Each Friday, members of the Spiritual Life League meet with Chaplain Barksdale for lunch and conversation, and to plan upcoming programs and events for the students on campus. In early January, talk turned to Valentine’s Day traditions and how Barksdale and her mother used to make and deliver cards - and roses from her mother’s garden - to the most vulnerable members of their community. Inspired, students decided to put together their own project for the town of Chatham and Mission: Valentine was born.
“We wanted the Chatham community to feel special this Valentine’s Day during these troubling times,” said Caroline Keating ‘24. “We know some people have not been able to see each other, and to get out very much. We wanted to make Valentine’s cards to deliver to them to make sure they felt loved.”
In the first weekend of the project, more than 100 cards were made by the Chatham Hall community. Students and faculty participated in this engaging event and designed big and small cards, pop-up cards, cards with glitter, some cards even contained homemade friendship bracelets. More cards were created the week before the holiday and approximately 150 cards in total were prepared for delivery.
“I loved everything about this idea. I loved the togetherness it brings. It gets Chatham Hall together as a community and it gives us a chance to be in touch with the Chatham town community,” noted Virginia Grace Jones ’22.
“I’ve missed everything about town. I used to love getting off campus with friends to make new memories and also make new friends. The people in Chatham are important to me.”
For Kellyn Norman ’22, the restrictions required to keep the local community safe have also brought with it bittersweet boundaries.
“I just really miss talking to people in town,” she said. “I used to always talk to the delivery people, and people in town were always very friendly to me when I walked by, or they walked their dogs on campus. I miss that part of our community. It just felt really good to connect with the community.”
On Feb. 14, morning and afternoon groups of Chatham Hall volunteers spread out across town to hand-deliver Valentine’s cards to front doors. While students were unable to present the cards directly to local residents, knowing that they had delivered well wishes was enough. For Norman, knowing who she was working alongside was just as important as who she was serving.
“One thing that made me really happy about Mission Valentine is that it was student-led,” she said. “It’s inspiring. These are just the kind of people we have in our school community, they are thoughtful and I like the reassurance of knowing that there are people who think about these things around me.”
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.