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Celebrating Tradition and Connection During the All-School Convocation

Celebrating Tradition and Connection During the All-School Convocation

The new school year is bookended by two all-school gatherings in the outdoor amphitheater and on August 25, Head of School Rob Zimmerman `98 welcomed students, staff, and teachers to the 98th academic year during the first of those two events - Opening Convocation. 

"It is wonderful to be back together for another year of joyful learning in this special community," said Zimmerman. "A new year brings a clean slate, fresh opportunities, and a chance to start healthy new habits."

During the first portion of the ceremony, which took place with the entire school community in the Carey Family Amphitheater, the seniors accompanied this year's kindergarten class to their seats, Vondale Batchelor sang the national anthem, Director of Choirs Greg Miller led the Middle School and Upper School choirs in the alma mater, and Middle School science teacher Casey Schnieber provided the invocation.

"Let us embrace this and every opportunity to be one community, and cherish the time we spend with the people who care so deeply for us," said Schieber. "Let us remember, too, the complexity of time, and how compassion and courage in the present moment will enrich our future community. And though the present will fade into the past, acts of kindness live eternal. So appreciate your time and respect each other, for it's only a blink from the Lower School sand pits, to the Middle School gaga pit, to the senior pit."

Middle School and Upper School students, faculty, and staff resumed the formal portion of the ceremony in Keeler Theater, where Board President Tina DiSanto provided her remarks.

"The new year ahead of you is a fresh start. It's an opportunity to think about how you spend your time and reflect on where you've been. But maybe, more importantly, where you're headed. There are no regrets in this new year, only new possibilities," said DiSanto.

Head of Upper School Jenn Weinheimer announced the 2022-23 class scholars (more on this later!), who were the top scholars in their grades. For the Class of 2026, this award went to five students: Ryaan Arif, Gabriel Benitez, Kate Kranias, Kier Smith, and Jason Starodub; for the Class of 2025, this award went to two students: Louise Joy and Jordan Lowe; and for the Class of 2024, this award went to Marley Handler.

"It is truly an outstanding accomplishment for a student to be named the leading scholar in their class," said Weinheimer. 

The senior class co-presidents, Ami Bah and Andrew Zimmerman, also shared their insights and words of encouragement with the audience. 

"We are known for our traditions here at CCD...There is so much to look forward to this school year. These events strengthen the bonds formed at school and make it feel like home," said Bah. "Seniors and the rest of the student body, leave Convocation today with this note: School is not just a place to take tests and receive a grade, it is also the place where we meet our family and make great memories. Let's make great memories this year."

Andrew Zimmerman mirrored her sentiments, quoting some wise words that have been written in his dad's office for almost 20 years now, "'Do it now because there won't be time later.'"

Student Council President Parker Corbin `24 also shared his remarks. 

"Too often we take for granted the most important benefit of attending CCD, which is the privilege of participating in diverse programs and routinely interacting with the Country Day community at a personal level. I challenge each of you to be open-minded, take the risk of trying something new, and involve yourself in the community....Enjoy every moment. Cherish both your successes and your failures. Embrace the opportunities presented before you and don't be afraid to try something new. You might find a new passion, hobby, or even a new friend. I am excited to see what this year brings, and I hope everyone has a wonderful school year. Go, Nighthawks!"

To close the ceremony, Zimmerman shared a personal reflection about the value of relationships, along with research indicating just how important personal connections are to success and happiness in life. He encouraged students to take advantage of the life-changing relationships available at Country Day – with classmates, teammates, and teachers. "Life is short, and people are what matter."

Click here to see pictures and videos from Convocation.