2021–22 Convocation Remarks by Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65, President of the Board of Trustees
Good morning and welcome, new students and returning students, faculty and staff, and everyone who is here in the Chapel today at the opening of our 100th year of Concord Academy. Today’s Convocation is especially meaningful because we are launching the school year where our beloved school will celebrate its 100th birthday next April, a birthday so important that we will take a whole year to celebrate. I am Fay Shutzer and I am the president of the Board of Trustees, and I bring you a heartfelt welcome from the entire Board, some of whom are with us today. I am also an alumna from the class of 1965, which means, like all of you, I was a student here, even though it was quite a long time ago … though in case you are trying to figure it out, I was not here 100 years ago when the school was founded.
It is hard to believe that we are finally gathered all together in person. Ninth and 10th grades, this is the first time you have come to Convocation in the Chapel. Even if we are not completely free of masks and concerns about COVID quite yet, we have come a long way just by being together here in this space. This year we welcome 107 new students, 100 of you in our 9th grade class. So today is the first day at CA for many of you, and the first Convocation in person for half of you, but you will gather many times in this Chapel over the course of this year. You will have lots of opportunities to look around in here, just as I did when I was a student in the 1960s. The wooden benches are the same, as are the tall windows, the beautiful carvings before us that CA students have carved long ago, and the bell that tolls and summons you to class and has echoed year after year. There is continuity, even as the school year is new.
“This is a community where everyone is here for you.”
— Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65
Since it is the beginning of school, I have a story to tell you about my first day of school long ago. It was before Concord Academy was part of my life, and long before I ever imagined going to boarding school. I was 9 years old and about to start a new school. I arrived late (which I don’t recommend) and classes had already started. Not the best way to begin. I had to register and was given an index card with my name. The card also had a small sticker on it: a shiny, metallic blue star. I was instructed to find the teacher with the matching sticker in the assembly hall upstairs. All the classes were meeting there, much like we are gathered here today in the Chapel. When I walked in the door, there was someone speaking at a microphone in the front of the room, and all I could see was the backs of the students and teachers. I had no idea how to find my class, much less a teacher with a blue star. I guess I should tell you that at age 9 I was shy, and did not want to draw attention to myself. And, I was probably trying not to cry. While I stood there and hesitated for what seemed like a very long time, a large man walked over and asked where I was going. In a small voice, I stammered that I was trying to find the teacher with the blue star. He must have smiled as he pointed to his name tag, and in that room full of people, I looked up and there was a sparkling blue star. I was found.
Now, you might be wondering why I am telling you this story. You are certainly not 9 years old and most of you probably have an idea where to find your class today. The adults in this community do not have shiny star stickers on their name tags, although if they did, they would definitely be green ones. But green stickers or not, this is a community where everyone is here for you. As you look around, you will find people who are ready to guide you, help you, and are eager to get to know you. So look for the “invisible” green stars: the smiles. They may be a little harder to spot, especially if we have to wear masks, but they are there. And to the seniors, as the only class who has had a full year of CA in person, and as leaders of the school, I am bestowing imaginary, but definitely sparkly, green stars on you right now. Lead the way as only you can!
So if you are a new student, welcome to Concord Academy, and welcome back if you are returning. Let’s make this a great year, and know that you have found the right place and you belong, right here.