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Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

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Community, Tradition, Leadership: Morning Meetings at Fay

Daintry Duffy Zaterka '88
Read about the essential role that Morning Meeting plays in the Fay School community.
Morning Meeting is a beloved tradition at Fay, and each of Fay’s three divisions has a distinct Morning Meeting routine that anchors their weekly schedule. Primary School meets in the Multipurpose Room once a week, Lower School meets in Harlow Gym twice each week, and the Upper School gathers three mornings a week in Harris Theater. Uniquely different, each Morning Meeting reflects the characteristics of its division while manifesting the shared core values woven throughout the Fay experience.
Morning Meeting is more than just a time for daily announcements and updates; it’s an intentionally planned part of the weekly schedule removed from the demands of the busy school day when students can reflect on who they are as a community and what their role in that community might be. In Morning Meetings this fall, students explored the values that define Fay, shared cultural traditions, encouraged a shared responsibility for creating a kind and inclusive community, and celebrated academic and athletic achievements. Here are some snapshots of the events, performances, and themes that took center stage.
September 17: Welcome to the Tradition!
It’s an exciting day when new students are sorted into their color teams! Head of Primary School Katie Knuppel announced each new student by name and then revealed whether they would be joining the red team or the white team. Red Color Team President Jeremiah Chaves ’22 and White Color Team President Marko Wuchenich ’22 donned their team blazers to present each student with their new color team t-shirt.
September 22: Kindness Matters
Katie introduced Primary students to the fall cultural competency theme of kindness by sharing the book Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson. Mary might be an ordinary girl, but when she picks blueberries for her neighbor, she starts an extraordinary chain of events around the world as each person pays her kind deed forward. Katie asked students to share their thoughts about the meaning of kindness; one student shared that kindness is “treating others with respect,” while another said it’s taking the time to “ask if someone’s okay.”
September 29: Sharing Traditions from Home
Primary School students were excited to welcome Upper School visitors to Morning Meeting to tell them about the Moon Festival, a traditional festival celebrated in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam that marks the end of the autumn harvest. Upper School students Anny Wang ’22, Eric Xu ’23, and Michela You ’24 from Shanghai, China, and Ryan Su ’22 from Hong Kong visited Morning Meeting to talk about the cultural significance of the Moon Festival and read-aloud Lin Yi’s Lantern by Brenda Williams.
October 6: Different Perspectives on History
Students learned about the history of Indigenous People’s Day when Director of Equity and Inclusion Jill Anthony visited Primary School Morning Meeting. Jill talked about the culture of the Taíno people who lived in the Caribbean and were some of the first people that Columbus encountered in the New World. Jill spoke about her family’s roots in Puerto Rico and read a Taíno myth called The Golden Flower: A Taíno Myth from Puerto Rico by Nina Jaffe. The following week, Morning Meeting focused on Columbus Day so that students could hear the history from both perspectives.
October 20: What Do We Value?
Second graders practiced their leadership skills when they led Morning Meeting and presented skits about Fay’s Core Values: Academic Excellence, Earnest Effort, Dedicated Service, Honorable Conduct, and Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit. They showed and described each value so that younger students could understand, explaining that Academic Excellence means “aiming big” with your work and that Earnest Effort is persistence that often pays off. Morning Meeting is also a great opportunity to practice listening skills, and Head of School Rob Gustavson joined students to model being a respectful audience member.
November 11: Honoring Those Who Serve
On Veteran’s Day, students shared all the different friends and relatives that they know who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Katie Knuppel read H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian, highlighting many aspects of military life and the sacrifices that those who serve and their families make to protect our freedom. Katie showed a slideshow of Fay alumni who have served their country from World War I to the present.
September 9: Keeping an Open Mind
Head of Lower School Kaitlyn Cronin welcomed students to a brand new year of Morning Meeting, held in Harlow Gymnasium due to construction, and introduced this year’s schoolwide theme, Keeping an Open Mind.
September 16: The Values of Fay Athletics
In fifth grade, students are excited to finally put on the Fay uniform and compete against other schools in interscholastic athletics. To kick off the season, Athletic Director Rob Feingold joined Morning Meeting to talk about the values of the Fay athletic program and the importance of earnest effort, sportsmanship, respect, school pride, and making athletics an enjoyable experience for all. He explained how all those values are distilled in his cheer, “Work hard! Respect the game! Go Fay!”
September 21: Dressed to Impress
Who better than Fay’s Lower School teachers to model the do’s and don’t’s of the Fay Dress Code? After discussing why the dress code is necessary, teachers strutted their stuff on the Harlow Gym “runway,” and students volunteered all the different ways that the teachers could adjust their outfits to meet the dress code. Shirts were tucked in, blazers donned, and ties were straightened to great applause from the audience!
October 5: Sixth Grade Leaders
Sixth graders are the leaders of Lower School, and this year they are also helping to lead Morning Meeting. Kaitlyn introduced the fourteen sixth graders who volunteered to work in groups of two and three to make announcements, lead discussions, and plan activities for Morning Meeting. The student leaders introduced themselves by sharing “I Am” poems about who they are and what’s important to them.
November 2: Diwali
Lower School World Languages teacher Rachana Sudhaman and students shared the story Amma, Tell Me About Diwali by Bhakti Mathur, which explains the mythology behind Diwali, a celebration of good over evil, and the many traditions that accompany the celebration in Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities. Students wore saris and kurtas and explained how their families celebrate Diwali by eating special foods, gathering with family, and lighting of small tea lamps called diyas. Students in the audience made connections to their own cultural traditions, such as Chinese New Year and the Fourth of July.
November 4: Day of the Dead
Sixth grade Spanish students volunteered to share their research on Dia De Los Muertos, a holiday that originates in Mexico and that celebrates family members who have passed away. The students created a Google slideshow sharing the cultural significance of the holiday and some of its traditions including building altars, dressing up in colorful clothes, and eating special foods as they celebrate with their families. Then they read the book Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston about one family and all the preparations that they make for the holiday.
September 8: Kicking Off a New Year
To celebrate the first Morning Meeting of the school year, music teacher Lloyd Dugger, music and drama teacher Ilanna Tariff, and Associate Director of Secondary School Counseling Josh Pierson performed a mash-up of Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me” and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.” The entire Upper School joined in to sing the final chorus before heading off to the first day of classes!
September 29: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
Students in Sarah Calle’s Spanish 1B class recounted the history of Hispanic Heritage Month at Morning Meeting. Students shared the work of two Latinx poets, “Natural Born Criminal” by Francisco X. Alarcón and “I am Joaquin” by “Corky” Gonzales, a poem associated with the Chicano movement of the 1960s.The students’ recitation of “I am Joaquin” was accompanied by music teacher Lloyd Dugger on piano, Madi MacDonald ’23 on trumpet, and Julie Yan ’23 on cello.
October 6: Head of School for a Day
Head of School Rob Gustavson announced that John Antonopoulos ’27 would be stepping in as Head of School for the Day. John’s first order of business? Declaring the following day a “Play Dress” day for the entire school!
October 13: Leadership
The ninth grade candidates for Red & White Color Officers presented their stump speeches at Morning Meeting. This is just one of the ways that Upper School students play a leadership role in Morning Meeting: the Student Council President and Vice- President share morning announcements, Color Presidents announce color team events and effort period results, and team captains rally the crowd by announcing upcoming games and sharing post-game results.
November 3: Friday Night Lights!
It doesn’t take much to get the Upper School excited about Friday Night Lights—it’s a highlight of the year! Varsity teams play under the lights at night, and the entire community gathers to cheer on the teams and enjoy hot chocolate and food truck treats. Mr. Feingold presented a “hype” video with highlights from years past, and the Color Officers presented some hilarious skits to get everyone psyched up for the event.
November 8: Celebrating Each Other
Athletic and academic successes and personal accomplishments are all celebrated with ringing applause and cheers at Morning Meeting. The girls varsity soccer team was excited to get up and announce their second-place finish in the Indian Mountain Soccer Tournament and present their runner-up trophy to Head of School Rob Gustavson. Winners of the Red & White Dodgeball Tournament were also announced at Morning Meeting, with a ninth grade team taking the honors and special recognition given to the faculty team!

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