Community gathers for annual Convocation


Printed with permission of Shauna Altieri

RADIANT IN ROBES: Head Prefects Yoshimi Kimura amd Simon Lee and Senior Prefects Aiko Offner, Harry Tarses, Rowan Jen and Jessica Thompson stand before the community after being robed by their faculty sponsors.

Hannah Shahidi and Zoe Goor

Students and faculty gathered on Ted Slavin Field for the tenth annual convocation to officially welcome in the new school year August 24.

Associate Head of School Laura Ross opened the event by advising students to live in the present and encouraging them to make mistakes.

“I want to emphasize that bringing your best selves every day doesn’t mean that somehow you should be striving for perfection,” Ross said. “On the contrary, there’s no growth without mistakes, missteps, misunderstandings, and plain old failure.”

After Ross spoke, Head of School Rick Commons administered the swearing in ceremony where upper school Prefects took an oath to uphold the principles of the school. Following the oath, Head Prefects Simon Lee and Yoshimi Kimura read the Honor Code aloud, and senior prefects were then robed by their chosen faculty.

After the robing ceremony, Lee spoke about his hope that students will support others in the school community.

“Today is about community, but now that we’ve been called together, what should our community aspire to be?” Lee said. “For a community to truly leave a lasting impact on its members, it requires that all of us help each other grow while remaining open to growth and change ourselves. People can truly be the best thing that happens to all of us, but only if we make the choice to love them, to support them [and] to be there with them.”

Lee was followed by Kimura, who encouraged students to explore their own identities instead of trying to become someone else.

“I didn’t know who I was when I got [to the school] and I thought the solution to that was finding someone to be,” Kimura said. “But when your only goal in life is to become something, you start to lose sight of everything you are. And when I gave up on that goal, when I finally realized that no amount of risk-taking or friend-making would ever be able to tell me who I was, I felt a little less scared to figure it out on my own.”

Commons ended the ceremony by speaking about the celebration of former Performing Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research Teacher Ted Walch and his tenure at the school, which took place August 21 in Taper Gymnasium.

Commons said that Walch’s ability to see and believe in his students was a hallmark aspect of his impactful teaching career.

Katie Chambers ’25 said she enjoyed having the entire school united in one place.

“I thought this convocation was a great way to start off the school year,” Chambers said. “I enjoyed hearing from the prefects and I feel like it’s a good way for the entire school to connect. Being on two different campuses, I feel like there aren’t a lot of times when that happens.”