Giving Thanks at Princeton Day School

The annual Thanksgiving Assembly is one of the most cherished Princeton Day School traditions, and after last year’s virtual assembly, excitement was in the air as the Lower School students filled McAneny Theater to attend the November 22, 2021 assembly in person while the Middle School and Upper School viewed the assembly from various locations on campus on the large DTEN screens.

Head of School Paul J. Stellato welcomed guests from the McAneny stage with inspiring words about the power of sharing our stories. “At our core, we are a school of stories. We always have been. It is through the stories that we tell that we come to understand ourselves and invite others to understand us.”

Thanksgiving Proclamation and a Lower School Performance

Fourth Grade student Carson continued the assembly custom of sharing Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation, which officially designated "the last Thursday of November... as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise..." The Lower School Chorus enthusiastically performed “Thanks We Give” under the creative direction of LS Music teacher Julia Beckmann.

PreK-12th Grade Students Share their Stories

Also in keeping with tradition, one student from each grade reflected on what they are thankful for this year and shared about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Anaya ’35, Harry ’34, Anna ’33, Lucia ’32, Ricardo ’31, Kathryn ’30, Max ’29, Zamin ’28, Avery ’27, Simran ’26, Phoebe ’25, Helena ‘24, Rafael ’23 and Ngozi ’22 expressed common themes including gratitude for the safety of their family and friends, appreciation for a special holiday meal with loved ones after nearly two years apart and heartfelt thanks for their time at Princeton Day School learning and connecting on campus this fall.

Faculty Reflection, a Final Blessing and a Gorgeous Sendoff from the Madrigals 

Following the student stories, Upper School Spanish teacher Christian Cousins reflected on the meaning of belonging. He shared a personal story about a recent trip to visit his mother and father after almost two years and talked about the special feelings of belonging he experienced. Dr. Cousins went on to explain how his sense of belonging encouraged him to reflect on his time at Princeton Day School. “What do you really mean when you say ‘belonging?’ We often think of it as a physical place, but if we’re honest with ourselves, it is not the place that gives warmth or comfort. It is the relationships; the bonds. This is the type of belonging I’m most grateful for at PDS.”

Following Dr. Cousins’ inspiring reflection, Dr. Michael Friedman, Upper School History and Religion teacher, shared a final blessing with the School and encouraged community members to reflect on “all of the good that surrounds you right now in this moment, right here,” and to offer well wishes to those we do not know.

Led by choral conductor Edgar Mariano, the Madrigals performed a gorgeous rendition of “The Lord Will Bless You” to conclude the performances. 

Mr. Stellato closed the assembly by expressing thanks to the greater School community for their efforts this year and wished everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. "Whether you are here or on the road just a little early, let me thank you all and wish you a very, very happy Thanksgiving!”

Enjoy this beautiful album of the 2021 PDS Thanksgiving Assembly!

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