Convocation 2021 marked the first full community gathering in well over a year

The 2021–2022 school year opened with a traditional Convocation held outside on our Front Circle. The event marked the first complete school gathering in 479 days, noted Head of School Matt Glendinning during his address.

“A Convocation is literally a ‘calling together’ of a community for the purpose of marking and celebrating a special moment… This short ceremony allows us to pause and reflect on that change, and to say that this place, and the months we are about to share together, are special, and we are all a part of it,” said Matt.

This is always a magical moment – one of my favorites of the school year,” he added, “to have the entire community assemble on the first day of school in this historic spot.”

Matt’s speech was followed by a several students speakers: 5th grader Penelope S. read our mission statement and guided a moment of silent reflection, followed by several student speakers including 8th grader Liam C. (read here), and Student Senate Co-Presidents Lila S. (read here), Ruby H. (read here) and Zane Z. (read here)

Closing the ceremony were Board of Trustee Co-Presidents Reza Taleghani ’90 P ’21 ’23 and Jane Ritson-Parsons P ’17 ’21.

Matt’s complete speech text:

Good morning again, everyone, and welcome to our 2021 Convocation. I’m Matt, MB’s Head of School, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to, or back to, Moses Brown for the beginning of a new school year, the 238 year, in fact, since the founding of our great school.

This is always a magical moment – one of my favorites of the school year — to have the entire community assemble on the first day of school in this historic spot. And it’s exciting to see the seniors’ literally stepping into their school-wide leadership role by entering through the front gate, symbolically encircling us and holding the whole school within their embrace and their care.

So, for those who might not be familiar with this kind of ceremony, a Convocation is literally a ‘calling together’ of a community for the purpose of marking and celebrating a special moment. Today, we’re gathering to recognize a transition: from one kind of time – summer – to a new kind – the school year. This short ceremony allows us to pause and reflect on that change, and to say, this place, and the months we are about to share together, are special, and we are all a part of it.

This year’s Convocation is even more special than usual, because the entire community of MB students, faculty and staff hasn’t been assembled in one place for 479 days. The last time we did so was an all-school Meeting for Worship on February 18, 2020.

If coming together again after such a long time apart isn’t a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is!

I’m very excited about the coming year. Although the pandemic is not yet behind us, making ongoing safety measures such as indoor masking very important, this year we are returning to full, daily in-person teaching and learning in all three divisions. And, assuming that the pandemic trends in the right direction, this means a return to the signature elements of an MB education that all of us have grown to love and look forward to. Things like PBL, TRIPs, hands-on and collaborative work in the Y-Lab, and the full resumption of athletics, theater, music and other co-curriculars, activities, and competitions.

More than programs and events, though, what feels most special to me about this year is the opportunity to once again be together as a whole community. It’s the people that are the essential ingredient of Moses Brown, the people that make everything else possible.

And so, in this year of reconvening, of coming back together, I hope that we can be particularly mindful and attentive to those around us, to our relationships with them, and to the community.

For example, we have 135 new students joining us this year, and 19 new members of the faculty and staff. I hope that all of us will go out of our way – way out of our way, even – to welcome them and make them feel known and comfortable at MB.

And I hope that we all will take proactive steps to be good friends, collaborative lab partners, selfless teammates – in other words, caring and supportive members of this big and diverse family that is MB.

We’re all going to be asked to work hard this year. And there will no doubt be unexpected challenges along the way, but I know that we can rise to meet them if we care for each other, and work together.

I’m delighted that each and every one of you is a member of the MB community this year.  I wish you all an incredible year of learning, discovery, and growth.Co-Presidents introduce Reza Taleghani and Jane Ritson-Parsons.

Seniors, please lead us up into Middle House.  And Senior Parents, I hope you’ll join us in the Rocchio Garden for some refreshments and fellowship.