Hi everyone, I hope that you all found the time to relax during the summer that you all so truly deserved. I hope you found silver linings and positive moments in an otherwise unconventional year. It was so refreshing to see so many of your faces in the programming over the last few weeks. 

Before anything else, I want to welcome our new students and faculty to Concord Academy, and I want to emphasize that, whether you may feel it or not, you are officially a part of our CA community and we are so excited to have you all. 

Council has been hard at work over the last few months thinking innovatively and creatively about how to keep CA “CA” in a virtual format. I have worked on and seen a lot of creative projects members of Council have been working on, and I am very impressed and very excited. The members of Council are diverse in our backgrounds and interests, and we are approachable and looking for feedback and new ideas, especially during CA-rona. (Ha get it?!) Council will still be meeting weekly, the day and time are still to be determined, but I want to remind you all that Council is open to everybody. You do not need to be in a leadership position to express your ideas or concerns. If you are unable to attend Council, Eric Liu ’21 and I will be holding Council drop-ins during some lunches to hear all of your thoughts. It is Council’s job to speak on behalf of the student body, therefore online google forms will also be sent out periodically, where you can submit your suggestions and questions if you wouldn’t like to do so face to face. Know that we are always willing to listen to you, and no matter what, we will always have your back. While a lot of the work we are focusing on is related to the current circumstance, we have not forgotten the promises we made when running for our positions back in May. Eric and I will continue to work on revising the DC policy which states that any and all leadership positions would be lost upon a DC. In addition, we are still working hard on encouraging transparency between the administration and the students.

I have spent the last few weeks working alongside Nancy Onyimah ’21 and Sofia Silva ’21 on the Safe Return to Concord Academy Committee. The committee is composed of board members, faculty, students, and parents who are working diligently coming up with innovative solutions to get students back on campus as soon as it is safe to. I want all of your voices to be heard on this committee, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me to give your input, because your voice matters. 

CA is a place where trying new things is admired and taking risks is encouraged. We have so many resources at our disposal. A plethora of clubs and activities to take part in and countless discussion opportunities for you to open your mind and learn from others’ perspectives. I was really nervous to start boarding at CA. Aside from being the only student from Florida, I felt that I was already years behind everybody else who had the time to create friendships and make memories. I was really reluctant to reach out and fully immerse myself in the boarding community. My first few months were pretty tough, I felt that everybody was smarter, stronger, more confident, and talented, and overall just better than me. I was really insecure and felt like I didn’t belong. But after attending a few house competitions, opening up to my peers, and going on weekend trips, the students who surrounded me suddenly became friends, who then became my family. The people at CA are unlike any other; they are all truly remarkable. 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. Whether you’re a rising freshman or senior, I can tell you that it is never too late to form new relationships and create amazing memories, you just have got to put yourself out there. 

I know that we were all disappointed to learn that the start of our school year would be through a computer. I have spent the last few weeks of summer trying to digest the fact that I can’t make a Cumbies run at 9:20, or that I can’t make intense eye contact with Jeff as I am sprinting into the Chapel as he’s shutting the doors, or that I can’t give my friends a really tight hug. But one thing I have learned is that even though we cannot all see each other in person, we all still belong to the CA community. All of the amazing faculty and students are still here for us, and we still have so many great resources, but we just need to have the right attitude. It is so much easier to complain about how much it sucks not being able to go back to school and make yourself miserable, but I think that as CA students we are capable of so much more. We have the ability and opportunity to make the most of what we have right now. There is no doubt in my mind that we can overcome this stronger than ever. I have already seen a majority of my grade come together like never before in the beginning of August. 

I can make a promise to you all that I will work as hard as I can to make sure that we can still have an enjoyable and equitable CA experience, in whatever capacity it may be. But I am also asking you all to do something for me. Having chosen to be a part of this community, I invite everyone to stand in support of CA’s values: common trust, equity, and mutual respect. I am asking you to trust the adults in our community, who are so committed to our education, safety, and well-being. We as CA students need to keep our heads held high and understand that this too shall pass.

And finally, this country is more divided than ever before. In the last few months, we have seen incredible acts of hate and brutality by the people employed to protect us, as well as tragedy and destruction throughout our country. I know this isn’t the first time that events like this have impacted us, and unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be the last. The upcoming presidential election will determine the future of this nation. If you can, please vote. Your vote matters, and your vote counts. But now, more than ever, it’s important for us to build bridges and relationships. Change happens when people work together and trust in each other. We are a community that can lift one another up, make new friends, and reach out to others who may be feeling alone. Let’s channel our anger, sadness, discomfort, and frustration into activism and productive ways we can better our community and the communities around us. When we are in doubt, let’s not forget the core values of our school, for they remind us to be kind to one another and keep our perspectives open. 

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 be back again. Thank you again and welcome back.


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