Light streamed through the stained glass windows on the right side of the room, illuminating a group of teachers holding musical instruments, as students filtered in and seated themselves on the wooden pews facing the teachers for a Thanksgiving chapel service.
Theology teacher Paul Pryor Lorentz opened the service with remarks and selected readings reflecting the theme of hope, before students were invited up to the podium to read related writings, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“I think that they provided a range of American voices to create a sense of tradition and a sense of remembrance and reflection, and in some ways a little bit of nostalgia for what he hope or envision Thanksgiving to be,” English teacher Julia Arce, who helped organize student readers, said. “Also, to have a lot of readings means students participate in the service, so that feeds a sense of community and family.”
Students and faculty sang along as teachers performed segments of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” between readings. Joyful Noise also performed “And When I Rise,” and a capella sang a mash-up of “Sweater Weather” and “House of Gold.”
“I thought the songs were really fitting because it’s a Thanksgiving chapel [session] and the songs were about our country and being grateful,” sophomore Victoria Bernhart said. “I also thought it was nice to have songs that everyone knows so people can join in.”
Tables bearing trays of cranberry, ginger and pumpkin bread waited in the Main Hall for students at the end of the service in accordance to the tradition of “goûter,” a special snack which students are treated to on holidays or feast days.
“It was nice to reflect on what we’re thankful for while having a little bit of fun,” Bernhart said about the chapel session. “My takeaway was knowing that you should be grateful for what you have and be conscious of how other people’s feelings.”