“Friendship and sharing, strength of community, and service learning: three reasons we are here this morning.” So offered Lower & Middle School Director Kyle Armstrong at today’s Stone Soup celebration. Gathered together in the Todd Quad for the event were students in preschool through eighth-grade, their teachers, and groups of parents.
Each October, Stone Soup introduces a new group of students to the magic of sharing. The folktale of the same name has many variations, but they all include a magic stone with the power to transform a pot of ordinary water into hearty soup. Although the stone may in fact draw people together—mostly because they are curious or incredulous—it is each person’s contribution that ultimately creates the soup.
In the GSB tradition, the youngest student in the school has the honor of dropping the soup stone into the empty pot. As part of the ceremony, the stone is handed to the preschooler by the eighth-grade lifers (students who have been at the school since first grade or earlier). The tradition serves as a reminder that sharing with others is a longstanding and valued tradition at Gill St. Bernard’s, one that is literally handed down with each new year.
After the stone soup is placed in the pot, every student in the Lower School adds noodles or some sliced vegetables to the mix. Afterward, Chef Joe takes over and, working his own magic, creates a vegetable soup that is served in the dining hall that afternoon.
Each year, Stone Soup inaugurates another season of giving and renewed focus on community service. After this morning’s event, the second grade travelled to the Chester Food Pantry, bringing with them fresh produce that had been donated by families in the Lower and Middle Schools. Next Monday, students in grades seven and eight will visit Grow-A-Row in Pittstown, New Jersey, to help harvest food that will be donated to area foodbanks.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.