The very first St. Mark's School Thanksgiving was celebrated in Southborough, hosted by the School's founder, Joseph Burnett, as two of the earliest students were his sons and it was not possible for their schoolmates to travel home and return during the brief time allotted to the holiday. So a Thanksgiving spread was served for all at the Burnett manse on Main Street: one school family, together giving thanks.
The next year, and for several years after, Thanksgiving dinner moved to the School's original Main Building (pictured here), on the corner of Main Street and Marlborough Road, across from what is now the Southborough Community House and the Town library. By the mid-1880s, however, students who were able could travel home for the short Thanksgiving break.
By the time the School moved into its new (and still current) Main Building in 1890, Thanksgiving was usually (although not always) celebrated as a holiday vacation, with students either going to their own homes or to the homes of schoolmates, That became a settled practice in the aftermath of the First World War, and for the past century and more St. Markers have enjoyed a late November break from the St. Mark's campus and the routine of school life.
Originally conceived as an intentionally small community, the St. Mark's School of today retains that vision: it is the smallest school in the Independent School League and its campus—continuing to reflect, at least in spirit, the "school-under-one-roof" philosophy of its founder—has the smallest footprint among New England independent boarding schools. But while still "intentionally small," St. Mark's also continues to "think big," with its STEM facility, the opportunities of the Putnam Family Arts Center, many regular athletic successes, its pioneering Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, the Global Citizenship Initiative, and innovative curricular programs like St. Mark's Saturdays and Lion Term all coming together in an inclusive, welcoming community.
This year, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended some Thanksgiving plans and created challenges for all. Still, there is much to be thankful for.
So in 2020, admittedly under unique circumstances, today's St. Mark's family continues a tradition of more than a century-and-a-half: HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours!