It was lovely learning weather for Take A Child Outside Week and LS Dot Day. Thank you to Donna Wilcox for her TACO photos and Hector Morales for the Dot Day aerial shots.
The first day of the 2020-21 school year may not have had all the ceremony and pageantry of years past, but it did have the one thing that really matters: students and teachers reconnecting to begin the next chapter of Country Day’s history.
By Betsy Hedbavny
For the last two years the kindergarten class has participated in the One Hen Project. It is a national project based on the true story of Kojo, a young boy from Ghana. One Hen’s aim is to empower students to become social entrepreneurs. It is a story of how one small loan made a big difference. Students learn to make a difference for themselves and the world through learning and experiencing basic economics, social conscience, and global interconnectedness.
Even in normal circumstances, kindergartners find it challenging to develop a small business plan, share the plan, take out a loan, advertise, create their goods, sell their product, and with the profit they earn pay back the loan and make a donation to a non-profit organization of their choice, helping to meet a global or local need.
These are not normal circumstances. However, we decided that the pandemic would not stop this year’s One Hen project. Now more than ever we had a local need. Postal Pals, our small business, was created to spread love and encouragement.
Instead of selling a product this year, we wanted to offer a service. Students have been working hard completing chores around their homes to earn stamps. Once they are “paid” in stamps, the kindergartners have been writing words of encouragement and love to their senior and fifth grade buddies, specials teachers, friends, and family members. They are extremely proud of their good deeds and have loved accomplishing the chores. According to the happy smiles and thankful responses, the recipients have loved it too.
The following acts of generosity and pure, unselfish goodwill were reported by Head of Middle School Meg Reed. The perpetrators remain at large and should be considered charmed and magnanimous.
— William Gould ’25 very sweetly wrote his neighbor, whose husband had just passed away the previous week, if she would like him to mow her lawn or wash her car.
— Nisha Mele ’25 was thanked in a neighborhood chat group as the “mysterious neighbor” responsible for the hearts on everyone’s driveways. This photo captured the brazen vandal in broad daylight.
— Natalie and Olivia Blocher brought six cases of Girl Scout cookies to Lancaster General as a thank you to the doctors and nurses. Not satisfied with cheering only healthcare workers, Olivia also put a box with a note of thanks in the mailbox for their letter carrier too.
— When the internet went out at the Blocher house, Natalie and Olivia got a message to the people the old fashioned way.
— Jean Noecker’s advisees made positive and uplifting signs during advisory one day. Tatum Ribeiro ’26 offered some advice on hers: “Throw kindness around life confetti.”
— Llarimar Vidot ’25 created an education box for her cousins. “They do not have school right now, so I wanted to help them out,” she said. “Also after school at 2:30, I FaceTime them and tutor them.”
— ZJ Suarez ’26 is “shy and talks seldom,” wrote his mom, Sasha, to Meg Reed. ZJ, his mom and his little brother Liam ’30 are good friends with a frontline worker at LGH and decided to make some masks to donate. When she wrote the email a month ago, they had more than 30 done, and they all looked pretty cool.
— For Julian Colino ’26, charity begins at home. Thank you to all chore-tackling heroes everywhere.
— Both of seventh-grader Raphael Andreae’s parents are doctors who have been in the thick of it since “Covid19” entered the vernacular. His mom, Adriana, wrote Meg Reed to briefly catalog some of Raphael’s unheralded compassion. “He picks his dad up from work most days. He cut his dad’s hair, and he built a vegetable garden for and with his younger brothers (Felix ’27 and Benyamin ’31).”
— Caralina Caplan ’25 wrote a thank you card to the doctors and nurses at a local hospital, and followed that up by sending a $100 donation to an area food bank. “I hope this is enough,” she wrote to Meg Reed.
— Finally, sixth-grader Agatha Clapper shows us all that kindness and compassion don’t just make people’s lives sweeter, but can deepen the ties between human and lizard as well. Her bearded dragon is staying ward and showing school spirit thanks to a bespoke hoodie that Agatha made for him.
By Hasan Maqbool
I took an, arguably, out of place trip to Iraq for about two weeks in October. I had left the country amid a time of approaching college application deadlines and stressful test weeks — all the while missing three weeks of school. The weeks before I left and after I came back were extremely stressful as I struggled to fulfill my responsibilities. Why then would I take such a long excursion just as school was really getting into gear?
The reason was a religious pilgrimage called Arba’een. Shia Muslims traveling to major shrines in Iraq make up one of the largest gatherings in the world — about 22 million people gathering between two cities. What could these holy personalities have done to attract such a large number of people from all over the world?
Hussain was the grandson of Muhammad — the messenger of Islam. Following the example of his grandfather, Hussain promoted peace, coexistence, and righteous moral principles even as his birthright was usurped. When the tyrant leader Yazid demanded his pledge of allegiance, Hussain declined, saying that he would never bow to a man causing such moral decay and death.
Soon, Yazid’s forces cornered Hussain and his followers in the desert, denying them access to water. Hussain was faced with a decision: live and bow to the tyrant, abandoning all he and his family stood for, or die defending his family and principles from the onslaught of Yazid.
Hussain and his family died thirsty in the desert, fighting to preserve the true message of Islam — a message of charity, peace, virtue, and kindness.
As the army of Yazid pressed on, Hussain and his supporters stood alone that day. 1,400 years later, millions visit his shrine and those of his family — I was lucky enough to be one of them. I went to Iraq in order to relive the tragedy and revitalize my fidelity to the principles of Islam. I saw the shrines, envisioned the saints, cried at the gates, prayed for my friends and loved ones, and sympathized with those around the world suffering at the hands of tyrannical despots.
I felt a connection I can’t express in words and brought it back with me all the way here.
This pilgrimage reaffirmed what I should emphasize as priorities in my life — helping others, promoting peace, and taking a stand against injustice. Although Hussain and his family are buried peacefully in Iraq, I feel their presence every day and hope to advance and embody their principles as I go on.