The morning of December 17 saw students, faculty, and staff breaking into cross-divisional “families” to work together on service projects and to focus on the meaning of community in their day-to-day lives. “For our second CORE day, we focused on Community,” says Camille Seals, Assistant Head of School for Academics & Inclusive Excellence. “The object of the day is to learn by doing and to have fun while helping others,” adds Seals. “It is important for all of us to have a clear understanding of our AIS values and what they mean so that we can live them out each day in, and out, of school,” she says.
Our little owls in the Lower School started the day with a reading of “The Gift of Nothing” by Patrick McDonnell, a tale about the meaning of gifts and friendship. They then teamed up with their Senior Buddies to make puzzles and write notes for the residents of Waverly Heights in Gladwyne. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders wrote and decorated handwritten letters to Project HOME, a residence for families who are facing homelessness.
Over in Middle School, the girls listened to a talk about “The Purpose of Service” presented by Emily Field of Cradles to Crayons, an organization that provides essentials like clothing and coats to children in need of all ages. The 6th and 8th grade girls shared stories of their own service work.
The Upper Schoolers used their creative talents as part of their service with the 9th graders choreographing dance videos to upload to Movement Exchange, an organization that unites dance and service to uplift people and to make dance education more accessible, and the 10th graders decorating cookies. To benefit the Mansion at Rosemont retirement community, the 11th graders recorded virtual carols and the entire AIS community worked together to create colorful window hangers and handwritten notes for the residents.
Earlier this year, Agnes Irwin launched our CORE days, a four-part series over the course of the year, where students, faculty, and staff take a closer look at our core values – Character, Community, Excellence, and Respect. “The ongoing goal for our remaining CORE days,” says Seals, “is to unify and build community among our students, faculty/staff, and administrators so we can continue to teach, lead, and build programming centered around the values that Agnes Irwin most.” Director of Strategic Partnerships and Experiential Learning, Vanessa Pope, unites AIS with outreach programs that benefit from AIS community service.
To learn more about the first CORE day focusing on character earlier this year, click here. The next CORE day, celebrating Excellence, is on March 8, 2022.
The day rounded out with a rousing return of the All-School Winter Assembly where our girls – decked out in festive holiday sweaters and pajama pants – sang and stomped to favorite songs, banged the drums, shook sleigh bells, and delighted in performances by the Grace Notes, the Bel Cantos, and a lively musical recital by some of their Agnes Irwin teachers. “This display of community and enthusiasm … this is what Agnes Irwin is about,” said Head of School Sally Keidel.