In one of the most cherished traditions on the school calendar, St. Martin’s entire student body gathered Friday, Nov. 8 to celebrate St. Martin’s Day. St. Martin’s Episcopal School first celebrated the day in the 1950s, and the tradition has evolved throughout the years.
This year’s theme was Serving Together as Saints, and the day was dedicated to the memory of Nolan Dewey. Mr. Nolan served St. Martin’s for more than 24 years as a member of the food services staff before passing away in early September. His love for the St. Martin’s community, compassion for others, and pride in his work were evident to us all. He was consistently friendly, warm, and kind to generations of students and faculty.
The annual celebration honors the school’s patron saint and namesake. St. Martin de Tours was a Roman army officer, who once met a freezing beggar and shared his military cloak with him. Martin later became a priest, and eventually a bishop, dedicating his life to helping those in need.
Woven throughout the fun-filled day are the three tenets of the school’s mission: Faith, Scholarship, and Service. The opening chapel service represents ‘faith.’ The discovery hunt, which encourages students to work together and learn more about their school and community, emphasizes ‘scholarship.’ As all the students work toward the goal of raising and donating money to a selected charity, they practice ‘service.’
In honor of St. Martin, who was known for his kindness, the student body spent the weeks leading up to St. Martin’s Day raising money for Café Reconcile in honor of Mr. Nolan. Through various fundraising efforts, students were able to donate more than $3,000 to the organization. This donation will help sponsor students at Café Reconcile who aspire to work in the food industry.
Individual grades coordinated a variety of events to raise funds for the charity. Pre-k students helped with chores at home. Several other grades held treat sales; second grade sold lemonade and popcorn, third grade sold freeze pops, and fourth grade had a bake sale. Middle School students sold raffle tickets. Upper School, led by the Student Government, sponsored several fundraisers in that division, including a lively faculty vs. student basketball game. They also sold Halloween treats. The senior class chose to donate $1,000 from its own budget. The Performing Arts Department pitched in as well by hosting a face painting fundraiser on Halloween.
Festivities opened with an all-school Eucharistic Celebration. Head of School Merry Sorrells declared the day “St. Martin’s Day 2019” to a chorus of cheers and clapping from the student body and faculty and staff.
Student Council President Jacob Thomas ’19 addressed the assembly, speaking to students on the day’s theme of serving together.
He noted that, on this St. Martin’s Day, “We celebrate our community and the many ways we serve each other, just as Mr. Nolan served every single one of us. Help each other out... There are so many different ways that we can serve each other... I bet every one of us wishes we could give Mr. Nolan one last ‘thank you.’ Be thankful, love, and serve one another every day.”
St. Martin’s Day is not only a fitting observance of the school’s patron saint, but also a beautiful celebration of the school’s diverse, strong, generous, and thriving community. It truly shows that “Together We are Saints.”