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Expressing Gratitude and Spreading Joy
Expressing Gratitude and Spreading Joy

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, Ravens big and small were thinking about what makes them most thankful and putting consideration, time and effort into expressing gratitude and spreading joy throughout the community. Activities included visits to retirement homes, thoughtful gestures of appreciation or kindness, and collections and fundraising to support relief and charity organizations.

Read about some recent activities of students from all three divisions, below.

Lower School

Kindergarteners Visit Retirement Home

In what may be a first step into service for many Ravens, kindergarteners visit residents of the nearby Atria Retirement Home three or four times a year. During a recent visit, students wore their Halloween costumes, brought cards for residents and sang songs about fall and Halloween. Many residents handed out candy in return.

"They are very appreciative each time we go," said kindergarten teacher Mary Craig Brown, who coordinates the visits. "They have been to campus to see us, too."

Student Council Organizes Operation Gratitude and Wake Relief Food Drive

The Student Council collected a whopping 456.8 pounds of candy for Operation Gratitude, which shares the treats with U.S. troops all over the world. The students sorted and weighed the candy (pictured at top) before passing it along to a parent to be donated to the troops.

The Student Council also organized the Wake Relief Food Drive, collecting nonperishable food items for Wake County families in need. Each grade level was assigned a certain category of food items, which Student Council representatives sorted for transport to Saint Saviour's Center in downtown Raleigh (pictured at right), which was Ravenscroft's Tucker Street home until 1969.

Students Become Secret Agents of Kindness

The Lower School's "Secret Agents of Kindness" initiative kicked off earlier this fall with faculty and staff sharing the idea with students, who then brainstormed what it looks like when kindness gets put into action. Interested students committed to sharing kind acts — anonymously, as the name suggests — for a two-week period in November.

After Thanksgiving, one participating student said, "What we are doing can change someone's day — even something as simple as 'Hi, I like your shirt,' 'Do you want to play with me?' or 'I'm glad you're here today' can make someone's day better and change their world." And as the movement gains momentum, notes from younger students (signed "SAOK" or "Secret Agents of Kindness") have been appearing in the Lower School as well.

Middle School

Service Learning Group Donates Gift Baskets for Veterans

Agents for Agencies is a Middle School service learning group that partners with different local organizations. For the month of October, students made care packages for a local VA center that included nonperishable foods as well as cards expressing gratitude for veterans' service. Students also shared personal stories of family members who have served in the armed forces and reflected on the sacrifices these men and women have made for our country.

Sixth grader Anna Haywood said of the experience, "What I liked most about this project was that our community service group got the opportunity to give back to those who had already done so much for our country. It was rewarding to know that spending over an hour on a project to give back would bring a smile to a veteran and let them know that we really appreciate what they've done for us."

Ravens Ambassadors Share Kudos with Classmates

The Ravens Ambassadors acknowledge the special achievements, both big and small, of members of the Middle School community. Whenever an ambassador sees or hears of a student's accomplishment or action that deserves recognition, they fill out a form — announcing "A Little Raven Told Me That..." — and put it on the student's locker for their peers to see. Recent notes include "You were exceptional in your sports contest the other day. Congrats!" and (to a teacher) "Thank you for being an advisor on the seventh grade field trip. We had lots of fun!"

Ambassador Morgan Kesterson, an eighth grader, said, "[These notes] acknowledge people for little things they have done that impacted other people. It makes them feel happy for doing things that not everyone knows about."

November Mix-It-Up Lunch Focuses on Gratitude

The entire Middle School held a Mix-It-Up Lunch on Monday, Nov. 13, and one of the things they discussed is what they are grateful for. Students then wrote their reflections on paper leaves, which were hung on the division's Character Trees in the front and back halls (pictured at right).

Some expressions of gratitude shared on the trees included "I'm thankful for the military," "I am grateful for all of the friends that I have at Ravenscroft because they are nice and cool" and "We are thankful for our parents to drive us to school, sports, etc."

Upper School

Hurricane, Earthquake Relief Gets Boost from Spanish Club

The Spanish Club, headed up by Camilo Corrales and Claire Garcia, sold store-bought goods, baked goods and Hispanic food over three days and raised approximately $1,000 for disaster relief for areas of Mexico hit by a major earthquake on Sept. 19 and Puerto Rico, which sustained extensive damage following Hurricane Maria Sept. 20. Members also shared a slideshow documenting the devastation caused by these natural disasters.

Pumpkin Palooza Supports Teen Cancer America (TCA)

The Ravenscroft Ambassadors for TCA—Bella Church '18, Lily Sykes '18, Brooke Baker '20 and Emmy Replogle '21—kicked off their school-wide fundraising efforts with Pumpkin Palooza Oct. 11-13. The group sold approximately 150 large carving pumpkins to members of the Ravenscroft community, raising more than $1,000 for TCA, a charity devoted to transforming the lives of teens and young adults with cancer.

"Uniting our school community through Pumpkin Palooza showed us that by taking action, we have the power to positively impact the lives of teens battling cancer," the group said. "We look forward to hosting additional fundraising events throughout the rest of the school year."

Musicians "Spread the Love and Music" at Local Nursing Home

Since November 2015, when Bella Church '18 founded Spread the Love and Music (STLAM) as a way to lift the spirits of residents at a local nursing home, The Cypress, the group has organized regular performances featuring guitarists, pianists, singers and more. They've also expanded to include students at North Raleigh Christian Academy, who perform at The Lodge in Wake Forest, as well as a one-on-one program that allows Ravenscroft students who aren't musical to spend time individually with residents of The Cypress.

Martina Fredrick '20 joined the group last year. "I feel like STLAM has really driven my passion for playing music and community service," she said. "I have made so many friends from the club, and it has inspired to do more for others with music."