On Friday, our assembly took a different form. We wanted to adjust things due to our Middle School girls’ being away at camp, and I decided to start the morning with a story. In hindsight, the resulting experience suggested to me that we might consider approaching things differently more frequently. It was a wonderful success.
Author Natalie Colombo wrote a children’s book entitled So Close with a simple message about what a difference “hello,” one little word, can make. Following the reading of this book, our girls and staff took part in small group conversations about the importance of saying hello and the power that acknowledging others can have. The groups were comprised of girls in primary, junior and senior grades and a staff member. The groups were first asked to share their names, the grade they were in or subject they taught, how long they had been at SCS and finally what they appreciated about our Grades 1-12 environment.
We followed up with two additional questions:
Have you ever experienced an unexpected “hello,” and if so, how did it make you feel?
Have you ever expected a “hello” and didn’t get it? If so, how did it make you feel?
I was able to participate in a group and was thrilled with the sincerity, authenticity, and support each person demonstrated. Girls shared their appreciation of the grades 1-12 environment as it allowed them to know people in a variety of grades, it afforded opportunities to learn new and different things from a variety of people, and it allowed for older students to lead the younger ones. Members also explained what unexpected ‘hellos’ meant to them.
It was evident to me after our group and others shared their ideas, that our community recognizes the importance of knowing and acknowledging each other, and the wonderful feeling of inclusion and comfort. After the assembly, I believe that there was an even greater appreciation for how our small grades 1-12 community is unique in encouraging and receiving those powerful, unexpected hellos.