In my family, Veterans Day holds great meaning. I come from a long lineage of men who have taken the oath to “defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic…”. My great grandfathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and dad all vowed to willingly give their life for their fellow man. I grew up learning the importance of being a patriot. My dad spent 26 years, and nearly all of my life, in uniform defending the freedoms we all enjoy here today.
It’s an interesting time of year for those of us who garden. Many of you might think that once the harvest is done, you just let it all die and wait until spring. Well, I thought that for many years until I met Pat Casey. The outstanding gardener in him has rubbed off a bit on me, and he has shared with me the many things that can and should be done to a garden now—at this time of year—to prepare it for the next spring. So, I’ve been working with my wife in our garden the past few weekends even though things have been dead in there for a while now.
At Holderness we deliberately build community through the people we bring in and programs we support. Today I want to share one story about people who showed us what it means to be a mission-centered community and talk about one unique program that is hitting a milestone.
Reunion 2019 holds special memories for all who traveled to campus to enjoy the many events. Friendships were rekindled, new discoveries were made, old stomping grounds (and hikes) were experienced, and alumni were reminded of the spirit and community that make the Holderness experience so indelible. Longtime faculty member and Director of College Counseling Bruce Barton provided meaningful remarks during the Convocation and Head of School Phil Peck presented the renaming of the alumni service award and named the 2019 honoree.
Each year departing seniors arrive for one last service at Outdoor Chapel. Each student brings with them a decorated stone to add to the collection of stones of seniors before them. This year at stones chapel, Franz Nicolay spoke to the seniors about the significance of their stones.
Easter is a moveable feast. Unlike Christmas, which is always Dec 25 or All Saints Day which is always November 1, Easter’s date is determined by the moon. Specifically, it is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This year, Spring Equinox was on the same day as a full moon. But you can’t double dip. So we had to wait a full moon cycle after March 21 for the next full moon. Which is April 19th.And then the first Sunday after that is April 21. Easter. Why am I telling you this? So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
The return from Winter Parents Weekend coincided this year with the Lunar New Year (a.k.a. Spring Festival in China and Tet in Vietnam), the most important holiday in the home cultures of many of our Asian students. On that February 5, we kicked off nearly two weeks of celebrating the diverse cultures of Holderness with food, festivities, and the beautiful sound of our many voices.
Bruce Barton shares a chapel talk about the amygdala; a part of the mid brain about the size of an almond that is the home to our emotions, our fears and our “fight or flight” instinct. In his talk, he describes Neuroscientist, James Doty's belief that acts of empathy and compassion actually help us shrink the FEAR center of our brain (the amygdala) and open us up to new ways of seeing and understanding and ultimately experiencing happiness in our lives.
Just this past week, across the nation, people celebrated the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many will argue, however, that those celebrations are limited to a few simple quotes that do not truly represent the scope and breadth of King's work. Rev. Jason Wells, the executive director of New Hampshire's Council of Churches, spoke at Holderness during Tuesday's chapel and shared the ways in which Dr. King's legacy is being lived today, in this nation and in New Hampshire.