I write from a building awash in Purple and White. Homecoming Week is upon us and there is spirit everywhere you look! We are looking forward to a full weekend of games, an art show in the Almquist Gallery, activities and reunions. There is a much to be excited about, but perhaps the thing that strikes me the most about my first Homecoming experience at North Shore is what a community effort this is.
Take the decorations that festoon the buildings, particularly the Upper School. Last Sunday night, a swarm of parents invaded to decorate the hallways, doors and every student locker. The tennis courts, bleachers and Mac Gym have been covered in Raider cheer. We’ve had theme days and a Pep Rally complete with team skits, pie eating contest and lots of cheering. All of these are welcome reminders that school should be fun.
Homecoming Week also brings with it the first of our Buddy Days. The seniors and kindergartners have already met and attended Morning Ex twice but this was the first opportunity for the others from grades 1-11 to meet, get to know each other and collaborate. They fanned out around campus and helped decorate the fences, bleachers, stairwells and gym. The results look great but even more important than the purple and white flair was the time spent together.
Since the founding of North Shore in 1919, it has been crucial to our identity and community that students of all ages recognize their interconnection—the fact they are all a part of something bigger than themselves. Schools are unique ecosystems and the links across ages are a crucial part of that web at North Shore. Nowhere is that more apparent—and more adorable—than in the JK/SK/senior buddy pairs.
I had the pleasure of dropping into the Library when the seniors met their buddies from junior and senior kindergarten several weeks ago. After the kindergartners filed out back to their classrooms, I heard two different seniors cheerfully say
“I’ve been waiting for this day.”
What were they waiting for? They were waiting to give of themselves, to spend some time sharing their love of North Shore and their love of learning with little kids. What’s better than that? There is no cash prize involved—no merit badge for being a senior buddy—just the joy and satisfaction of making this already warm and kind community a little bit warmer and kinder.
This week, those buddy pairs reassembled for Homecoming activities. The little ones traced an outline of their senior buddy onto paper, then the pairs worked together to paint them in. These masterpieces greeted the whole-school community at the Pep Rally in the gym.
On campus, we call this Spirit Week, leading up to Homecoming. It’s Raider spirit to be sure but it is also something much greater and more meaningful: it’s the spirit of caring and interconnection that help make North Shore so special. Go Raiders!
North Shore Country Day School is a private, college-prep school for high school, middle school and elementary school students in Winnetka, IL, a suburb of Chicago.