Convocation Opens 109th Session of St. Anne's-Belfield School
Convocation Opens 109th Session of St. Anne's-Belfield School

St. Anne's-Belfield School's annual Convocation ceremony took place on Friday, Aug. 31, officially opening the 109th session of the School.

In keeping with 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. This year's faculty leader was Nancy Kovatch followed by 22 faculty members who have been at the School for 20 or more years. Dr. Shelby Sender provided piano accompaniment for the faculty procession, before bagpiper Dr. John Youel led the way for seniors and their parents.

The ceremony's program included a student address by School Co-President Yirui Deng '19, who spoke on the power of definition.

"I used to think that school changes people, but I soon realized that the only thing that can change you, the only person that decides for your future, is the person you see reflected when you turn your screens off," he told the audience.

"Knowledge is power. It's not the power that keeps your cell phones alive; it's actually stronger than that - knowledge gives you the power to define. With knowledge, you define silence; with knowledge, you define time; with knowledge, you have the freedom to define freedom . . . So now the question is: what can we define next? Well, it's not me who defines the school year ahead. It's not the Class of 2019 either. It's all of us, students, parents, and faculties."

Lourie too spoke of the year ahead in his Head of School Address, after recounting the many ways the filming of blockbuster movie Jaws "failed forward" after setbacks, mistakes, doubts, and delays. Indeed the first 80 minutes of the film lacked the titular shark, he noted, which was the result of mechanical malfunctions but resulted in audience anticipation that became the film's most intense element.

"So heed Spielberg's lesson during those first shark-less 80 minutes: don't pay so much attention to the shark that you miss the real treasure that lies buried in the story, that 'alone we can do so little, and together we can do so much,'" Lourie said.

"I wish all of you a year filled with the eagerness to take risks, the courage to fail forward, the generosity to give and take support, and the thrill of breaking out of our bud and blossoming brightly and magnificently."

In addition to the speakers, School musical groups performed throughout the ceremony including the Saints Choral's "In Meeting We Are Blessed" and the Philharmonic Orchestra's "Deep Sea Fandango." The performances were prepared and conducted by Choral Director Will Nichols and Orchestra Director Debbie Lyle.

Photos from Convocation 2018 are now available on the School's SmugMug account. A recorded version of the event is available online to School community members. Please email for password information.