Each year, OES remembers and honors the nine members of the OES community that we lost in May 1986 in the Mount Hood climb.
This year’s remembrance was especially meaningful. In the Upper School Chapel on Monday, Hayden H. ’23, who is the son of Brinton Clark ’88, one of the survivors of the climb, spoke about his family’s experience. He said that his mother felt she was deeply supported and cared for through her healing. His grandparents found OES to be a community that cared for them and brought about healing, and he said that this story speaks to the power of communities that care for each of their members, and that out of tragedy can come connection and love.
On Wednesday, May 10, the Belltower ceremony began with fifth graders Rosalie E., Minh L., and Cora T. ringing the bell nine times in honor of those we were remembering. Interim Head Chaplain VJ Sathyaraj welcomed everyone, and Chaplain Mel Robinson led the prayer, which said in part:
Holy God, we pray for those we love, but see no longer. May your peace enfold them and your light always shine upon them. May they inspire each of us to enter today with a generous heart, ready to serve and eager to love. Amen.
The chaplains read aloud the litany of names:
Alison Litzenberger—Erik Sandvik—Erin O’Leary—Marion Horwell—Patrick McGinness—Richard Haeder—Susan McClave—Tasha Amy—Tom Gorman
Will K. ‘25 and OES Extension Music Teacher Zachary Lenox sang “O Danny Boy.” Head of School Mo Copeland spoke about how OES students help to repair the world by giving their time in a variety of ways throughout the year, and shared this poem by Brian Andreas:
In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants, and hold the world in arms grown strong with love. And there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them.
All three divisions have embraced a yearlong commitment to engage in community work. On MHCOD and through the Season of Commitment that stretches to the end of the year, we reflect on a year of engagement and service and renew our continued commitment to use our power for good. Three Upper School students spoke about this commitment.
Maeve L. ’23 shared how the idea for Doorstep Donations came about, from OES wanting to maintain our commitment to feeding our neighbors during the pandemic. This led to an even stronger commitment, with the collection of food year-round across all levels of the school.
She said that the Empty Bowls made by our ceramics students for Neighborhood House’s fundraising event brought in $2,500 in proceeds. This will purchase approximately 10,000 lbs. of food for our community this year.
Tatum H. ’24 spoke about how her experience providing food to homeless people inspired her to reignite student interest in volunteering at Clay Street Table, an organization with a rich OES history that offers meals and a food pantry to hungry community members. The enthusiastic response from students led to a Winterim group this year focused on Clay Street Table, creating dishes longside Asian elders and rekindling the relationship established by dorm students many years ago.
Sydney S. ’23 shared about her volunteer commitment at Vose Elementary with other Upper School Spanish students, helping teach math, in Spanish, to the youngsters. She chose to extend her commitment by becoming an intern at the school.
All-School Community Engagement Coordinator Kristen Haferbecker spoke about how seeds of commitment create roots that grow, and that every commitment makes a connection. “When we look beyond ourselves to connect with the lives of others, we root ourselves in something bigger than just us.”
The Rev. Marianne Allison, interim rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist, gave the blessing at the end of the program.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, students were active on campus, from writing letters of advocacy in support of food justice to tending to weeds in Fariss Garden; from making jewelry for recently adopted youth to building nesting boxes for flickers.
Many classrooms began actions that will extend into our Season of Commitment. More stories of commitment will be shared during the coming weeks.