Savoring Traditions

Tradition holds tremendous value in the lives of our children. As such, tradition also holds a very important place in the life of our school. Engaging in traditions helps strengthen our community. By offering consistency and security, traditions help to strengthen social bonds, giving children a sense of trustworthiness and reliability. They also teach children strong values by demonstrating what we prioritize as important. Traditions allow children to experience a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. They give children a sense of identity. The more children know about their shared history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more resilient they are at moderating adversity.
One long-standing tradition here at Parker is our beloved Pasta Lunch. For years, our 8th grade class has devoted one Thursday a month to cooking pasta for our school as a fundraiser for their annual class trip, which this year will involve four days of studying revolutionary history in Boston. With the departure of our original Strega Nona, former 8th grade advisor Derek Fox, we were left wondering whether or not this tradition would continue this year. However, we should not have doubted the mythical pull of the pasta for our students:
As one 8th grader passionately expressed, “Pasta lunch has been something that has been happening since I was a child, and I used to love getting pasta delivered to me. I was so excited to finally be on the giving end. I also think that all the little kids should also be able to look at these cool 8th graders and be like, ‘PASTA! YAAAYYYY!’” Another 8th grader thoughtfully added, “There is just something about knowing that, when you were little, you would be able to do this one day…and now it’s time! I think there is something special about the little kids knowing that one day, when they get to 8th grade, they’ll be able to do this too.”
There was no denying both the logic and emotional intelligence supporting our 8th grader’s desire to continue this tradition. So, thanks to the collaborative assistance of our administration, we mobilized efforts, and yesterday we celebrated our first 8th grade pasta lunch of the year! The reviews are in, and it seems that our 8th graders Italian food prowess might rival that of Wolfgang Puck:
“I love pasta lunch because it was awesome last year and I just knew it would be awesome again this year!”
“I love the bread and the sauce…and dipping the bread IN the sauce!”
“The last time I tried pasta lunch I really liked it, so I got it again this year! I usually get peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, so I’m really excited about having something different.”
“I like that you can choose how you want to make your pasta, with how much sauce and how much cheese. And the butter…I really like the butter!”
“I have a checklist in the morning that is really stressful, but since I got pasta lunch I didn’t have to do my checklist! It’s made my day SO MUCH better!”
“I love pasta lunch because it is made by the big kids and everyone is included in the helping.”
The 8th grade even received a note of support from Derek Fox, who wrote to say, “There’s something incredibly satisfying about creating a dish from scratch (well, kinda from scratch;) and seeing everyone enjoy it. Pasta lunches were one of the many Parker traditions that I enjoyed doing with the 8th graders. Beyond the undeniable joy that comes from savoring a delicious fresh meal, made by the professional cooks of the 8th grade class, these pasta lunches have become a cherished tradition that fosters a sense of community. It brings students and staff together in a unique way, creating shared memories and reinforcing the bonds that make our school special. It’s a simple yet powerful way to create lasting connections and memories with each other and the rest of the school! Save me a dish!”