In-Person Gatherings Make Welcome Return to School

Projectors and public address systems dotted the new athletic center’s Morissette Court this week as some of the first in-person Gatherings began for the first time since March of 2020.

“What a relief it was to all be together in one space!” Head of Middle School Ann Sulzer said. “We haven't had an in-person Gathering since our current eighth-graders were sixth graders, so it was long overdue and wonderful. I think for our returning students, it felt like a bit of a return to "normal" and for our new sixth graders, I think they are still taking it all in to make sense of what it means to be in Middle School.”

Due to its size, and state-of-the-art ventilation, the new athletic center is a welcome home for students to safely gather and enjoy being in one building together all at the same time.

“We feel so lucky to use that space,” Sulzer said. “It can accommodate the entire Middle School safely because we have more room to spread out, but also still be under one roof together, and it is a beautiful space that inspires community-building.”

During the weekly Gatherings, the new space is now full of joyful singing, the celebration of birthdays, book recommendations, and important announcements for students and teachers. Upper Schoolers often encourage classmates to cheer them on in upcoming athletic events and pitch their clubs and extra-curricular activities to the entire school.

“So much of what we do in Middle School, and all of OES, is to find ways to share our lives and experiences so that we can find points of connection and community, and a lot of that is just about being in a common space together with a shared purpose,” Sulzer said. “We are always looking for opportunities to bring together all three grades since our students rarely share classrooms together. Especially in the past year when we have been more isolated, Gathering feels like a sigh of relief to see the whole Middle School all in one space.”