This is part of a series of blogs from Noble campus representatives to give a deeper look at campus life.
Most people think that the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but November at Muchin is a close second. In November, our Mountain Lion community focuses on showering ourselves, and each other, with gratitude all month long so that we can head into the holiday season and new year feeling rejuvenated.
THANKSGIVING BULLETIN BOARDS
The first sign of the season of gratitude comes when our bulletin boards are decorated for November. Each grade level is responsible for beautifying their own bulletin board every month. They often focus on the grade level’s rally cry or a relevant topic or theme of the month.
Our seniors focused on “Gratitude is the best attitude” as a theme for the month. At their bulletin board, scholars, staff, and anyone visiting our school can stop by and pick up a gratitude card.
Each card is different and names something that one should focus on giving thanks. For example, one card said “Today I give thanks for hugs” and asks the reader to reflect on questions like, “When was the last time you hugged somebody or vice versa? Who did you hug? How did it make you feel?”
These gratitude cards are a frequent topic of conversation amongst Mountain Lions. You often hear scholars and staff asking each other about them and sharing the things that they’re grateful for in their life. Junior Kajiah Lee talked about the card she picked up that said “Today I give thanks for people I love.”
“I really like that we do this because these cards make me reflect a lot,” Kajiah said, “At Muchin, I am thankful for how caring and understanding the adults are. Outside of school, I am thankful for how much family cares about me and holds me accountable.”
MUCHIN’S “GRATITUDE TURKEYS”
Another Muchin gratitude tradition is the Thanksgiving Gratitude Turkeys. All month long in advisory, scholars color and fill out “gratitude turkeys” to give to loved ones, including their peers, teachers, and advisors. Scholars look forward to this every year, and take it as an opportunity to write a message of gratitude, appreciation, and love to some of their favorite people. Then, the “gratitude turkeys” are distributed to the people they’re written for, who often hang them up in their classroom, office, or locker for the remainder of the year.
This year, senior Aden Arceo wrote his gratitude turkey to his teacher, Mr. Segovia. His card says, “Dear Mr. Segovia, I am thankful for what you do for our school and how you make sure everyone does what they need to be doing.”
Our staff also look forward to this Thanksgiving tradition.
Mrs. Hercule, our Multicultural Literature teacher, said, “Our work is incredibly personal and it is challenging to see what comes from the seeds we plant in classrooms and in interactions with scholars. Expressing gratitude is a chance for our scholars to name what is helping them grow and for staff to receive validation from the people we work so hard to support. It just feels good to know the kids see us and it can cement relationships, especially in times of uncertainty.”
STAFF THANKSGIVING LINNER
To wrap the month up, and show our staff some extra appreciation, we host a staff-only linner (lunch + dinner). Linner takes place right before Thanksgiving Break and each staff member signs up to bring one dish. We get to try a variety of dishes, ranging from cultural favorites like espaghetti verde and fresas con crema to Thanksgiving classics like cheesy potatoes and pumpkin pie.
There are no meetings or staff programming; instead, it’s a space for staff to come together, eat some good food, and enjoy being in community together. Everyone’s favorite part, though, is the Gratitude Card Roundtable. Each staff member’s name is written on one piece of paper and we take turns passing the paper around, writing notes of gratitude and appreciation.
Then, by the end of linner, we each walk away with a card full of handwritten gratitude from each member of our staff. If you enter just about any classroom or office in our school, you’ll see years of Gratitude Cards hanging behind the staff member’s desk.
“Whenever I’m having a tough day, I make a mistake, or I’m just doubting myself, I read through the gratitude written on different cards over the years and it reminds me of the good,” Lynne Stanko, our AP English Language & Composition teacher, said, “I’m glad that we do this each year because it’s an opportunity for me to give appreciation to people who I may not interact with every day but who are doing great work.”
GIVING THANKS ALL YEAR AT MUCHIN
While we do have specific November traditions that help us ground ourselves in gratitude, we do our best to remind ourselves year-round why we are thankful for each other.
Mr. Bright-Triplett, the father of our late scholar Duajuan Bright, takes every opportunity he can to come volunteer at Muchin, check in with our staff, and remind us why he appreciates Muchin:
“I am so thankful that Muchin continues to invite me into the building to support at community events. They have helped me honor my son in many ways by keeping his name alive and showing the world how Diverse Learners can be successful at Muchin. During his time at Muchin, Duajuan earned a 4.24 GPA and was accepted into Full Sail University, where he would now be a freshman. I am so grateful for all Muchin staff members, especially those who supported my son and our family while he was alive and after his death — Duajuan’s advisors, who always had an open ear, the Diverse Learner Team, who kept great communication with me and helped my son exceed his educational goals, and the Front Desk crew, who was always quick to answer my texts, emails, and talk with me in person. Most of all, I am grateful for Mr. Johnson, Muchin’s Principal, who went above and beyond to care for us. He helped me in so many ways after my son’s death and continues to help me accept my son’s departure after a year plus. This year, I am so grateful for Muchin College Prep.”
– Mr. Bright-Triplett
And when the staff of Muchin College Prep are asked what we’re grateful for throughout the year? It’s our scholars, our families, and our fellow staff. We are grateful to each of you who shows up every day and puts in the time, effort, and energy to make each day a great day.
So, what are you grateful for and how will you share that with the world this month?