Alumnus and Trustee Jim Hamilton ’91 On Gratitude

For nearly 20 years, Roxbury Latin has launched the school’s Thanksgiving break with the annual Thanksgiving Exercises Hall—an opportunity to reflect on our many gifts, as individuals and as a community. “As you will hear from others today, in readings and song,” Headmaster Brennan began, “each of us has a bundle of blessings for which we ought to be grateful. As you’ve heard me say before, the only thing wrong with Thanksgiving as a holiday is that it may suggest that this is the only time to give thanks, or at least the most important. Each day—virtually each hour—offers an occasion for gratitude.”

During Hall students, faculty, and staff sang out—We Gather Together, For the Splendor of Creation, America the Beautiful. Mr. Poles read Psalm 100, and Ms. Demers read Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving. The Hall featured the resonant Litany of Thanksgiving—which includes a boy from each of the six classes—reminding us all of our “blessings manifold.”

Delivering the morning’s Hall address was Roxbury Latin alumnus and trustee Jim Hamilton, Class of 1991, who serves today as Head of School of Berwick Academy, an independent school of nearly 600 students in Pre-K through Grade 12 in Berwick, Maine. Berwick Academy is the oldest school in the state, founded in 1791.

Mr. Hamilton began by citing an excerpt from a talk given by the late Reverend Tony Jarvis, who served as Roxbury Latin’s headmaster for 30 years: “If you want to be happy, you will find happiness not from dwelling on all you do not have in life and feeling bitter about it. You will find happiness by dwelling on all that is good and true and beautiful in your life and being thankful for it.”

He went on to expand upon the ways in which expressing gratitude keeps us humble; makes us stronger; and keeps us hopeful and optimistic.

“As I look around this room today, I am grateful for all of the women and men who work so hard on your behalf each day. They inspire me and I know that they inspire you… I am grateful for your resilience and that you have persevered throughout the pandemic. You are ready for the challenges that lie ahead, and I believe you will appreciate the coming years as we enter post-pandemic life with an improved appreciation for life and the simple pleasures that we have missed the past few years… Finally, I am grateful for you all, the students of today. I am not only grateful for what you bring to our campuses each day, but I am grateful for the leaders you will become.”