Concord Academy kicked off its 90th year with a warm and welcoming Convocation ceremony.
Head of School Rick Hardy addressed the assembled group of members of the board of trustees, faculty and staff, faculty emeriti and students who had gathered in the chapel, some for the very first time.
Hardy tried to ease the fears of the one hundred and eight new student members of the CA community by talking about his own nerves, “. . . the beginning of each new year finds me eager to start, and also nervous . . . I now understand that this feeling reflects the uncertainty of what lies ahead, but also the thrill of possibility, the promise of a new year.”
As this was the first official gathering of the school year, Hardy also talked about the importance of the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel as a central meeting place for the school. “I think it is fitting that we begin the year in this chapel, since this building so clearly reflects the ethos of this school,” said Hardy.
He told those new to the CA community that they had been chosen because “we know you that you will contribute in a host of important ways to our community.”
CA’S current Student Head of School, Kelsey McDermott ’13, is an example of a student who contributes to the school in a host of important ways. Kelsey is a lacrosse player, a field hockey player, and now an involved member of student government.
In her speech, Kelsey told the assembled students that each of them had something different to look forward to this year. “For the freshmen, it’s becoming part of CA and making new friends. For the [returning] sophomores, it’s furthering the friendships made last year and continuing to explore new interests both inside and outside of the classroom. Juniors have ring begs and unfortunately SATs to look forward to, and seniors have coffeehouse, chapels, and graduation,” said Kelsey, who added that despite their differences, the students had one thing in common, “. . . something that we all have to look forward to is spending the next nine months together as a community.”
President of the Board of Trustees John Moriarty praised the students and said they were proof of CA’s commitment to “get the best kids.”
This year’s faculty speaker was Susan Adams, a forty-one-year veteran of CA’s Department of Foreign Languages, who also had important stints as college counselor and dean of faculty.
On campus, Adams is lovingly referred to as Frau Adams because her devotion to the German language knows no bounds. That love was on full display in her speech as she recited a poem in German by Rose Ausländer.
Adams then urged the students to internalize the lessons of the poem. “Throw your fear into the air. This is a school where you can do that . . . You have come to a school that will allow, even expect you to be what you are and give what you have. You have come to a school where teachers and students work together to build a community,” said Adams.
Rick Hardy echoed the theme of community and said, “The journey that you are beginning today is one that we are all beginning; and wherever we go, we will get there together.”
After a nice reception on the senior lawn, the CA students then headed off to class.