Convocation Officially Opens School Year

St. Anne's-Belfield School's annual Convocation ceremony took place on Friday, Aug. 30, officially opening the 110th session of the School.

As is the tradition, the ceremony began with the procession led by Head of School David Lourie, the Board of Trustees, and faculty in order of those who have served the School the longest. Ms. Nancy Kovatch led the faculty in order of length of service to the School. Faculty members who have been at the School for 20 or more years were recognized with white stoles, and this year Ms. Beth Miller, Ms. Kathy Carpenter, and Mr. Tom Palombi joined the group. Dr. Shelby Sender provided piano accompaniment for the faculty procession, before bagpiper Dr. John Youel led the way for seniors and their parents.

Mr. David Smith, dean of the Class of 2020, provided the Invocation before the Saints Chorale performed “It Takes a Village.” In a break with tradition, both Student Body Presidents Sallie Vick ’20 and Vijay Chhabra ’20 spoke on becoming friends several years ago after fishing together – an activity at which neither were skilled. However, the chance to make a meaningful connection motivated both of them.

“With connections you become purposeful,” said Vick.

The duo went on to discuss the steps for successful fishing, with decisions like how and where you want to fish. Each new step paralleled how to make connections. They went on to issue two challenges to the community for the 2019 – 2020 school year: extended yourself to make connections or nourish existing ones, and buy in to the community, take a chance, and bring your best self to those around you.

“With each connection we become closer as a community,” noted Chhabra.

The Philharmonic Orchestra performed “Forever Joyful!” before the Head of School Address, which was preceded by student readings by Joseph Richmond ’28 and Sonia Kamath ’24, and faculty readings by Director of Student Life, Diversity,  and Community Outreach Phil Stinnie and Grade 3 teacher Andrea Corbin. Head of School David Lourie discussed the importance of sports in childhood and growing up.

“Sports test you in so many ways,” he said. “And the same is true for life. ‘Am I prepared for the unexpected?’ ‘How will I react?’ ‘What am I truly capable of achieving?’ ‘Do I have the will to accomplish ambitious goals?’ Sports help us answer those questions.”

In fact, Lourie noted, when delivered and done with integrity and purpose sports can prepare children for real life as no other schooling can. He went on to share lessons that must remain at the heart of youth sports: you have to move on from setbacks, to reach goals there are no shortcuts in preparation, and there is always the opportunity to succeed but never a guarantee. He also recognized that sports teach players and competitors how to win and lose, and that not everyone can be the best and not everyone wants to be.

“As youth sports change and grow, let’s remember one really important lesson,” he closed. “Let’s remember to keep it all in perspective.”

The ceremony concluded with the community singing “Raise We Our Voices,” the School song, and a benediction from Mr. Lourie.

Photos from Convocation 2019 are now available on the School's SmugMug account. A recorded version of the event is available online to School community members. Please email communication@stab.org for password information. Full text from both the Student Body Presidents and Head of School speeches will be available early next week. 


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