One of my favorite traditions at Episcopal is sending care packages to recent graduates as they prepare to take their first final exams in college. Eight years ago, I was nearing the end of my first semester of college at LSU. After spending 12 years at Episcopal, I remember feeling nervous about attending such a large university. That first semester was full of changes. I’d moved out of my parents' house, started my first real job, and changed my major a few times. It was a busy and stressful time, and it seemed worlds away from high school.
During the first week of December, I received an unexpected package in the mail. It was addressed to me and sent from Episcopal. I opened it to find a college student’s dream come true - homemade cookies and other Christmas treats! The box also contained a card with a note of encouragement from a 6th grade student which I hung on the bulletin board above my bed. It was a wonderful and truly adorable surprise that made a stressful week a little brighter.
Episcopal has always been a special place to me, and I always knew that I wanted to return here to teach. I love that I get to participate in the tradition of sending care packages to our recent graduates. On Tuesday November 29th, the 6th graders spent the day preparing this year’s round of care packages for last year's graduates. They filled small cardboard boxes with homemade cookies. They made construction paper and candy cane reindeers. They painted decorative snowflakes onto small canvases. They made Christmas slime for a fun way to relieve exam-week stress. And finally, they attached small LED lights to handmade Christmas cards. Students enjoyed creating and personalizing the gifts and cards. It was a fun and successful day for all!
As care package day came to an end, I wiped up the last of the glitter, food coloring, and glue from the desks of my classroom where I once sat learning social studies half a lifetime ago. I couldn’t help but reflect on my years at Episcopal. I’ve always said that the Episcopal community is like a family; the buildings, like a second home. It is a family that loves, encourages, and protects one another. It is a family that always welcomes you home, no matter how much time has passed. And like any good family, it sends care packages to you in college, just to remind you that someone back home is thinking of you. It is a small gesture, but to me it represents the many ways our community acts as a family. I hope our recent graduates will enjoy their packages as much as I did, and I hope that it will serve as a reminder of a place they can always call home.
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