How does Loomis choose the All-School Theme?

Lily Potter '21, Staff Writer

Each year, Loomis Chaffee must decide on its all-school theme, the profound topic that will serve as the inspirational focus of its mission throughout the next year and will be featured in all-school convocations and the all-school read. Or rather, the most vague yet progressive sounding abstract noun they can find. But how does the school find this perfect theme?

First, compile a list of abstract nouns. The vaults of abstract nouns — Writing Workshop notebooks — are more accessible to be harvested from this year than ever before. Simply enter an underclassmen dorm and search all the sophomores’ rooms until you have found the treasured notebooks.

Once you have obtained all the notebooks hidden throughout the underclassmen quad, it is time to start compiling a list by looking through every page. The abstract nouns that are the most common move onto the next round. They have passed the first criterion: being widespread enough that they can be easily applied to most topics.

After passing the initial hurdle, they must pass the second crucial step of selecting the perfect theme: being “woke.” As a school that seeks to “inspire a commitment to the best self and the common good,” it would be a tragedy if the all-school theme did not confirm our selflessness and inclusivity.

If the abstract noun has been mentioned in any recent activist hashtags or any popular Instagram story posts combating pressing social issues, it can continue to the next round. It is common. It is hip. It is popular with the youth. It is “woke.”

Now, for the final test: being vague enough to apply to any topic. Within recent memory, there have been a couple all-school themes that adhere perfectly to the vague-yet-woke criteria, but quite a few have failed as they were too specific. There was no room for error anymore. The solution: pick anything in the surrounding room and see if it can be applied to the theme.

I’ll demonstrate using this year’s theme: belonging. Let me take a look around in my kitchen and see what household items will relate to belonging and connect to a broader progressive theme. This fruit bowl? There are many types of fruit but they all belong in the same bowl, coexisting. Inclusivity. This bamboo plant? It has been removed by humans from its natural environment which it belongs in. Environmentalism. This oatmeal? It’s from an employee-owned company where profits belong to every worker instead of just the bourgeoisie. Workers’ rights.

If we can apply the concept of belonging to random kitchen items and sound “woke,” we can certainly apply it to convocations, and there’s probably a book about it too. Perfect! What other themes can fit these criteria?