All-school convocation rings in new school year



Wilder Short ’18 and Julia Cosgrove ’18 receive their Head Prefect robes at the annual all-school convocation. Credit: Pavan Tauh/Chronicle

Tammer Bagdasarian

As the school community came together Monday for the fifth annual all-school convocation ceremony, President Rick Commons introduced Head Prefects Julia Cosgrove ʼ18 and Wilder Short ʼ18, who urged students to appreciate their time at the school and take advantage of all of the opportunities that it presents.

Cosgrove shared several experiences from her time at the Middle and Upper school when she felt unsure of why she was here and working so much harder than her friends at different schools. Cosgrove spent a long time figuring out why she was here and came up with several reasons, she said.

By sharing a story about her mother, Cosgrove advised students to embrace the challenges presented to themselves, rather than looking for an easy way out.

“My mom was on the swim team at Westlake School for Girls, and on her team was 12-time Olympic Gold Medalist Dara Torres,” Cosgrove said. “My mom pushed herself to the limit and swam faster and faster in each swim meet. She never beat Dara, never even came close, but my mom would always say, ‘It’s better to come in second to Dara Torres than to come in first in the kiddie pool.’”

Short gave advice to younger students in the form of a letter to his seventh grade self, in which he drew upon past experiences.

Short, who came to the school in tenth grade, talked about his experience of trying new things, advising students to appreciate what they have and take chances, even when it is hard.

“There are times when you may feel overwhelmed, but remember, everything will be okay,” Short said. “A bad test result doesn’t define you, but the way you bounce back from it does, so when everything seems impossibly wrong, just take a deep breath, and remember, life is good.”

Commons began the ceremony by investing the middle school senators and upper school prefects with their positions. For the first time, new Head of Upper School Laura Ross spoke to the school community about her desire to familiarize herself with the school and the students.

Commons ended the convocation with a message about uniting during hard times, specifically mentioning the issues of racism in Charlottesville.

After the ceremony, students enjoyed Krispy Kreme Donuts before middle school students returned to their campus and upper school classes resumed.