by Karen Hallowell, director of alumni relations
Nothing says “community” like roasted chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, zucchini bread, and a birthday cake.
Organized by trip leaders Rosey Rosetty-Wagner ’08 and Kwame Hall, the students of the George School service learning trip in Washington, DC hosted a George School alumni community potluck supper on Sunday evening. And, in keeping with potluck tradition, it was truly a community effort!
In traditional family style, students and alumni relaxed over a meal they prepared in the Hostelling International communal kitchen where the students have been living during their service trip. The meal was supplemented by treats contributed by their alumni guests and a delicious birthday cake sent as a surprise by the family of Claire Conte ’16. Meg Peake ’03 and Karen Hallowell also joined in, representing the George School Alumni Office, having brought along the fixings for the big green salad.
Over the course of the meal, the continuity of the school’s enduring values—especially the ongoing commitment to service learning –was evident in the shared stories of George School, then and now.
Shared Meredith Zoltick ’07, “It was so special connecting with the George School community in DC. The current students are up to some really amazing things and I experienced waves of nostalgia as they recounted their favorite GS moments. It was also wonderful seeing old faces and meeting alumni I hadn’t met before. Thank you for inviting me to dinner!”
Paul ’80 also found himself happily enjoying an evening with the group. “I spent the evening with GS seniors and juniors to hear firsthand stories about their service learning project during Spring Break in Washington, DC. The conversation took on a family meal atmosphere, covering not just volunteering at local food banks but also what I was thinking about many years ago as a senior—the arrival of college acceptance letters and where I was going to attend college. That part of the GS experience won’t change even across generations. At the table I was sitting, I shared my senior year memories, including how I took full advantage of visiting as many colleges as I could get a pass for—and not solely to get out of class—as well as my experience and impressions of a few schools including my alma mater, Pitt.
Hearing about campus life gave me a chuckle, whether we talked about the new buildings on campus (I remember McFeely Library and using Facts on File, the print edition to research reports) to Saturday morning work detail to faculty that taught when I attended. As a GS alumnus, what means a lot to me is knowing that GS continues to grow in terms of the student experience, but at the end of the day some things stay the same—which is a good thing.”
“I was so impressed with how engaged and inquisitive the students were. They were eager to talk about their service experience–both the fun and challenging parts of it, and had plenty of questions for me about my time at George School and my experiences since. It was a great reminder of what a special place George School is and the role it plays in developing students’ intelligence, compassion, and confidence,” shared Ellie ’05.
After lots of conversation and laughter, the dishes were cheerfully cleared and washed—George School style—hearkening back to the co-op program “shift” assignment that everyone had in common.
After completing their work at the DC Food Kitchen later in the coming week, the students and trip leaders will conclude their DC experience with a day of sightseeing before heading back to George School.