Back to School: Highlights from Convocation 2015

With the annual Convocation ceremony on Wednesday, August 26, Hathaway Brown’s Upper School launched the 2015-16 school year – HB’s 140th – with all the pomp and circumstance befitting such an occasion.

Led by the strains of bagpipe music, 9th- through 12th-graders marched together behind bright Legacy Day flags of their corresponding class colors through a sea of cheering parents and faculty and staff members who welcomed them back to the corner of Courtland and North Park boulevards for another year of learning and growth. The entire scene will be repeated in reverse when the Class of 2016 travels through a gauntlet of well-wishers who will clap them out into the world at the close of their Commencement ceremony next spring. Head of School Bill Christ also will be “graduating” from HB when this school year comes to an end, as he will retire in June after 29 years of service. 

ABOVE: Watch video of the 2015 Hathaway Brown Convocation Ceremony

The Convocation procession ended at The Ahuja Auditorium, where the Upper School student and faculty body gathered for the first Morning Meeting of the year. Mr. Christ used the time to unveil the theme that will guide the school’s work in 2015-2016: Lighting The Way, Leaving Your Legacy. This theme, he remarked, was preordained by the five audacious and inspirational young women who marched up the steps of the all-boys Brooks Military Academy in 1875 and made the case for high-quality education for girls. One-hundred-forty years later, their passion project has become Hathaway Brown School. “When you ‘light the way’ as these five girls did,” said Mr. Christ, “you illuminate a path not only for yourself, but for those who will come after you. What a powerful way to leave your legacy.”

ABOVE: L-R: Upper School Director Sue Sadler, Student Senate President Morgan Whaley ’16, Head of School (at the podium) Bill Christ.

Next, Student Senate President Morgan Whaley ’16 took the podium to deliver a thoughtful and beautifully written speech about the school theme and the way she hopes that she and her classmates will be able to put the idea into action throughout the year and throughout their lives.

Finally, Upper School Director Sue Sadler warmly welcomed all of the new and returning students, saying how proud and grateful she is to be starting her 30th year at HB surrounded by so many remarkable young women who will most certainly leave individual and lasting legacies everywhere they go. Ms. Sadler explained to the girls that when it comes to embracing the concept of “lighting the way,” HB is in fine company, with visionaries as esteemed as Plato, William Shakespeare, and even the Dalai Lama having invoked that same symbolism in their work. 

Before she closed and dismissed them to their first classes of the year, Ms. Sadler also reminded the students that easy access to quality education is something that’s not afforded to millions of girls around the world. She said she has no doubt that HB girls understand and appreciate that reality, and that they will use their time at HB to make the most of the learning environment and avail themselves of an array of exciting opportunities so that they may maximize their own potential to make real and lasting differences in the world.

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