How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? By stuffing down generous portions of turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie? Or by flicking open a video feed of Macy's Parade as the marching bands and Broadway actors parade down the New York City streets?

Generally, Concord Academy does not emphasize November’s quintessential American celebration, and there are no major assemblies or festivities. Understandably so, of course: our multicultural community holds a wide variety of attitudes regarding Thanksgiving, even without touching on the charged and often violent historical context surrounding colonial expansion. Diluting such a loaded holiday into a simple celebration would be a disservice to all the victims of European expansionism.

I think Thanksgiving might better serve as time for reflection instead of celebration. I myself find it quite easy to get lost in the everyday hustle and bustle of CA life, and there undoubtedly have been times where I wish I could simply slow down. This community and all its intricate parts change so much over the course of a school year—from athletics teams to classroom communities—and I have been awed to see little tendrils of such change manifest a couple months into the term.

High school catalyzes individual growth in a bizarre, time-lapsed progression. You are considered “young” during your freshman and sophomore years, yet there is a sudden shift during junior year, making you seemingly “old.” This bizarre, wondrous growth—for both myself and the people around me—is something that I rarely notice unless I actively choose to reflect on it. Truly seeing the ways underclassmen step up and seniors prepare themselves to say goodbye in the last few months of spring requires deliberate observation.

The very beautiful outcome of these reflections is tracking where you are in life. The feeling of seeing yourself in relation to time and a changing world is intangibly awe-inspiring. To not just hear or read about personal change, but to see yourself change throughout your time at CA is an incredible feeling. Personally, it also makes this community feel a little more like home: no matter what has happened, CA has changed me in some shape, way, or form. Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any other time of the year, offers me the opportunity to reflect on these changes.