Derby Community Celebrates a ‘Gathering of Thanks’

  • Campus News

Derby Academy invited the school community to come together outdoors on the 1784 Field for a “Gathering of Thanks” in the lead up to Thanksgiving break, on Friday, November 19. Students, faculty, parents, and friends of Derby took some time to reflect and share their appreciation for a community whose bonds have been strengthened by recent challenges.

When Head of School Dr. Colleen Ramsden invited Grade 8 students to her home earlier in the term to discuss how they would like to put together a meaningful demonstration of thanks, the students quickly decided that this was a project worthy of including their fellow classmates and sharing with the community at large. 

On a bright, blustery morning, Grade 8 students asked students from Middle School what they were thankful for, and a common theme of gratitude - for family, for friends, for love and support, and for laughter - was apparent. 

Following a choral ensemble performance, Lower School students humorously debated the merits of keeping a turkey as pet, offered cooking tips - “first you have to catch the turkey,” and shared their advice for staying grateful even if the turkey is burnt. 

Facilities and Athletics member John Duddy then spoke, expanding upon this year’s theme, “kindness,” announced by Dr. Ramsden at the First Chapel Lecture in September. He reminded students to “treat everyone you meet with kindness, patience, and grace”; “focus on being positive, working hard, and making others around you better”; and that “the more you give, serve, and make your life about helping others, the better and more fulfilled your life will be.”

“Happiness is finding joy in everyday experiences,” Mr. Duddy said. “Choosing happiness is the smart choice, because deep down it is what your being strives for. It is what other people want too. We are choosing happiness together, we are choosing to care for each other, and the whole world opens up to infinite possibilities.” 

Before inviting guests to partake in coffee and hot apple cider, Dr. Ramsden thanked the participants and asked the student instrumental group to close the event. 

To all our students, faculty, families, and friends—thank you! We are truly grateful for our Derby community!