Acorns to Oaks has been a tradition the Shipley community has celebrated for decades. Bringing together not only the oldest and youngest students in the school, but also their families and the community as a whole.
The Acorns to Oaks tradition was first created in the 80s as a way of connecting the different divisions in the student body, focusing primarily on the PreK, kindergarten, and first grade students, or acorns, and the seniors, the oaks.
Traditionally in the first All-School Assembly each year, acorns greet the oaks they are paired with and are given customized pencil cases. In the final All-School Assembly, acorns give graduating seniors their diplomas, marking the end of their relationships as acorns and oaks.
Ms. Manix, Assistant Head of School for Community Engagement, described the importance of the event. She explained how the all school assemblies brought the whole community together to commemorate the start of a new school year and celebrate the end of it as well. Ms. Manix also emphasized the significance of the event to the parents of the seniors, especially for those whose children were acorns, as it shows parents how much their children have grown during their time at Shipley.
COVID has had a huge impact on the Acorns to Oaks tradition recently, since everything was virtual for over a year. By the end of the school year in the spring of 2020, COVID forced everyone to learn online, making the final Acorns to Oaks assembly impossible. To try and preserve the tradition as much as possible, the school had kindergarteners make and send diplomas to the seniors, but of course this didn’t have quite the same effect as an in-person assembly.
In the 2020-2021 school year the Community Engagement Committee tried to revive the tradition by holding in-person assemblies for seniors and kindergarteners while the rest of the students watched a live stream. While this allowed the whole community and parents to see the event, it was not as personal for the parents who had to stay at home.
Finally, on Wednesday, October 6, an assembly was held in-person for kindergarteners, seniors, and families. While students in other grades did not attend in person, the assembly allowed parents to return to campus for the first time in over a year, giving many a chance to see their children participate in the Acorns to Oaks tradition.
Ms. Manix spoke about how much the event meant to her, saying “As a colleague and as a mom, it is just such a heartwarming tradition to watch the acorns and the oaks and their families, and to see the joy and emotions that they find in this moment and in this tradition.” Hopefully the Acorns to Oaks tradition has more events throughout the year that both parents and students can be a part of.
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.