In preparation for this special event, members of the HOPE committee worked closely with Director of Outdoor Education Charlton Perry to select a special native tree for planting. The full student body was surveyed about the type of tree they wanted to represent this year’s HOPE theme. They chose a Monterrey Oak, which should grow to be 45 feet tall and 35 feet wide when fully mature. Perry then chose the best planting location, a well-traveled spot between Hines Hall and Becker Library.
The dedication ceremony kicked off with a musical offering of “Morning Has Broken” and a reading of the Gospel of John. Next, student members of the HOPE committee shared tree planting traditions from across the globe and read the poem “Planting Trees” by Wendell Berry. Upper School Chaplain Adam Varner ’03 then offered a prayer of dedication and blessed the new HOPE tree. The program closed with a recitation of the school prayer.
Special thanks go to the student members of the annual theme committee for planning this event: Cristian Dominguez, Asia Gaines, Felix Halloran, Sophia Hawthorne, Chinyere Nosike, Patrick Simmonds and Rainbow Wang.
The idea for a school-wide “theme” was first introduced at St. Stephen’s in 2014 to help focus our community on a common positive goal. To date, yearlong themes have included Peace (2014–15), Respect (2015–16), Beyond Tolerance (2016–17), Listen (2017–18), Welcome (2018–19), Kindness (2019–20), Together (2020–21) and Hope (2021–22).