Behind the Scenes: All-School Assemblies

A behind-the-scenes look at how Mitty’s All-School Assemblies are put together


Nora Lal and Haeum Lee

When the green tables are missing from the Schott Commons, students and faculty alike know what is coming next; once a month, the Schott Commons is transformed into an amphitheater of sorts to host one of the most common, yet overlooked Mitty events: the All-School Assembly. Much planning, hard work, and consideration go into All-School Assemblies as they carry messages that impact and unite the Mitty community.

[the teacher reflections] give students a sense of what this community is about and who these teachers are that they might have never met in class.

— Mr. Bill Kroenung, Assembly Coordinator

As students and faculty know, the All-School Assembly consists of a gospel reading, a reflection speech by a faculty member, and a recognition of the Mitty students’ achievements that took place that month. Each assembly is based on the liturgical theme chosen for the school year, with the theme for this year being “Home.” According to assembly coordinator Mr. Bill Kroenung, the teacher reflections “give students a sense of what this community is about and who these teachers are that they might have never met in class.” The goal is to extend the school community beyond academic classes and develop relationships between members of the community.

Preparation for all-school assemblies begins in the spring, where faculty members are asked if they would like to give a reflection speech for the following year. Mr. Kroenung explains, “We prepare in advance because it is a big ask, and a lot of teachers say no because they have a lot going on. It’s really challenging since they want to do the reflection really well.” Once the teachers and faculty members agree to deliver a speech, they start developing their thoughts around the liturgical theme of the year and the gospel reading for that month. 

Current events also play a significant role in the speeches. Mr. Kroenung shared the story of Mr. Mick VanValkenburg’s speech in 2008, which was one of the most memorable reflections to him. Delivering a speech the day after the 2008 presidential election, Mr. VanValkenburg started his speech by saying, “Last night, Barack Obama was elected president.” Occasionally, the teacher’s reflection speeches connect to current events such as the presidential election, making the speeches memorable to the listeners; however, the most important aspect of their speeches is the story. As Mr. Kroenung explained, “. . . Teachers tell their story, even the difficult parts, so that the students know they are not alone.”

Mr. Brian Yocke gives a reflection during the November All-School Assembly.

Going more in-depth about the preparation of the teacher reflection, the pressure of a public speech can often burden the faculty members. Mr. Brian Yocke, the Physical Development Department Chair who gave the reflection speech in November, shared his initial hesitation: “I got initially asked last year in May . . . At the time, I wasn’t so sure about it and told Mr. Kroenung that I will get back to him.” 

After the period of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all-school assemblies, especially the teacher reflection, are especially important in creating support for faculty and students by letting them know that they are not alone within this community.