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A Favorite Tradition: School Meeting

Kelly Slonaker

As an independent school that has provided over 100 years of learning, Canterbury is rich in traditions, and one of our top favorites is School Meeting.

We are fortunate to have many unique voices on campus and we welcome their stories—in fact, they inform the entire student experience here. Three times a week, the Canterbury community gathers in Maguire Auditorium to share those stories. We celebrate individual and school-wide achievements from the week prior as well as upcoming events and games. We give “Saints Shoutouts” to those in the community for whom we’re grateful, and we find common ground in our similarities as well as our differences. We truly come together and show up for one another.

Each meeting opens with a prayer read by a student, inviting a moment of collective pause and reflection. It is a way of acknowledging our Catholic heritage and the values we’ve distilled from it, while embracing all other faiths and beliefs. Monday School Meetings are spearheaded by Associate Head of School for Student Life Peter LaVigne while Friday School Meetings are run by our Sixth Form Council—one of the highest student leadership roles on campus. Students and faculty alike make announcements about athletic competitions, club meetings, and play rehearsals—peppered with exclamations of Happy Birthday! and remarks on individual student accomplishments. With the Sixth Form Council at the lead, Friday’s meeting often includes moments of dance, laughter, and unified silliness that have become part of the morning's routine. 

During Thursday School Meeting, students, faculty, and staff are invited to share a part of their story through our weekly Saints on the Hill presentations. They share their most tightly held values, speak about their particular passions, or tell a story that has shaped who they are. Students are able to showcase pieces of themselves, and the audience is able to resonate, laugh, and come away feeling like we all know each other just a little bit better. Students have shared stories from the impact of the Canterbury-Lourdes trip to overcoming athletic injury and carrying on the legacy of a beloved faculty or family member. Alumna and Saints on the Hill founder Sherley Arias-Pimental ’19 describes it as a way of breaking down assumptions about one another and as a glimpse into the lives of those around us, providing nourishment for our community to grow. It’s a safe space for self-expression and vulnerability. “I can’t think of anywhere else where a student would feel comfortable enough to stand up in front of all of their classmates and tell part of their story… or a student body that would receive their story with such care and respect!” Sherley has said. “It’s not easy to be vulnerable, especially with your entire high school looking at you—but Saints on the Hill truly shows the type of community we have on campus."