The school gymnasium was packed on Friday, September 28, 2018, for the first Fantastic Friday of the year. Family and friends gathered together to watch students from all grades share the wonderful ways they honor being kind and respectful to one another.

“I love to bake,” said Head of School Tim Newbold, at the opening of the event. “I came across a fabulous recipe from boxer Muhammad Ali.” Mr. Newbold took out his mixing bowls and measuring spoons, as he recited Ali’s “Recipe for Life”:

  • A few cups of love
  • One tablespoon of patience
  • One teaspoon of generosity
  • One pint of kindness
  • One quart of laughter
  • One pinch of concern
  • Then, mix willingness with happiness, add lots of faith and stir it up well.

“These are some of the ingredients it takes to have a good life,” said Mr. Newbold. “People thought Ali’s life was about boxing and fighting, but Ali thought the most important thing he gave in his life was kindness.”

John Ulrich’s 2nd grade class led the lineup with several sing-alongs, including “America the Beautiful” and “This Land Is Your Land.”

Samantha Strubel’s 5th grade class acted out the South African legend on how to be happy. Ms. Strubel spoke of an anthropologist who had been studying the habits and culture of a remote African tribe. He had been working in the village for quite some time, and the day before he was to return home, he put together a gift basket filled with delicious fruits. He placed the basket under a tree and then he gathered up the children in the village. The man drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the basket of the fruit.”

Instead of competing against each other, the kids all took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group.

Ms. Strubel relayed that when the anthropologist asked why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for themselves, a young
 girl replied: “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

This story described the South African concept of “ubuntu,” a word which means “I am because we are.” All of the 5th graders recited the African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The kindergartners appeared next, and, as several 6th graders, held up signs that said “We Are Going to Be Friends,” the kindergartners sang the White Stripes song by the same name. Their performance was followed by the voices of the third graders sharing what kindness means to them in their own words and through original drawings.

“Kindness is listening to someone; kindness is lifting someone up,” said one student. Another student expressed: “A friend is someone who will always stand up for you.”

As the third graders returned to their seats, first grade teacher Jodie Hudson said her class is learning how to be kind and treat each other through the Positive Behavior Model. All of the first graders lifted hand-made “paws” as Mrs. Hudson explained that the acronym P.A.W.S. stands for “Prepared, Act Kindly, Work Hard, Safe Choices.”

Pat Gibbons shared a similar positive behavior model that her class uses with a container of popcorn kernels, whereby she adds a popcorn kernel for every random or intentional act of kindness that she or another student recognize throughout the day. When the container is full, the class celebrates together with a popcorn party. Another celebration the class enjoyed was “Constitution Day.” The students sang a joyful rendition of “We the People” and recited flawlessly the Preamble to the Constitution.

Wrapping up Fantastic Friday were the oldest and youngest classes, as the 6th graders joined their pre-K reading partners in a joyful student-led performance of “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.” Judging by by all the clapping, coming from both students and the audience, everyone was happy.