A Month of Gratitude and Giving Back

Each month, the St. Thomas’s Day School community focuses on a core value as part of the character education program. The core value is introduced in Chapel and highlighted with stories and talks over the course of that month. From there, head teachers and specials teachers weave that value throughout their classes to reinforce and expand students’ learning. November has been a standout month as the school community focused on the core value of gratitude and participated in a series of pertinent events.

In Chapel, Native American Heritage Month, Veterans Day and Diwali were recognized and celebrated with song, poetry, stories, dances and special guest speakers (including St. Thomas’s very own Business Manager Deepak Goplani); and each day the students and faculty volunteered a word or two about what they were thankful for.

The Kindergarten showed their gratitude by hosting a Thanksgiving feast for their families. They shopped and prepared a full Thanksgiving meal and put on two small skits as entertainment. St. Thomas’s also invited some of the people for whom our students are most grateful to Grandparents and Special Friends Day and warmed them with a morning of fun.

Gratitude goes hand in hand with giving back and this month our students and faculty focused quite a bit on both. November began with preparation for a Penny Harvest. Sixth grade students researched several community action programs to support and presented their top three choices to the student body. The student body then voted for their pick, selecting Y2Y New Haven, a Yale student group who is creating a shelter for youth experiencing homelessness. Pennies were then collected and a total of $380.76 was raised. Y2Y graciously picked up the donation and took the time to meet with the sixth grade to discuss their work and how the donations would be used. They left the St. Thomas’s students with the following words of inspiration, “If you are interested in a particular cause learn as much as you possibly can about it” and, “If you want to make a difference, tell someone, don’t stay quiet.”

The last piece of advice Y2Y New Haven left with the students was that “you can make a difference in the community by doing big things or small things,” and during the St. Thomas’s Day of Giving, the entire school community came together to do just that. On November 19, each grade selected a community service project and spent a designated time during the day to give back. Projects ranged from Edgerton Park cleanup to making cards for the troops overseas to organizing a spring blood drive.

November was a busy month for the students of St. Thomas’s but it is guaranteed that they left for Thanksgiving break grateful and inspired. In the months ahead the core values will include compassion, respect, courage, hope and creativity. St. Thomas’s Day School assures that the students will leave here not only with academic preparedness but with the social and emotional tools to be kind, thoughtful citizens of the world.

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