Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome back to Stoneleigh-Burnham! I saw some of you last night at the Reception and thank the Alumnae Board for hosting such a good time. I also enjoyed dinner with the mighty class of 1967 last night. For those of you who are just arriving, we have a lot in store for you and look forward to catching up.
When you combine sound with goals, happiness, possibilities, you’ve got the perfect storm. - June Millington, from her TEDxShelburneFalls talk, “Rocking the Boat:How Playing Like a Girl Can Change the World.”
A guitar strums a four-chord progression. A bass joins in. A rat-a-tat-a-tat on the drums kicking off a solid backbeat. The first lyric, “With your feet in the air and your head on the ground. Try this trick and spin it, yeah.” (Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies) resonates through the gym. Last night’s benefit concert for Girls Rising was off to a great start.
Inspired by our Convocation ceremony on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016
“Where do our individual templates and belief systems come from?” Shayna Appel ‘78 asked, pausing a moment during her invocation. In telling a personal anecdote of when she needed to grow further into her own best self, and did, she was inviting us both implicitly and explicitly to consider the question. As Head of School Sally Mixsell ‘69 would later say, all you know is what you see when you first meet a person - what is most important is unseen and undiscovered. And we have, as Shayna pointed out, the freedom to choose different judgments and opinions, to bring a more critical awareness of ourselves and our certainties. Student Council President Molly Li ‘17, in her discussion of what the Honor Code means to her, told us that when she first came here as an eighth grader, she had feared she would be judged here by her looks and by her English. However, she said, everyone was always kind and respectful to her. And Miles DeClue ‘18, in her own take on the ritual reading (and eventual signing) of the Honor Code, noted that it comes down to personal responsibility.
Our mission calls us to honor student voice, and it’s a theme woven into the fabric of our school. Voice itself can take many forms. There’s voice as in simply expressing yourself well, whether you are off to the international debate and public speaking championships or making a short presentation in class. There’s voice as in making proposals or putting ideas out there for discussion. There’s voice as in speaking up for what is right. There’s voice as in simply being your authentic self. Among many others.
Within moments, they had dispersed, some to seek out construction paper to make paper chains, some to the school store to get red duct tape and other supplies, some to their rooms to get other decorations, and one group… to the cubby room to finish the last shots and editing on their film. The Humanities 7 class had decided to have a special premiere celebration when they shared their original movies with each other and, after quickly convincing me to bring popcorn, cookies, and soda (which I had been planning to do anyway!), had decided to decorate the room specially and to have red carpet moments.