We hope this edition of The Perch finds you well just days before Thanksgiving. Before schools closed on Friday for a week-long Thanksgiving break, our teachers, scholars and families celebrated the season. Like all Brilla traditions, the traditions leading up to Thanksgiving break are designed to foster strong relationships and to build a joyful environment in the service of our community. We are deeply committed to helping all members of our community to develop in mind, body, and spirit, and we believe that purposeful traditions are a powerful way to do this.
Every year, during the week before Thanksgiving break, each campus organizes a school-wide food drive. The annual tradition brings together families, students, staff, and the wider Mott Haven community in order to give our students the opportunity to practice generosity and gratitude—virtues they hear about so often at school. Families can contribute to the food drive in three ways: scholars can bring in non-perishable goods, families can donate funds for the local food pantry to purchase items, and/or scholars and their families can transport the non-perishable goods from the school to a local food pantry at the end of the week. Those scholars who walk the items to the local food pantry are entered into a raffle. On the last day of the week at the Roosting Rally, a weekly campus-wide gathering, names are drawn. The winners of the raffle win a turkey and voucher to buy Thanksgiving meal items. This year, thanks to the generosity of our board of directors who donated funds for the food vouchers, 60 of our scholars took home turkeys and vouchers for a Thanksgiving meal to share with their families.
In addition to the raffling off of Thanksgiving meals, the annual “pieing” event occurs at the Roosting Rally that concludes the week. Those students in each class who donated the greatest number of nonperishable items earn the privilege of “pieing” their teacher. The student who donates the greatest number of non-perishable cans across his or her campus gets “to pie” a member of the Admin team. As you can imagine, our scholars LOVE the event. As for the staff members who get pied, we won’t speak on behalf of them… But the event is incredibly joy-filled—families, scholars, and teachers alike cheer and laugh through the whole thing. The Roosting Rally is concluded by an unveiling of the total number of food items raised. This year, across our three campuses, we donated a total of 43,014 non-perishable goods to three local food pantries.
In addition to participating in the Thanksgiving Food Drive, our staff across our three campuses and Network office enjoyed potluck Thanksgiving meals. Like a family Thanksgiving gathering, these potlucks were times for expressing gratitude, enjoying yummy food, and spending quality time with one another.
These traditions have caused us to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives— one of which is to be involved in the extremely meaningful task of preparing scholars for excellence in high school, college, and beyond. Our families, staff, board of directors, and countless friends make this possible. Thank you to each and everyone of you. We wish you and your family a very happy and restful Thanksgiving!
Luanne D. Zurlo
Executive Director, Brilla Public Charter Schools
Superintendent, Brilla Public Charter Schools