‘Tis the Season

December 8, 2016

‘Tis the Season

December is always an exciting time at Grymes. We return from Thanksgiving Break to find that, as if by magic, the air has become electric with the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season. The paper ornaments on the Giving Tree, each labeled with the Christmas wish of a community child, are spirited away by partner classes. Gifts will be presented in the final assembly of the year, heaped up on the stage as we sing carols together, and then our Community Service Committee members will take them off to families in need. Long chains of red and green construction paper festoon the bulletin boards as do painted gingerbread men, bright red cardinals, and letters to Santa. The Upper School bands are hard at work rehearsing their concert pieces, while the younger children are busy memorizing their songs (you may have overheard your child humming a Christmas tune!) Preparation, anticipation, and service to others take on special meaning at this time of year.

Preparation, anticipation, and service to others take on special meaning at this time of year.

Behind this buzz of energy and excitement, learning is in high gear. Writing folders are growing fat in the Upper School; eighth graders have begun crafting their speeches, the history term paper process is well underway, and students are stretching their mental muscles with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in English class. First semester exams are not far on the horizon, and our teachers are also expanding their horizons. Four of our teachers attended the Learning and The Brain Conference in Boston a few weeks ago and recently made an inspiring presentation to the whole faculty with fresh insights on teaching creativity and critical thinking. The presentation has ignited our faculty, and now plans are afoot for a full faculty brainstorming workshop. It’s thrilling to see how energized they all are.

This is an important moment in the eighth grade year, one that we take very seriously at Grymes, and one that is bittersweet.

Our eighth graders are also abuzz with excitement and possibility. Plans for the future are taking shape. Students have explored new schools, thinking carefully about what’s important to them, and the teachers and I have worked hard to prepare students for the admissions process with mock interviews and practice questions. As Secondary School Counselor, I’ve worked closely with each and every family as they consider their options for the next step after Grymes, and as advocates for our students in the admissions process, the Upper School faculty and I have begun to carefully craft personal letters of recommendation that capture the essence of each student.

This is an important moment in the eighth grade year, one that we take very seriously at Grymes, and one that is bittersweet. As the school year turns a corner into the second semester, our eighth graders are just beginning to realize that their Grymes journey is coming to a close. It’s at this time that we begin to see our eighth grade class as a beautiful puzzle. Each unique piece fits together to form a picture that we know well and love. Right now, we revel in the picture that is perfectly complete and know that all too soon, the puzzle will fragment as each student launches forward to the next step of their journey.

For now, in this season of love, joy, excitement and giving, we share as a family in each other’s hard work and accomplishments. Enjoy this special time, savor every industrious moment, and join us in celebrating your children’s achievements so far this year.

Wishing you and your families a joyful holiday season,

penny signature