Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had the relaxing and fulfilling summer that you deserve. I am honored to welcome you back into CA and hope you’re as excited as I am for what’s in store for us this year.
Before anything else, I’d like to once again welcome our new students and faculty. We have been anticipating your arrival and we’re so happy to finally have you here. Figuring out where your classes are and whether you have early or late lunch can all be pretty overwhelming so don’t hesitate to reach out for help — we’ve all been in your position.
Council has been hard at work over the last few days brainstorming new initiatives and events for the coming year but also reflecting on how our last academic year went. We had great successes such as having amazing assembly speakers like Claudia Rankine, and starting brand new pop-up discussions. In new and exciting news, mins and maxes for DCs have already been posted in the upper Stu-Fac for anyone who is curious to take a look. And in the coming weeks we will transition from paper blue, white, and pink slips to an online system! Which is a long time coming.
Regardless of these early accomplishments, there are things that we need to continue working on throughout the coming year. As most of you would have noticed, we have a newly designed and renovated upper Stu-Fac. This space is a privilege we’re lucky to have so it’s vital for us to keep it clean and pick up after ourselves and others. In addition, many events from last year sparked conversations between students about their anger or disappointment in regards to how situations were handled. We’re a very smart and capable student body, so I’d like to once again iterate that Council meetings are open to everyone, and I strongly encourage you to attend them when you have the time. It is Council’s job to speak on behalf of the student body, therefore online google forms will be sent out periodically where you can submit your suggestions and questions if you wouldn’t like to do so in person. We want to hear what you have to say one way or another.
When considering what changes to implement, we must always reflect back on our mission. For those of you who don’t know, it has recently been revised, and now it reads: “We are a community animated by love of learning, diverse and striving for equity, with common trust as our foundation. Honoring each individual, we challenge and expand our understanding of ourselves and the world through purposeful collaboration and creative engagement. We cultivate empathy, integrity, and responsibility to build a more just and sustainable future.”
What differentiates CA from any school I’ve been a part of is the common trust we immerse in everyday. It’s clear that everyone here has respect for each other and appreciation for the opportunities we’ve been given. CA offers us so much and by “striving for equity” and “challenging our understanding of the world” every day we can give a little bit back. Whenever we’re in doubt, we should always turn to our foundational principles and be reminded of the value in listening to others and being open-minded. Common trust started as an idea, but we are the ones who brought it to life and continue to do so every day. We have seen the benefits of working towards it as a community and by continuing to do so we only have a positive trajectory. By respecting each others boundaries, privacy, and needs, while also being inclusive and motivating, we work towards bettering our school.
CA is a place where trying new things is admired. When we have the incredible classes and clubs that we do, pigeonholing ourselves would be a shame. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, take a chance this year; try something new. As a sophomore I was devastated to not be able to take the fashion design course that I had been looking forward to all summer. Because of this, I decided to take the Intro to Film course instead. I went into the class not having any expectations but came out of it having a newfound love for this craft, so much so that I decided to dedicate myself to a yearlong film major. We shot in the day, we shot at night, we shot during 70 degree weather and during 20 degree weather. I came out the other side with a main role in CA’s feature length film last year and excitement to learn more about and immerse myself in film. I’ve always been a believer that some of our best memories come from decisions made on a whim, and my experiences at CA have only affirmed this belief of mine.
But things won’t always go your way, and when they don’t it is important to remember that you are not alone. You have a community to lean back on that is always ready to support you. I said this the other day at Orientation, but I think it’s worth sharing with everyone here: We should never hesitate to get help when we need it. We’re a community of incredibly talented and driven people; we should never feel “less than” for seeking support. It’s one of Matthew’s and my biggest goals this year to make help more accessible and comfortable, and to provide us with new resources to get it while advancing the ones we’re lucky enough to already have. So even if you don’t feel ready to seek out help and support just yet, we hope you will in the coming months.
There is so much to look forward to this year and even within the next few weeks. I hope that we can work together in continuing to make CA a place that everyone can call home. I feel as excited today, entering my last year at CA, as I did two years ago, as a wide-eyed new sophomore. I’ve missed our community, and am so happy to once again be back in the presence of all of you. Thank you again, and welcome back.
More School News
As I write to you today, our world is still grappling with the great challenges that COVID-19 has created. Indeed, the situation in many places has unfortunately grown considerably worse since my last letter. I offer my sincere condolences to those of you who have suffered illness or lost loved ones to this pandemic. This disease has caused extraordinary pain, stress, and dismay on so many levels. We must all find ways to focus on hope and the prospects of the recovery that will come, and the opportunities that any crisis presents to assert our powers of caring and goodness. We hope you are leaning on and helping those around you.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic prevented Concord Academy alumnae/i from returning to campus, it did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm for reconnecting with classmates, faculty and staff, and fellow CA graduates as part of the school’s first Virtual Reunion. More than 225 alumnae/i joined via videoconference as CA hosted three special reunion programs, the annual Alumnae/i Association Assembly, and 13 virtual class gatherings for reunion classes over four days in early June.
Commencement 2020: Virtual Ceremony Recognizes Real Achievement, and Speaker Ambassador Samantha Power Offers a Simple Suggestion for Individual Action
In Concord Academy’s 98th year, Commencement didn’t exactly resemble the annual ceremony we’re accustomed to. The Covid-19 pandemic may have kept the 98 honorees from physically attending the ceremony, but their presence was felt. A mixture of prerecorded video and live remarks and student recognition for diplomas allowed CA to preserve many of the hallmarks that distinguish the school’s graduation ceremony. And Ambassador Samantha Power, by livestream, offered words of wisdom for the class of 2020.