2018–19 Convocation Remarks: Student Head of School Ananya Pani ’19 - Concord Academy

On September 4, Student Head of School Ananya Pani ’19 delivered the following Convocation remarks in the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel. Read about the full Convocation program here.

Good morning, everyone. I hope you had an enjoyable summer and found time to relax! Now that vacation is over, I am so excited to welcome you back to CA! I am looking forward to this year and to all the possibilities it has in store for us and hope you share similar sentiments.

As we dive into the new year, it is important that we as a community reflect on what worked for us and what didn’t. For a couple of days, members of Council have been doing just that. Change occurs when we all work together. For this reason, Council meetings are open to everybody, and I strongly encourage you all to attend at least one meeting. Council’s role is to speak on behalf of the CA student body and successfully voice their input and opinions. Change is the only constant, and in order to continue shaping our community, we must observe and speak up. Whether it be by email or in person, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the members on Council. We are here for you all and seek your thoughts and ideas.

There are a lot of things that we have worked hard to create. With safe spaces to freely express one’s opinions and relationships spanning across grades, CA’s student body has worked to establish an inclusive environment. With this constant supply of support from our peers, we are passionate about what we do and what other members of our community do. Let’s continue to maintain this level of excitement and celebrate each other!

When considering what we should revise and how to implement change, it is vital that we keep CA’s mission in mind: Concord Academy engages its students in a community animated by a love of learning, enriched by a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, and guided by a covenant of common trust. The mission serves as a reference for what we stand for. During our time here at CA, it is important that we all take a step back and understand how we each, individually, contribute to and nurture the mission.

What really distinguished CA from any other school when I was a freshman was the “covenant of common trust.” From the high attendance at Inclusion Council to the clean upper Stu-Fac, it was clear that the students practiced it. A handout that Sally provided reads, “Common trust challenges students to balance individual freedom with responsibility and service to a larger community. Such learning prepares students for lives as committed citizens.” CA has a lot to offer, and we must give back. We as students must work hand in hand with each other and with the faculty to carry out our responsibilities. We are privileged to have the spaces we do, and we must take care of them. Clean up after yourself and encourage others to do so in the upper Stu-Fac and in all facilities. Make your voice heard, while also taking the time to utilize the places we have created to listen and learn about others’ experiences.

Going back to what I said earlier, CA has a lot to offer. To reiterate what I said at orientation, I strongly encourage you all (whether a freshman or a senior) to try everything and take advantage of all that CA has. You never know what you might end up enjoying or who you might end up meeting.

There are many things to look forward to within the next few weeks and throughout the year. The CA community is at its best when we all respect one another and work together. Let’s use that in order to continue to make CA a place that we love, cherish, and can call home. Be kind to one another and have fun.

Thank you, and again, welcome back!