On Monday, September 1st in front of students, parents, faculty, and staff in a packed Geissler Gallery, Reverend Shayna Appel ’78, P’04, opened the school’s annual Convocation ceremony by asking, “Who is it that you are becoming? Are you ready to begin?” She reminded her audience that holding too tightly onto our past can prevent us from taking full advantage of our present.

After Rev. Appel’s Invocation, Academic Dean Alex Bogel opened the academic year and quoted educator Peter Gow: “A school done the right way is a school where anything can happen.” He urged the student body to prepare themselves to recognize the greatest moments yet to come this year.

When the podium was turned over to the Dr. Paul C. Bassett Speaker, senior Sherica Hamilton encouraged her peers to “be responsible for our own betterment. We must use every resource, take advantage of every opportunity, and reflect on every criticism in the classroom, in the dance studio or in the barn, to advance our own betterment.” She continued with sage advice: “If you remain in your comfort zone, you will never know your own personal potential…What will you be determined to do this year?”

As is tradition, Sherica’s remarks were followed by the Student Council President’s reflections on what the school’s Honor Code means to her. Senior Ghazaleh Aghazadeh stated that she believes the school’s Honor Code is “a moral compass for life. It must be read, understood, and adopted by each person in our community.” Student Council Vice President Charlotte Minsky ’16 read the Honor Code before it was signed by every individual at Stoneleigh-Burnham.

Convocation marked the beginning of the 146th academic year. This year, Stoneleigh-Burnham opens with 157 students from 16 U.S. states and 17 countries around the world.

You may see a photo gallery of Convocation by clicking here.