GSB Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Stone Soup Day

On a picture-perfect fall morning, the GSB Lower School gathered together in the Todd Quad for an incredible milestone – the 40th Anniversary of our beloved Stone Soup Day. This historic celebration, held on October 7, 2022, kicked off our service-learning programming for the year as it has done for the past four decades.

The GSB tradition originated when Kindergarten Teacher Jan Hays wanted to teach her students about sharing, and she made Stone Soup with her class. The folklore of a magic stone with the power to turn an ordinary pot of water into a hearty soup that could feed a large crowd served as a moment to show students the importance of working together to help others. Her lesson sparked the tradition that we have at Gill today, forty years later.

“In this year when we are celebrating the milestone of the 50th Anniversary of the merger of St. Bernard's and Gill, we mark another important one--the 40th anniversary of Stone Soup at our School. Begun by Lower School teachers, it has become part of who we are at GSB. Sharing what we have and extending care for others is part of our DNA,” said Head of School Sid Rowell.

As in years past, Kyle Armstrong, Lower and Middle School Director, and Jill Fedon, Lower School Dean of Student Life, welcomed parents and explained the significance of the day. Because of the special occasion, Mr. Armstrong and Ms. Fedon were joined by some very special guests, including Former Lower School Directory Peggy Doyle, Former Lower School Administrative Assistant Nancy Stober, and James Stover ’95 who was a member of the first Kindergarten class to hold Stone Soup. Joyce Casillo P ‘94, who participated in Stone Soup’s beginnings and is our contact at the Chester Mendham Food Pantry was also recognized.

After introductions, this year's 8th Grade Lifers (students who have been at GSB since first grade) led the full Lower School in the singing of The Stone Soup Song. They were joined by this year’s Twelfth Grade Lifers to honor the special day.

To finish the soup, Eighth Grade Lifers took turns passing the “magic stone” to the youngest student at GSB, who then placed it in the pot. The passing of the stone symbolized the importance that GSB puts on community.

“Stone Soup is perhaps the longest standing tradition at GSB, running now for 40 years,” said Mr. Armstrong. “The message is simple: if we all contribute a little, then together we will have so much. More than a message about sharing, school traditions bind us together. Any former GSB Lower School Student has fond memories of Stone Soup—this important, annual tradition serves as part of our foundation for community and belonging.”

After the stone was dropped, each class took turns coming to the pot to drop off their donated items, which GSB's Dining Team then transformed into a vegetable "Stone Soup" to be served later at lunch in the Dining Hall. This year, in an effort to add to our service-learning experience, community members were invited to donate fresh, whole produce for the Chester Mendham Food Pantry. Additional shelf-stable donations to the pantry were also welcomed such as soup, chili, cereal, snacks, and drinks.

During the week leading up to the event, classes participated in storytelling, music, and the preparation of ingredients for the soup, reinforcing the old lesson with a new generation: each of us can make a contribution, no matter how large or small, and together with our friends, we can make something truly wonderful for all to share!

GSB 8th Grade Lifers:
Charlotte Brown
Skylar Composto
Ben Fedon
Eva Goodrich
Lyndsey Hardy
Ariana Isusi
Piper Macak
Molly Meenan
Ariella Robins
Hope Wilson

GSB 12th Grade Lifers:
Riley Bittman
Austin Carey
Kate Chen
Jacob Cohen
Nickolas Gattoni
Patrick Henderlong
Nicholas Parlavecchio
Luke Ruggiero
James Schadt
Katherine Udoff
Philip Vayntrub
Sofia Walz
Zackary Wendell

Please enjoy our Stone Soup Day photo gallery below!

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