2021–22 Convocation Remarks by Hannah Wixom ’22, Student Head of School

Hello, everyone! I hope you had a refreshing and energizing summer. Seeing new and familiar faces through the past Opening Days has sparked immense joy. I hope you are looking forward to what this year will bring as much as I am.

Before anything else, I want to welcome new students, faculty, and those who are joining us on campus for the first time in a while. Every one of you brings something new to our community, and I can’t wait to see how we grow together this year.

Although I am thrilled to be in the Chapel with you all today, I also learned a lot from being away. When I first heard we wouldn’t return to school in person my sophomore year I was heartbroken. I missed seeing friends in the hallway, opening doors for people even if they were slightly too far away, bus rides to away games, playing trumpet with jazz band in the music rooms, and continuing class discussions with teachers after the bell rang. However, I soon noticed our community finding new ways to stay connected despite being miles apart.

Classmates played games of Among Us on Discord servers, starred in Instagram live videos, and organized lunch Zoom parties. Teachers created engaging activities in a new environment while maintaining enthusiasm for their classes. 

During Council leadership training yesterday, everyone wrote down words or phrases to describe what CA means to them. “Common trust,” “love of learning,” “collaboration,” “kindness,” “safe risk-taking space,” “belonging,” “second home,” and “supportive” were all mentioned. No matter where we are, these words remain the same. CA has taught me that a place isn’t just about the physical structures but the people within it. Thank you to the teachers and faculty for their endless support and guidance through uncertainties. Love of learning is fundamental to CA because of the animated classroom environment that you all create and students willingness to jump in. Thank you all for your passion and dedication towards making CA, CA.

One of the countless reasons I am excited for this year is because we are able to honor traditions. There are many of us who will experience their first chapel hug line and announcements this week. We will also soon experience the first weekend festival, swag break, White Out Dance, and Club Expo. Another main source of anticipation for me this year has been the return of the hot chocolate machine and breakfast for dinner. I highly recommend jumping in to all that CA has to offer.

Part of our mission statement reads, “We challenge and expand our understanding of ourselves and the world through purposeful collaboration and engagement.” It is important that we continue to grow as a community by working together to implement new initiatives and change. Council has been hard at work brainstorming ways to bring us together and improve communication across CA. Our community is filled with amazing people who each have unique perspectives and ideas. We hope you will share them with us at Council meetings. Council is open for a reason, but there are still plenty of other ways to get involved. We encourage you to talk to your class leaders, send us an email, fill out the council feedback form, or check out our weekly “Council Chronicles” to stay updated. Together we can make this year the best it can be.

As we work toward our mission statement to “expand our understanding of ourselves and the world,” we shouldn’t be afraid to look beyond campus and participate in challenging conversations with compassion and empathy. Starting off our centennial year, I hope you take time to engage with the incredible people that surround you. Thank you, and good luck with your first day of classes.

More from Convocation

Read more about Convocation, which kicked off the 2021–22 school year.