UPE News Update

November 19, 2021

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Light In November - A Thanksgiving Moment of Gratitude

Some years ago, right around June 20th and the Summer Solstice, I sat with my elderly father on a dock overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. This was an annual ritual for us. We were very quiet for a long time as we watched the sun slowly set over Meredith Harbor twenty-five miles down the lake. From where the sun touches the hills over Golden Pond and beyond, a shimmering band of sunlight pointed to us on the water’s surface.

“There it goes,” my Dad said, “the longest day of the year.” We reflect on this as the sun disappeared for its shortest sojourn of the year beneath the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Then, as he had always done my entire life, my dad turned to me and said, “There’s a nip in the air!!”

As each day becomes subtly shorter from that point in June until Dec. 20th, my father really notices the encroaching cool air. He loves the summer more than anyone I know. By the time November rolls around, my father is very likely to say, “November is grey. Most of the color comes from football and Thanksgiving.”

I’ve always loved November. I think it has everything to do with the darkness of the evening. Somehow, for me, that darkness is starkly contrasted with the things that fill me with joy. As Thanksgiving approaches, I turn my attention from the ever-shortening hours of daylight to these things: Children, this school, my own three grown children and my wife. The fireplace. The anticipation of everyone coming home.

As the darkness deepens in the evening, I notice how branches carve jagged and delicate lattices in the fading light of the blue sky. I no longer have to clean moths off the windowsill. The yellow leaves on the forest floor have faded to brown. I notice how quiet the forest has become.

Let us feel joy that November is here to remind us of the light in our lives. Let us be thankful that there is a “nip in the air” and that we, parents, children, families, have each other each minute, each turn of the Earth, each circle around the Sun.

…and of course, there is football.

~ Chris Briggs-Hale, Principal

*Photo of Green Mountain Falls taken by Don Vsetecka

Mountain Lion Awareness

It’s the time of the year when our Mountain Lion neighbors begin to get active. Please click the link below to familiarize yourself with best practices when living in the mountains with these big cats: https://cpw.state.co.us/lions

Sharing The Results of our Late Start Wednesdays!

We are so grateful to our community for our Late Start Wednesdays. We put together a quick summary to share some of our successes so far with this critical professional time. Please enjoy!

We are thankful for:

Parents - Ashlee, Amanda, Gina, Becka, and Eve for their donation of a new Keurig and Starbucks Holiday Blend (and all sorts of creamers)! Our team can now say that we will be sufficiently caffeinated for the holidays! We appreciate you!

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Winter Concert Series...Mark your calendar

Dear Ute Pass Elementary Students and Parents/Guardians,

We will be having winter concerts this year but in a slightly different format in an effort to keep the gym from being too crowded. Below is the schedule! Let me know if you have any questions.


Mr. Ferguson

Winter Concerts

Thursday, December 9th - Mr. Groth 6th Grade band - 6:00

Monday, December 13th - 2nd and 3rd - 1:45

Tuesday, December 14th - 5th and 1st - 1:45

Thursday, December 16th - 4th and K - 1:45

Thursday, December 16th - Ms. Jeck 6th Grade Band - 6:00

Thank you from the Library

Thank you so much to the Vankirk Family for their donation of like-new books for our library and art supplies. If you have elementary age books in like-new condition, please consider donating to the UPES library!
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Important Dates


22-25 - Fall Break


1 - Late Start

8 - Late Start

15 - Late Start

20 - January 5 - Winter Break

Late Start Wednesday Schedule for the First Semester:

November 17

December 1

December 8

December 15

January 26

February 2

March 2

March 9

March 16

March 30

April 8

April 13

April 27

May 4

May 11

May 18

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