As per St. John’s tradition, before the winter holidays, the Presidents from each campus invite the faculty and staff for a party of cheer; celebrating our triumphs and hard work throughout the first semester.
After working so hard in our individual offices and desks, coming together gives those who work for the college a chance to catch up, hear how everyone is doing, and cheer on the successes of those in other offices. It creates camaraderie and smiles. As a small college, we have a community which works hard toward the single goal of educating students through the distinctive “Great Books Program.” Those who work here believe in the program and how it sets students toward their paths of future careers, educational pursuits, and personal endeavors.
In Santa Fe, President Mark Roosevelt and his wife welcomed staff and faculty into his home with great food, plenty of farolitos (iconic Southwestern holiday lanterns–you’ll see them all around Santa Fe each December!), and great conversation. Topics of discussion ranged from hopes from the new semester to the results of a recent go kart race among many of the tutors to celebrate the end of the semester. In Santa Fe, many international and even some domestic students remain in the dorms over break, so members of the residence life team could also be heard discussing who was staying and plans for some small events.
For the holiday party in Annapolis, President Pano Kanelos invited everyone to his house for delicious food and conversation. So, for those of you who are curious, what types of conversation would you hear among colleagues at St. John’s College during our free time together? While passing through, I heard of the successes of the communications office after helping raise money for our capital campaign during #givingtuesday. I heard a fellow Admissions officer gleefully announce, to everyone’s delight, that our numbers are looking good. I watched, as our president made the rounds rejoicing in his successful trip to Asia and asking everyone what they plan to do for the holidays. I could hear faculty across the room tell the different offices about how the freshman is doing in the classroom. In the dining room, there were low rumblings of content with the food provided by the wonderful dining hall staff, who were also enjoying the much needed time to sit and chat. We were all together joyful and all together proud to work at St. John’s. As I left the party and waved goodbye to Pano and his wife, I felt satisfaction and a sense of purpose. Seeing everyone’s faces, I remembered everyone’s’ shared goals and felt reinvigorated when I finally sat down at my desk again.