The All-School Gathering celebrates community, highlights the depth of talent across all three campuses, and officially starts the school year. Celebrated for the 26th time on October 11, the event brought energy and lots of noise to the Fairleigh Dickinson Gymnasium at the Upper School. Approximately 1,040 MKA students, over 200 faculty and staff members, and many special guests were treated to performances and ceremonies that illustrated the sense of community that permeates the school. At the helm for his 14th Gathering, Headmaster Tom Nammack said, “There are a number of students who are here this morning to offer all of us the gift of their performances – not just to entertain us, but to connect with a community that they trust, in a place that all here can claim as a second home.”
Performances by the Brookside Bellringers, Middle and Upper School Chamber Singers, Middle and Upper School Jazz Ensembles, Middle School Dance Ensemble, Upper School Advanced Dance Class, and the Upper School a cappella group Remix were interspersed throughout the event and included an incredible solo performance of “At Last” by Elizabeth Appel-Caraccioli ‘20. MKA's robust and successful athletics program celebrated student and team accomplishment with the presentation of team athletic honors from 2018-19, as well as by rousing performances from the MKA Cheerleaders and this year’s faculty/staff Step Team. Individual student academic, athletic, and fine and performing arts accomplishments were celebrated with the awarding of MKA sweaters.
Flanked by the portraits of Montclair Academy founder John MacVicor and The Kimberley School founder, Mary K. Waring, Mr. Nammack touched upon the school’s history when he recognized Lori Daskowitz, a member of the Business Office, for her 30 years of service to the school. Other employees reaching this milestone this year include Teri Butler and Karen Newman.
Alumni Council Secretary Lhenee Riddick ‘05, celebrated the hard work and dedication of the entire school’s faculty, and she presented the 2019 Founders' Cup for Teaching Excellence to long-time Upper School science teacher and basketball coach, Tony Jones. Nominated by current and former students as well as by his colleagues, Mr. Jones’s ability to relate to students in and out of the classroom and his high-standards of academic and personal excellence clearly reflect the guidelines for the award itself.
Middle School 8th Grade Class President Hilal Tokat '24 encouraged her fellow students to, “Contribute to the MKA community in whichever way we can. Let’s help each other to be better people.” She suggested that everyone reach for his or her “Personal Best” in the words of late teacher and coach, Tom Fleming. Upper School Student Government President Alexander Chon ’20 reflected on his past experiences and celebrated the traditions and the special aspects at each MKA campus. Senior Class President Charlie Koenig ’20 led one of the celebration's most special traditions of all when kindergarteners cross a bridge to be welcomed on the other side by seniors who give them each a very friendly toy cougar.
From the sea of MKA spirit gear, to the cheers for kindergartners receiving MKA Cougars, school spirit was high (and loud!). The All-School Gathering concluded when the youngest member of the community, Aspen ‘32, and Madison Green ‘20, a current senior who rang the bell herself as a kindergartner, rang the Academy Bell to officially mark the start of MKA’s 132nd school year.
To view more photos from this year's Gathering, visit mka.org/photogalleries.