his school and his family. “I’m thankful for school, because it’s really nice here, and I have the opportunity to go to Sewickley Academy every day. Like at my old school, there were 25 kids in each class and two classes per grade, but here there are 15 to 17 kids in each class. I feel that I get more attention with smaller class sizes.” He continued, “Another reason that I’m thankful for school is because it’s so diverse, and I am getting exposed to all different kinds of cultures.”
Anjali, shared about her family’s traditions such as watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV while eating cinnamon pancakes followed by shopping late at night for Black Friday deals and their importance to her. “These traditions bring my family closer and help all of us realize that we must be grateful for the loved ones and the special times we have. The traditions we share are ways to express thanks and to show our love and appreciation for each other. This holiday season, I encourage you all to think about some of your family traditions and the importance of each one,” she said.
Lena and Catherine, the president and vice president respectively of the American Sign Language (ASL) Club in the Senior School were accompanied by freshmen Alex and Claire, who interpreted their speech. The pair decided to shift the focus of their holiday remarks from the material things in life to the intended purpose of Thanksgiving celebrations centered around gratitude and time spent with loved ones both here in America and around the world. “For example, in South Korea, Chuseok Day is a holiday dedicated to spending time with family and giving thanks to those who came before you. In Japan, school children make crafts for local police forces, a tradition that continues to bring people together and create a sense of community.” They ended their time, by asking additional members of the ASL Club to join them in teaching the crowd how to sign thank you and family.
Middle School students performed A Lot of Livin To Do from the Middle School musical, Bye Birdie.
Athletic Director Win Palmer recognized the co-ed varsity golf and the varsity girls tennis teams for winning the PIAA Championship. Coach Whitney Snyder and team captains spoke about their memorable season and the fight for victory. The assembly concluded with the Fight Song.