November 20, 2018

Dear Friends,

The period of time from the start of classes in early September through the Thanksgiving holiday represents the longest part of the academic year without an extended break. Indeed, the month of November can often bring special challenges, and last week’s surprise snowstorm provided us with a particularly messy one!
Looking back, the weeks since Labor Day have been incredibly productive ones at GSB with a number of noteworthy accomplishments. The boys’ varsity soccer team won the state championship and our girls’ tennis team won the Prep B State Championship. Girls’ soccer won its division and had its best record (14-3-2) in many years. Our new Performing Arts and Community Center has opened at last and seen immediate use, first with the GSB Players production of The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 followed thereafter by the Lower/Middle School performance of Annie.

Throughout the fall, numerous events on campus brought the community together, including Family Day/Homecoming, Stone Soup, the Auction/Casino Night and this past week, Turkey Day, when our school collected 418 frozen turkeys for the New Jersey FoodBank. This Saturday night, we will host a musical review of past Upper School productions in the PACC, performed by 62 alumni and 22 members of the cast of this year’s spring musical, Meet Me in St. Louis.

Beyond our campus, two weeks ago more than 80 of the world’s leaders gathered in France to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Of course, at that time, it was referred to by many as simply “The Great War.” The author H.G. Wells wrote a short essay entitled “The War That Will End War” shortly after it began, leading many to view this as a conflict that would “end all wars.” Tragically, this did not happen and the 20th century witnessed even greater devastation in World War II and other subsequent conflicts between nations.

Today, we are so fortunate that the world is not at war. In so many ways we are safer than ever, and despite the current level of public discord, it is a time of great prosperity in our country. Indeed, the situation was far more dire in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, which made the last Thursday in November (it was changed to the fourth Thursday by FDR in 1941) a national holiday. Indeed, we have much to be grateful for as we begin our Thanksgiving break. I hope that all of our families will be able to take some time in the next few days to reflect on everything that is good in our lives and, at least for one day, not be consumed by the negative. Our school community remains one of hope and possibility for all who are a part of it.
Thank you for all that you have done for Gill St. Bernard’s, and I wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Warm regards,
Sid Rowell
Head of School
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.