Two-Campus Field Day and St. Francis Day

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

two-campus-field-dayAfter a Fall Break full of glorious weather and a chance to relax, we are back, and picking up where we left off!

But what a way to head into Fall Break! Last Wednesday brought an action-packed day on the Goshen Campus. This year we decided to combine two of our favorite events, Two-Campus Field Day and St. Francis Day. First, we had a wonderful outdoor cookout (spearheaded by Chef Matt Thomas) in which almost 600 hamburgers and hot dogs were consumed happily by nearly 500 students! After that, students from JK – 12th grade got into pre-made groups of about 25 students each, in which Goshen students got to be with their buddies, but also with grade-level classmates, buddy-grade classmates, and High School students. Each were given an animal “mascot” such as the dolphins or hedgehogs (and even hissing cockroaches – only at SFS!) and these “animals” stayed together for the Field Day. For the next 60 minutes, these multi-age “herds” played “Duck-Duck Goose,” “Sharks and Minnows,” “Simon Says,” “Freeze Tag,” and many other games. It’s always hard to tell who’s having more fun – kindergarteners weaving in and out amongst High School “giants,” or seniors, getting to revert to a less worrisome time. Either way, it’s a sight to behold and a magical way to bring our campuses physically together for a day.

After a massive group picture skillfully led from the Goshen Campus rooftop by High School photography artist-in-residence Andrew Dailinger, along with overhead drone video shepherded by parent Jim Lancaster, it was time for St. Francis Day. We thought it would be nice for the High School kids to get to witness the annual Blessing of the Pets, a favorite St. Francis tradition. And, as usual, the weather was beautiful, the clergy were professional and patient, and the animals cooperated (for the most part – our famed “Pooperazzi” clean-up crew has to earn their “paycheck” of doughnuts, of course!). But the combination of cookout, Field Day, intermingling of the campuses and grades, and St. Francis Day couldn’t have gone more smoothly, and was a very visual reminder we are one school with shared values. And we know how to have fun!

On a totally different note, at the start of this year, we decided to create a Diversity Committee on the Goshen Campus (the Downtown Campus already has one). From the adult side of things, Brian Kirby (who has a master’s degree in Religion) volunteered to be the coordinator, and Julie Marks, Salema Jenkins, Emily Campbell, and Anne Holmes also volunteered to serve.

The next step was finding students whom we thought would be a good fit and who would be interested in serving on this committee. Shelly Jones, Julie Marks, and I looked at the 7th and 8th grade rosters and came up with eight students we thought fit that bill. I met with all of them (at first they thought they were in trouble – far from it!) to explain the committee and what their role would be. We’ll have periodic meetings, and they will be the voice of the students in providing us feedback in matters where diversity may be an issue, or in examining school policies from that lens, or in planning our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly, for example. They may also interact with the High School committee at some point. As this is a new committee, it will unfold organically, no doubt, but it will be great to have such a committee to give the kids a voice and help ensure St. Francis lives up to one of its core values of cherishing diversity.

I was pleased at how positive every single one of them was at being nominated. I told them they could take a day or two to think about whether they wanted to participate, but every single one of them gave an emphatic “Yes!” right then and there. It made me proud of them – and St. Francis. Congratulations on these eight students for volunteering to serve on our new Diversity Committee:

Isaac Davis
Jasmin Gonzalez
Sydney Marks
Ali Muse
Norah Patrick
Katy Roemer
Mellie Simpson
Parker Smith