Hundreds of students and staff, families and friends, supporters and well-wishers gathered at the Manchester campus late in the school day on Thursday, September 26th, to celebrate ECDS’s 25th birthday, as the School’s Anniversary Year draws to a close. The gathering included poetry written by last year’s fifth graders and a dance performance by last year’s Dance Express team, and a rousing rendition of “We Are the World” performed by RockBandz staff and students. Middle School students led a procession, moving flags and the entire assemblage to positions along the central Promenade for the much anticipated dove release ceremony. Mrs. Porterfield-LaBerge reminded the assembled student body of the pebble in a pond work of the past week and the thought students had given to document the choices they would make in their own lives, now and in the future, along with their personal prayers for the world. She’d selected a student prayer to represent the prayers of each grade and proceeded to call each grade’s representative up, to have the honor of releasing a dove as she read that student’s prayer. Onlookers cheered and marveled as each successive bird joined the other members of its flock circling to the north, as they were forced by the wind to move student prayers out into the world. Following the ceremonial portion of the celebration, everyone enjoyed birthday cake, sparkling apple cider and fellowship.