On Friday, October 14, students, faculty, and staff from Kindergarten through Grade 12 came together for the first All-School Gathering since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was a high-energy, exciting, and entertaining morning for all! Since 1993, the All-School Gathering has celebrated community, highlighted the depth of talent across all three campuses, and officially started the school year.
In his first All-School Gathering since becoming Head of School, Nigel D. Furlonge embraced the celebration and shared, “As we enjoy this community moment, I do so mindful that The Gathering is also a reminder for us to be grateful.” He recognized the support and dedication of school administrators, Board members, and PAMKA and gave an MKA Sweater to 2022 Founders’ Cup Award for Teaching Excellence recipient, CherylAnne Amendola. During the event, Nigel provided a global context for the community when he said, “We are [at MKA] to make a positive impact on people and places we do not know. The Gathering becomes, then, a reminder in our small part of the world, of remembering that we are part of an ecosystem, and how we live is intertwined with places and people with whom we may never gather, yet we are bound together on this planet.”
The audience was greeted by the dynamic Upper School Pep Band combined with the 8th Grade Band, and performances by groups from each campus, including the a capella group Remix, Upper School Cheerleaders, Upper School Advanced Dance Ensemble, Middle School Step Team, Middle School Dance Ensemble, and the 3rd Grade Brookside Bellringers kept the program light, lively, and engaging. 8th Grade Class President Layla Lynch shared her contagious enthusiasm for the year ahead, and Upper School Student Council President Amari Urquhart and Upper School Student Council Vice President Yousef Abukwaik related a few cautionary as well as appreciative tales of their experience as MKA Lifers. Together, the students set a positive and hopeful tone for the school year.
Tradition abounded during the ceremony including the singing of the alma mater, “Oh, MKA” and the senior presentation of a stuffed cougar to Kindergarten students as they crossed a bridge. The event concluded with the ringing of the Academy Bell by the youngest student in Kindergarten, this year, in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the program, joined by the Brookside Bellringers.
To view more photos from this year's Gathering, visit mka.org/photogalleries.