By Jimmy Chu, 5th Grade Teacher
The class of 2020 could be seen from the windows on the top floor of the school, gathered on the playground, waving their arms toward the sky and chanting in hopes of coaxing the sun out for the Stone Soup meal.
Throughout the fall, I learned more and more about this UCDS tradition and up until that morning, the morning of Stone Soup, everything had been going according to plan.
A stone lovingly placed at the bottom of a pot. The pot lovingly filled with a marvelous combination of ingredients. Those ingredients lovingly stirred by attentive cooks. The process of making the soup itself mirrors the thoughtfulness that makes up this shared experience. Just days before, a play focused on inclusion was produced, practiced and presented. Creative souvenirs were created for buddies. Delicious food was prepared.
On the morning of Stone Soup, the cold chilled our bones and grey clouds leered overhead. Nevertheless, everything had been going according to plan and so facilities teamed up with Tower students and staff to arrange tables, chairs, and place settings for the entire school—outside on the playground.
When the first raindrops fell, we went about our business, confident that they would stop, and they did. Still, the potential for precipitation could not be ignored and many of us looked up with anticipation. Definitively, the rain returned and was met with the sun chant.
The sun did not heed our calls.
It was decided that we would move Stone Stone inside. Everything had to be moved, dried, reset and every available hand was up to the task. Students and staff showed great flexibility and resourcefulness. This collaboration of minds and bodies allowed Stone Soup 2019 to play out splendidly. While the sun remained hidden that day, the qualities of a community shone through.
I wanted to revisit the Stone Soup story in this blog because I wanted to revisit the idea of shared experience. This has the power to heighten our awareness of the people around us and motivates us to examine the degree of connection with those people. Ultimately it has the power to build empathy – one of the hardest things to teach.
In this new year, let’s continually strive to generate and lend ourselves to shared experience.