Thanksgiving is a celebration that traditionally brings families, friends and loved ones together, recognized as a holiday in the United States and Canada at different points in the fall season. We also honor this tradition at ASH in many ways, from classroom celebrations and activities leading up to the two day holiday weekend with school out of session.
This year, our ASH on-campus activities have been reduced, taking into account COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing regulations. In years past, the campus was always buzzing with parent volunteers preparing a thanksgiving lunch and student initiatives across all division levels focusing on some aspect of gratitude and giving. This year will be different, but the spirit of Thanksgiving remains the same - especially in a time when we need to focus on concepts of wellness within ourselves and others. Thanksgiving is not just about a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, your favorite seasonal pie or even sharing a meal together with your loved ones. At its core, the essence of Thanksgiving is about reflecting on the aspects of your life that you are thankful for; having gratitude for the abundance of privilege that we experience in so many facets in our daily routines.
That said, a good meal definitely helps raise the spirits - which is why our cafeteria made the classic turkey meal with all the trimmings on Tuesday, November 24, an annual favorite served at ASH for students and staff alike. In the upper elementary school, our grade 3 classrooms have doors decorated with a "thanks tree" filled with leaves that feature handwritten messages from the students that sharing all the things that they are thankful for. Another "thanks tree" is at the top of the stairwell in the high school wing, put together by the student club National Honors Society (NHS) for anyone to take a leaf and share what they are thankful for.
Our resident expert Bernie shared some ideas in her weekly tips
for your own stay at home Thanksgiving celebration, from where to get the turkey to virtual tips from a New York Times article. Alumni staff Roberta Enschede, in years gone by, has kept the tradition of Thanksgiving alive by helping to coordinate the Pieterskerk service
in Leiden; from helping to find speakers, organize the program, and making sure everyone from different walks of life feels welcome to attend. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service isn't possible, but Roberta has shared her experiences for the latest American Womens Club newsletter, which you can read online
or listen to here
If or however you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, be sure it's in a way that makes your heart happy and spirit thankful - a meaning that can resonate with us all.