Dec 6, 2022

updated Nov 20, 2023

Harvest Luncheon fills appetites and hearts

Gratitude on the menu at MHS

Gratitude was top of mind during the annual Harvest Luncheon organized by the sophomore class.

A time-honored Miss Hall’s tradition that’s been updated with historical context and new practices in mind, the all-community event took place November 30 in the Thatcher Family Gymnasium and featured an informative presentation, music from the Grace Notes, and — of course — fantastic food.

Sophomore Class President Willa Dowling-Paul ’25 opened by welcoming MHS students and adults, who were seated at mixed tables, each with a host sophomore, a faculty and/or staff member, and students from each grade in an arrangement that prompted engaging conversations among mixed cohorts. In her remarks, Willa noted that research has found gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with happiness.

“Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health and build strong relationships,” said Willa, who thanked students and MHS adults for all they do to make the Miss Hall’s community special and to put on the Luncheon. “We hope you can use this event as a chance to show your gratitude to the Miss Hall’s community and beyond and to take the spirit of gratitude with you after today’s event.”

“We hope you can use this event as a chance to show your gratitude to the Miss Hall’s community and beyond and to take the spirit of gratitude with you after today’s event.”

Sophomore Class President

Reimagined last year to reinforce positive aspects of Thanksgiving, while also noting the ways in which the Thanksgiving story is flawed, the Harvest Luncheon also included the class’s education subcommittee presenting on the history of the holiday and the community’s relationship to the ancestral homelands of the Stockbridge Munsee Mohican people.

The group also produced an informational pamphlet that was available at each table and shared the origins of the first Thanksgiving feast and the Pilgrims’ relationship with the Wampanoag tribe. They also spoke about the background of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, how the holiday is interpreted by many in the indigenous community, and how it has evolved in the context of a broader historical narrative.

Traditionally a part of the 10th grade experience, the Harvest Luncheon has also evolved to become part of Horizons, which allows students to take more ownership of the event. Student committees handle details such as planning the menu, design and aesthetics, communications, layout, educational programming, and more.

Throughout the fall, students learned about history and traditions of Thanksgiving and indigenous peoples, while also incorporating hands-on experiences into their work.

They visited the Mission House in nearby Stockbridge to learn about indigenous and local history in the Berkshires, and they visited local farms — Shaker Creek Farm, in Stephentown, New York, and Red Shirt Farm in Lanesborough — to learn about sustainable agriculture, organic and regenerative growing methods, the reasons for growing food this way, and choices students can make to support healthy eating. Information from the trips was used to inform planning for the luncheon.

After the Grace Notes sang “Simple Gifts,” Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management David Hopkins P’24 was selected for the honor of carving this year’s turkey, then the community enjoyed a delicious meal.