The Ubiquity of Gratitude at Wellington

The Ubiquity of Gratitude at Wellington

Gratitude is ubiquitous at Wellington. It can literally be found around the building. When guests enter through the event entrance, they encounter colorfully decorated gratitude rocks lining the path. Amanda Roberts P ’15 ’30 ’32, a painter for Columbus Ohio Rocks, a branch of the Kindness Rocks Project, created a gratitude project for Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week. As parent connector for the Class of 2030, Roberts reached out to fellow parent connectors to organize painting sessions. They brought together families at special painting events held at Wellington and in Columbus parks, allowing community members to play and connect in a safe way.

Gratitude allows us to live joyfully in the moment. In positive psychology, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, stronger relationships, and resilience. Practicing gratitude helps build cooperative, empathetic relationships that fuel our growth, connectedness, and hopefulness. During this Thanksgiving season, Jags cultivated a grateful mindset and expressed gratitude to one another.

Early Childhood–Gratitude Rocks

At November’s Care and Share, early childhood’s monthly opportunity to visit, celebrate, and learn together as a division, each class took turns gifting gratitude rocks.

  • Tori Hossenlopp’s class enthusiastically delivered stones to their previous teachers. They also decorated a stone for the dining crew adorned with students’ favorite food.
  • Jennifer Landon’s class thanked Cynthia Hahn, lower school administrative assistant, with a beautifully designed poster and stone.
  • Students in Courtney Cokes-McKinley’s class thanked Jeff Terwin, head of school, and Christine Conkle, executive assistant to the head of school. Their motif incorporated a heart representing love, a smiley face to depict happiness, and a rainbow for beauty.
  • Pete Kaser’s P ’27 ’29 students created stones for facilities who make sure our building is a safe place.
  • Little faces have been peering at all the construction workers on campus as they build Wellington’s new wing. Charity Rose’s students produced a gratitude rock to thank construction workers for their effort and energy in constructing a new space for our community.
  • Rebecca Shrader’s students expressed gratitude for the bus drivers who ensure students arrive safely and on time.
  • Kathy Yant’s students thanked our cleaning staff, who help clean up accidental spills of drinks and glitter.
  • “Mrs. Goldfarb helps us feel better and not get sick,” recited Ellen Rhomberg’s students as they showed off their rock.

Kindergarten–Sergeant Watts’ Visit

Sergeant Scott Watts, Allison Frullo’s fiancé, visited Tori Hossnelopp and Courtney Cokes-McKinley’s classes for Veterans Day. Students presented Sergeant Watts with cards and verbal praise, thanking him for nine years of service in the Army.

“It is so important that our young learners understand what it truly means to have gratitude. It is crucial to create experiences that provoke these young minds to express thanks for the sacrifices and hard work of others,” said Hossenlopp. “Our young students displayed their gratitude and understood that it is important to acknowledge someone when they have done something to help us.”

Sergeant Watts greatly enjoyed his visit and appreciated the students’ gratitude. "It's always fun to see the kid's reactions when I tell them about all the different jobs the military has to offer,” Watts said. “And explain that there is so much more than just taking care of the 'bad guys.'"

Kindergarteners excellently represented the Wellington community’s gratitude for service members, including Sergeant Watts.

Lower School–The Power of a Smile

For Teacher Appreciation Week, Lena Well ’30 painted a vibrant red rock with a happy smiley face for Maria Cellino P ’27, lower school math extension teacher. Cellino has taught Well since 1st grade. The two have bonded not only through math lessons but also through a choreographed car line dance routine.

Cellino’s bright and cheerful smile and willingness to help has made an impact on Well. “I made the rock for her because she’s always happy and nice,” Well said. “And when you need help with something, she’s always there.”

When asked to describe what it meant to receive Well’s thoughtful gift, Cellino was clearly touched. “It was very exciting,” she said. “It always reminds me of her and it makes me smile.”

 Middle School–Field Trip to Stratford Ecological Center

5th-grade students visited Stratford Ecological Center, a 236-acre educational organic farm and nature preserve in Delaware County. Students were able to learn about farm animals, hike in the woods, and tour a barn. The farm emphasizes sustainability, with almost all of their electricity supplied by solar panels. They also utilize geothermal heating, composting, and well water to meet their needs.

Berc Backhurst found students were grateful for the opportunity to go on a field trip, which wasn’t possible last year. They were also happy for a chance to reconnect with nature. “I am grateful for the time with nature. I was happy to just sit down and connect with the Earth,” said Emily Ricci ’29. “You never realize how amazing the world is until you stop to look at the Earth’s spectacular beauty. So when you have spare time, take a look around you, and just breathe in and out. Take in the world’s beauty and wonderful presence.”

Ricci reminds us all to appreciate and be grateful for Ohio’s natural beauty and green spaces.

Middle School–Gratitude in Multiple Languages

At the middle school’s November 22 morning meeting, students from the 8th-grade world language classes shared thoughts of gratitude in Spanish, Latin, and French.

Hannah Guffrey ’26 shared words of gratitude in French: “Je suis reconnaissante d’habiter aux Etats-Unis parce que j’ai une bonne vie avec beaucoup de possibilités,” said Guffrey. “Je suis reconnaissante pour ma famille parce que j’ai une bonne famille que j’aime avec beaucoup de chiennes aussi!” [I am thankful to live in the United States because I have a good life with a lot of possibilities. I am thankful for my family because I have a good family that I love with a lot of dogs too!]

Joey Lillis ’26 expressed gratitude for his family in Latin: “Ego sum gratus familiis quod currant et amant me.” [I am thankful for my family because they care for and love me.]

Zoey Scott ’26 was grateful for many things this year, which she shared in Spanish: “​​Estoy agradecida por mi familia, la amistad, mi casa y mis oportunidades.” [I am thankful for my family, friendship, my house, and my opportunities.]

Upper School–Thanking Cassie Monak

During November 12’s upper school morning meeting, 10th-grade students Gigi Manley ’24 and Rowyn Hubbard ’24 thanked upper school administrative assistant Cassie Monak as part of Female Fridays. Celebrated each week, Female Fridays highlight the work and contributions of women in Wellington’s community. Award winners include staff and faculty, students, and coaches with a variety of achievements in the arts, performing arts, athletics, and more.

Manley and Hubbard thanked Monak for “withering everything.” Upper school students appreciate Monak’s selflessness, smiling face, and generosity. She is known to all upper school students as the woman who has everything – from a phone charger to a piece of gum. Always there for people, she is “a great face to see in the morning or any time of day,” said Manley. 

Monak was taken by complete surprise. “I truly appreciate the award,” said Monak. “I love interacting with students and am happy to be their go-to person.”


Amanda Roberts perfectly conveyed the importance of gratitude for our community, “Being thankful for what we already have forces us to focus on the positive while working towards everything we want and all we want to become.” Jags have consistently demonstrated tremendous effort in working to become the kind, grateful people they want to be.