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Giving Thanks for Community, Faith, and Hope

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving an outline of a turkey – a big one – was drawn on the glass panels of Plant Ops in the school’s main lobby. Over time, students and educators filled the outline with colorful sticky notes covered with words of gratitude and love.

The “turkey” was one of the many ways our Gibbons family expressed its appreciation for community, faith, and hope in this most challenging of years. Other examples included completing an act of kindness for someone and celebrating together during a Friendsgiving luncheon.

“We have so much to be grateful for at Gibbons, but we are most thankful to be able to serve our students,” Head of School Jeff Bell said. “We love the opportunity to be a part of their lives.”  

Lytia Reese, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Raleigh in her Thanksgiving letter to the diocesan school communities, added: that she is thankful “for the hard work and sacrifice” that has made this untraditional year “such an overwhelming success so far.”  She also described “the rediscovery of and commitment to ‘community,’ as an unexpected blessing.” Read her full message.

Such gratitude also inspires generosity and service. That, in turn, underscores a key tenet of our school’s mission and resulted in the fall Dress Down Day for Hunger outreach project to benefit Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO) - the largest food pantry in the Triangle

In keeping with this season of giving, students and educators both donated the ingredients for and the time and effort to assemble 1,248 soup kits. CPO will distribute the kits to families to enjoy a hot meal this Thanksgiving.

“The most important ingredient present in each of the soup kits is love,” Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82 said. “The pandemic has NOT prevented us from finding innovative and meaningful ways to serve our Outreach partners.”

This school-wide soup kit project involved all advisories on campus, members of the Gibbons chapter of Franciscan Youth International, students from our Freshman Seminar classes, and students during their Flex periods. There were also the many students and educators who helped load the soup kits on CPO’s truck. 

“Yes,” noted Meyerl, “gratitude truly does arise from and inspires gladness and generosity!”

It is with joy-filled intentions that our giving continues when we return from Thanksgiving break. That’s when the Cardinal Gibbons Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) will kick off the annual Toy & Clothing Drive, long a cherished holiday tradition.

“While things are different this year, we felt it was important that as a school we come together to give back to the community,” said Genevieve Donahue who with fellow Gibbons Educator Kristin Edrington ’05 are NHS moderators. “This year we will be giving each advisory a child to care for during the Christmas season.”

So, in this season of giving thanks, let us bring the blessings of joy and encouragement to those most in need and share the gifts God has so generously bestowed on all of us.


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