The annual Seven Year Dinner was held on Thursday, May 19, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the dining hall, and the class of 2022 seven year seniors spent the special night reflecting on their memories made throughout their time at KO.
This dinner is held annually for all seniors who have attended KO since sixth grade. Seniors are allowed to bring two guests and may request specific faculty members who have had an impact on them over the years to attend the dinner.
This dinner was started many years ago when Middle School modern language teacher and Dean of Students Kathryn Dunn suggested the idea to former Head of School Lee Levison. Since then, Ms. Dunn has been organizing the dinner each year along with help from the advancement office, especially Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Frances Morris and Associate Director of Institutional Advancement and Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Elizabeth Belingrath.
Together, they put together a special night to commemorate these seniors. The dinner was held in the dining hall and included two speeches, given by both a current seven year senior, Amrita Natarajan, and one alumna who was also a seven year senior. This year’s returning speaker was Grace Amell ’17 introduced by seven year senior Emma Levinbook.
Ms. Amell reminded the seniors that KO will always stay with them. “We got to hear what life is like after KO,” senior Caroline Dawson said. “But, no matter what, the lessons we learned and people we met while at Kingswood Oxford will stay with you forever.
Amrita used her speech to reflect on how KO has shaped her over the years, as well as sharing an anecdote on why she chose to come to KO. “I was excited to give this speech because KO has done so much for me and this was my way of saying thanks,” she said.
Caroline enjoyed hearing from one of her fellow classmates. “I thought it was special to have one of our fellow seven year seniors say a farewell and shed some light on their experience at KO while also making it special for all the seven year seniors,” she said.
The night also included a slideshow in Roberts Theater, and each senior received a gift. The seniors enjoyed the slideshow and shared a laugh looking back on old photos. “My favorite part of the dinner was seeing the photo slideshow,” senior Natalia Correa said. “Everyone’s changed so much since the seven years we’ve been here.”
The seniors spent the night reflecting on the impact KO has had on them over the years. “KO has definitely shaped me tremendously over the past seven years, and I feel really grateful to have been able to be a part of this community,” Emma said. “I’ve learned how to be a leader, to embrace all of the opportunities that are afforded to me, and to be a kind, curious, and compassionate person.”
Ms. Dunn highlighted the importance of the dinner for both the students and KO as a whole. “It is a great opportunity for the school to say thank you to the families who have invested seven years in this institution,” Ms. Dunn said. “The seniors have the chance to reflect on what having been here at KO for seven years has meant to them.”
Emma agreed with Ms. Dunn. “It was really nice to come together with all of my peers who I have been with since Upper Prep,” she said. “Just being able to be in the same room together and reminisce on all the memories we’ve shared and experiences we’ve had together was really special.”