Betty Chu Pryor, Interim Lower School Head

BettyChu Pryor, Lower School Head

Giving Thanks

On Tuesday, we will gather for our annual Thanksgiving assembly—an opportunity to express gratitude as a community. As we approach the end of the first trimester, it is a gift to pause and reflect on the joys we’ve experienced this school year and thank all those who have contributed to a seamless start.

First, we are grateful to the almost two dozen new teaching and non-teaching faculty members who call BDS their home. These colleagues offer fresh perspectives and bring great purpose and zeal for collaboration to all that they do. We are equally thankful for the returning faculty members who continue to embody the mission and values of our school. As a BDS veteran of 15 years, I can attest to the caliber and passion of my colleagues. Belmont Day School is a special and inspirational place to work.

This year feels like a “typical” school year, and as such, it has been heartwarming to welcome more families into our school buildings regularly, whether they are new, returning, or prospective. Their absence in our hallways and classrooms was palpable through the most challenging phases of the pandemic. I am so thankful that family members are once again serving as mystery guest readers, attending school-wide events, and even dropping off forgotten lunchboxes or Chromebooks at the front desk. We are so thankful to the parent volunteers who selflessly give their time behind the scenes—serving as admissions ambassadors, donating centerpieces for Coolidge Hall, reshelving books in the Erskine Library, organizing our lost and found collection, and much, much more.

A few weeks ago, members of our programmatic leadership team had the opportunity to present some overarching themes of our current work to the board of trustees. Their thoughtful questions were indicative of the intentionality and care our board members continually demonstrate. We know how busy these trustees are in their professional lives, and we are grateful that they pledge their energy and expertise to ensure our school’s strength and stability and guide its direction.

So many aspects of my job bring me great delight, but interacting with our students will always take top billing—336 wonderful students fill our campus with boundless curiosity and energy. Visitors to my office stop by to show me loose or missing teeth, former students update me about special events in their lives, and one kindergartner asked to nap on the loveseat in my office. I love the unstructured moments while eating lunch with the children, greeting them in the mornings, or watching them play at recess. Where else can one hear incessant giggles when introducing the word “panini” at a meal or be invited to “buy” a gem made out of wood chips?

My family speaks Cantonese, and I was taught at an early age that there were two ways to say “thank you”: 唔該 m-goi and 多謝 doh-je. The former is typically used to recognize someone who has helped, performed a service, or to get someone’s attention, similar to “pardon me.” The latter tends to be used to acknowledge a physical gift or to express a greater magnitude of gratitude. As a child, I remember always having to think carefully about which type of “thank you” phrase to use. I still often find myself oscillating between the “thank you” variations in my head when I want to show appreciation, such as this one. No matter how I choose to say thank you, the sentiment is the same for each and every one of you. Thank you for being a vital part of our close-knit community—it truly does take a village.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe, restful, and joyous Thanksgiving holiday!

BettyChu Pryor, Lower School Head

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