The Germantown Academy Lower School decided to try something new this year for their annual Thanksgiving project and embarked upon a “Thank You Day.” As told by Head of Lower School Sue Szczepkowski during the assembly, “showing gratitude is when we appreciate what is good in our lives; we appreciate our homes, food on our tables, family who takes care of us. When we say thank you and think about that, and we express that, it is called gratitude.
“Gratitude actually makes us feel happier,” she continued. “When we say thank you, it has been shown that those people are happier in their lives than those who do not say it. Think about what is good in your life and what makes you happy and you, too, can show gratitude. That’s why saying thank you is so important.”
The activity consisted of writing letters or drawing pictures to physically mail to the people students wanted to say Thank You to. Students thought about their friends, family, people in their neighborhood, in the GA community, and decided who they wanted to say thank you to. They then did some brainstorming on their own and with classmates, did some writing and/or drawing, and then worked together to identify that one person they wanted to write a letter to and put in the GA mailbox and send to them.
“Some students wrote letters, some drew pictures – it was all amazing work!” said Szczepkowski. “A special thanks goes to Mrs. Fornicola who knows someone at the post office to allow us to borrow a real US Post Office Mailbox. Our teachers helped us address the envelopes and the students dropped the letters into the mailbox to be delivered to our special people.”
There were so many different people who received the letters – parents, aunts, babysitters, coaches, doctors, bus drivers, nurses, grandparents, teammates, teachers, etc. Where did the letters go? While many went to people at GA, letters also went to people in 14 different states, including NJ, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Illinois, AND four different countries - Italy, England, France, and even India!
Szczepkowski encouraged students to go home and send another letter. She also told the students that maybe those people who received the letters turned around and sent a letter, the act of gratitude would grow exponentially. She said “keep it going! Write a letter to make someone’s day.”
A special treat to end the assembly came from LS Music Department Chair Jodi Bohr 1760 and members of the LS Jazz Band – Aubrey F. ’31, Elise D. ’31, and Ezra H. ’32 – who played the Peanuts theme, “Linus and Lucy,” a great kickoff to the holiday season.
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