Sometimes you are awed by the company you keep. Poughkeepsie Day School is honored and inspired by its partnerships with two remarkable local organizations – The Queens Galley and Heart Street , both in Kingston.
In Stone Soup and a New Partnership in November 2007 I wrote
Becoming a global citizen has to begin close to home. For students it begins with how they treat each other and with their classroom. As they grow, the circles become wider.
Here is Diane Reeder at last week’s lower school assembly that was also attended by a cross section of older students. Diane is the executive director of Queens Galley in Kingston. She told the wonderful story of the hungry stranger who made the miraculous stone soup that fed the town. Last month Queens Galley served over 7,000 meals.
This season I received a letter from Diane. She wrote it on a day when high school students were there stocking the pantry shelves and middle school students were helping serve.
As I write this we are again visited by students from PDS and again I am reminded of the extraordinary people they are. A few years ago when we were fortunate enough to have had our first visit from PDS students I was struck by the maturity level displayed during the meal service. Later I was invited to the school to speak with students about what we do here and why we choose to do things in our special way. This is our fourth holiday season that we will be celebrating with assistance from PDS. By now it is evident that the behavior of the students that first year was not an anomaly. I wanted to express my utmost admiration for the standard of life training that comes from your school. It is without hesitation that I can say students at Poughkeepsie Day are prepared to thrive and be leaders in our society because of the preparation they receive at the school. The students are equipped with tools that offer opportunity for success but there is one additional element that I have not seen from other students. Poughkeepsie Day students come to us with a sense of integrity, compassion and dedication that I am now sure is not innate. If it is at all possible to ‘teach’ wisdom then it is most certainly in the curricula at Poughkeepsie Day School.I am humbled by their generosity, inspired by their enthusiasm and invigorated by their energy. Yes, I am also envious of the caliber of education and wish that I too had attended Poughkeepsie Day School or be in the position to enroll my own children.
I am sure none of this is news to you as you see the brilliance of these future stars shine every day but I wanted you to know how much I admire the faculty and administration for the work you do. Clearly our community is fortunate to have you all teaching our children.
Heart Street is the house on the hill where Mary ‘Chiz’ Chisholm provides residents suffering from mental illness a safe and loving home. She also maintains one of the food pantries in the city of Kingston that feeds local families on a regular basis.
Some of our high school students have become regular volunteers at Heart Street – helping out and bringing gifts including music and art. On her Facebook page Mary wrote:
what Poughkeepsie day school does and how they do it… brings joy to all…and tears to one…..for the night brought the view of beauty to a house that often cries with the pain of mental illness…. your brightness and kind hands and hearts give light when the doors of life open…as your travels take you to far off places … the house will remember you… giving thanks for poughkeepsie day school and kids with caring…. thank you
It is impossible to give back enough and give forward enough to places like The Queens Galley and Heart Street. Their gifts of compassion, empathy, understanding and example are beyond price. Thank you Diane and Mary for the opportunities you give us.