“I want more for my own child than just the best grades and the status symbols of success. People who narrowly follow that path end up being depressed and unhappy. That’s why I am so glad my children attend Oak Meadow. This school balances academic accomplishments with important life habits like being compassionate, caring about others, and finding value in one’s self and in others.”
I hear comments like this from Oak Meadow parents all the time. It’s encouraging because it highlights the close alignment at our school between family and school values. While every teacher at this school is dedicated to helping students dig deeply into their academic work and wrestle with really challenging problems, our approach to education is built on a philosophy of raising healthy, well-balanced students who grow up caring about their friends and family and community. We believe young people who are raised this way make the most profound contribution to society and the world, and they also live lives of deep personal satisfaction.
Teaching children to care is not accomplished through lectures or books. It happens through real-life experience, by having opportunities to better understand the needs of others and develop empathy for what others are facing. I see this kind of learning happening all the time in our school. Students in our school are actively engaged in several special service projects this school year, including the Green Book Fair, the Giving Tree, Loaves and Fishes, Bread & Soups for Charity, and Recycling.
The holiday season is always a great time to practice caring and compassion for others. That’s why I would like to highlight three powerful ways for all of us in the Oak Meadow community to join together in the spirit of giving and philanthropy.
Green Book Fair
The Green Book Fair provides for the redistribution of gently used books, where no new books are manufactured and no used books are thrown away. Families are encouraged to donate gently used books to the school; students and parents purchase these books at the Green Book Fair with a donation of their choice; and books not selected are given to the organization More than Words, which recently opened a new location in Boston’s South End. The program is supported by our parents’ association (OMPA), and spearheaded by parents Hilary Maglothin, Emily Marsick, and Kate Arcieri. Because the book fair is not tied to any commercial publishers, all of the money donated goes directly to the advancement of our school library.
The Annual Fund
We’ve shaken up the Annual Fund this year. Rather than hearing reminders all year long, the entire annual fund campaign is being compressed into one week in November and another in April. With the goal of making the annual fund campaign as fun and whimsical as possible, we have selected the theme of a “sprint” for the one-week timeframe. Starting Sunday night and Monday morning, you will see the first photographs of runners sprinting toward the finish line. The silhouette images of runners are actually Lower Elementary students, and all of the photos were taken by two Middle School students. It all starts Sunday night with the tagline, “On your mark.” The actual campaign will run one week, from Sunday, November 25th through Saturday December 1st. Please join our sprint. If you make your pledge or gift during this one week sprint, you will not hear another single word about the annual fund all year! All funds go to support faculty professional development, technology improvements, and other program enhancements not covered by tuition. Please be as generous as possible to support all the things that make Oak Meadow special. Remember, however, a pledge or gift of any amount counts. We hope to have 100% participation from all of our community members.
This is an especially impactful service project headed up by the Upper Elementary students in partnership with the parents’ association (OMPA), to benefit children who are part of the Lowell Department of Children and Families (DCF) program. Our UE students take the wishes received from DCF children and turn these wishes into gift tags. With the support of a parent, students select a wish (gift tag) they are committed to fulfilling with a gift for that particular child. The Giving Tree service project begins on Monday, November 19th and ends on December 7th. OMPA organizes all of the gifts and transports everything to DCF for distribution to the children. This is such a meaningful way for members of our school community to work together to make a real difference in the life of a child who would not otherwise be able to enjoy a gift during the holidays.