It’s a typical Morning Meeting: raucous applause erupts from the crowd as the juniors win a class competition on the stage of Norris Auditorium. “Morning Meeting is an energy-filled crowd, and it feels like a show,” says Carl Li ‘25, Student Senate’s new commissioner of communications and collaboration (CCC), who announces events at the weekly assembly via his “This Is How Carl CCC’s It” videos.
The Class of 2004 created Morning Meeting in 2003 as a way to bring together the entire school community once a week and encourage engagement between younger and older students. Overseen by Student Senate, the senior class president presides over the Thursday morning assembly to celebrate what’s happened that week and drive excitement for upcoming events.
It serves as “a positive moment in the week to lay down the challenges of school and enjoy time together as a community,” says Dean of Students Beth Pattinelli.
“I came to Prep as a 7th grader, and I looked forward to Morning Meeting—where we would have fun, listen to music, find out about upcoming events, and get excited for what’s going to happen on the stage.” Outgoing CCC Daniel Zhao ‘24, who will be commissioner general in the fall, remembers how scared he was to talk to older students when he was in 7th grade. He soon realized that “at Morning Meeting everyone is one community, sharing this one space. It humanizes these older, seemingly out of reach people.”
Now that Carl is on the Morning Meeting stage each week to promote student events, he says, “I see my role as serving as an example of school spirit, elevating other students, and making the school environment more enjoyable. I’ve always been told to treat other people the way I want to be treated. I want somebody in my life to give me spirit and hope. I feel like my role here is to do just that, to encourage students to enjoy school activities.”
“It’s a privilege for students to learn what it’s like to run something like Morning Meeting that needs to be scheduled every week while making sure everything goes smoothly,” says Daniel.
“When I think back to 7th grade, my feeling after Morning Meeting was always joy; I would leave the meeting with a smile,” Carl says nostalgically. “I want that same joy to be extended to the entire Prep community. I want people to leave thinking, ‘Wow, that was a great pause on my Thursday morning.’ I find that it softens the stress of academic life.”
Gabby Varga ‘23, last schoolyear’s commissioner general, agrees, "In our fast-paced lives, this is something that we hold on to and is grounding for us.”
“I think that community feeling is something you can turn to every week,” says Daniel. “Those 30 minutes for Morning Meeting are very relaxing and always entertaining, no matter what.”
Students love that anyone can participate. “I think what’s fun is when you see yourself or your friend on stage, it creates a memory that lasts. It’s more than just a meeting; it’s a very big deal,” remarks Daniel.
“I know people who don’t like public speaking, and they still volunteer to go up during Morning Meeting, because it’s our community,” says Gabby. "It’s not the same as speaking in front of a crowd of strangers of the exact same size. We all know each other, and we are all here for each other.”