The start of the 2019-2020 school year officially got underway with the annual Upper School Convocation. There was excitement and anticipation in the air as students, faculty and staff gathered in the Chapel. School officers were sworn in and new members of the Episcopal community signed the school’s Honor Code. Division Head Tom Forti welcomed everyone back to campus. You can read his address below.
Thank you for the opportunity to deliver remarks that signal the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Recognizing the importance of this occasion, I spent a great deal of time thinking about what to say and how to say it. Should I find a bunch of quotes about education and beginning a new school year? No. How about a powerpoint or presentation that allows you to follow along - word for word - with what I am saying? Nope. What say we put up a bunch of pictures that depict school life here at Episcopal? Not bad, but I feared it would take away from the undivided attention I’m asking you for during the next few minutes. So, I decided to go it alone.
Here at Episcopal, we use the letter E to brand ourselves in a number of ways. The small-cap e represents our e-Fund fundraising efforts. The old English E can be seen on our athletic uniforms, as can the block style E. And they all stand for and represent Episcopal.
What I’m asking you to do, as we dive into this new school year is to think about the E in a slightly more personal way. Think about these words and their meaning - energy, enthusiasm, empathy, effort and earnestness. I ask you to bring these to the table each day.
From my perspective your mere presence on campus gives us energy and enthusiasm. Please let that carry over into all you do. Be empathetic - care for and about one another. Put forth maximum effort - in the classroom, on stage, on the athletic fields and in the community. And be earnest in the things that require you to be. It is this quality that I ask you to pay particular attention to as we celebrate this morning with our Convocation Ceremony.
Episcopal has many beautiful and meaningful traditions, but none may embody who we are as a community more than this one. Signing the book and pledging your willingness and desire to abide by the Episcopal Honor Code is what Convocation is all about. It’s ironic that Convocation has long been associated with graduation - the end of a year, but here at Episcopal it signifies a beginning, a fresh start - one down the path less taken.
I am honored and humbled to be the Head of Upper School here and I sincerely hope that all of you, students and faculty, share my joy in what is sure to be an “E-mazing” year.
The Episcopal Honor Code
Head of Upper School