On Thursday, May 18, 19 seniors who have attended KO since Upper Prep gathered with family and faculty for the annual Seven Year Dinner. The dinner is organized by Middle School French teacher and Associate Head of the Middle School Kathryn Dunn, who works in concert with the advancement office to plan the night.
The dinner itself was a brainchild of Ms. Dunn. “I was talking with Ms. McKee, and at her previous school, they had a dinner for people who had gone from the beginning of the school the whole way through and it was a big deal and it was really special to everybody,” she explained.
Ms. Dunn really liked the idea of a celebration of students and families who had been at KO for the entirety of their secondary school experience, so she mentioned the idea to the Head of School at the time, Lee Levison, who put her in charge of organizing it— and she has been doing it ever since.
Each student is allowed two guests and is encouraged to invite faculty members who have played an especially meaningful role in their development at KO. Adorned with side-by-side photos of each student in sixth grade and as a senior, each family sat at a table with one or two other families and a few faculty members.
After a dinner catered by Sage Dining Services, the students heard from two speakers— current seven year senior Eve Repp along with alum and former seven-year senior Gwenyth McDonald ’16.
Eve spoke about the high and low moments of her time at KO, and how they have helped her grow as a person. Seven year senior Lucia Martinez-Castro appreciated the ways in which Eve’s speech allowed her to reflect on her time in middle and high school. “Eve’s speech was amazing,” she said. “It allowed me to revisit the ups and downs of the past seven years while letting us remember how fortunate we are to have known eachother and get the opportunity to learn at KO.”
Gwenyth, on the other hand, talked about the ways in which KO both shaped her and primed her for her later endeavors, and she offered advice to the seniors. Seven year senior Jordan DiMauro appreciated this part of the night. “It was nice to hear from a seven year alum,” she said. “I thought she had some great advice about seeking out new challenges.”
After the two speeches the seniors posed for a photo in front of Alumni Hall before moving to Roberts Theater to watch a slideshow of photos from the past seven years, put together by Ms. Dunn. “It’s a really important investment that families and students make in a place and it’s fun to reflect on where you have been,” she explained.
Jordan enjoyed watching the slideshow. “It was a really special way to celebrate being at KO since middle school and it was a sentimental moment to see how much we’ve all grown up,” she said.
Ms. Dunn emphasized the importance of the night as a whole. “It’s one of those primary events of your transition from being a student at this school to being an alumni of this school, the next step of your relationship with this institution,” she said.
Best of luck to the seniors as they begin this transition!