We have heard the first tolling of the bell, which marks the moment when the first plane hit the first tower in New York, nineteen tolls, and we have observed a minute of silence. We have seen the flag, which usually flies so high, carefully unfurled and raised, then placed at half-staff as a sign of mourning.
Welcome to all of you. Whether you are gathered here in the Todd Quad or gathered around a screen in class, at home, or at work, we are happy to have you with us. We are assembled here today for two things: a convocation and an investiture.
I honestly could not tell you the number of hiking trips I have taken with students, but I can guarantee that one thing has happened on every trip. At some point, someone has asked some form of “How much farther?”—to the top of this ridge, to the top of that mountain, to that night’s campsite, or to the trip’s final destination. In response, I have always brought up the work of two female artists.
I will always remember the day I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle. It was a bright, cold day, and I was riding the speed limit in a school zone when a high-school student pulled out from a stop sign and sent everything flying.
As a child, I was diagnosed with an illness, the particulars of which I don't remember, but the treatment for which remains clear: I had to stay in my bed, and I wasn't allowed to touch any of my siblings. (There were eleven of us in our big, ramshackle Victorian house, and I was the youngest of all.) I must have been a sad sight when three of my brothers came in and announced that we were going to play Star Trek. On the far side of the room, their bunk beds became the bridge and the transporter room. I, in my bottom bunk, ran the engine room. They pretended to speak through improbably futuristic screens and communicate through handheld devices, and I said things like, "The engines are running." I could see them and hear them, but I couldn't be with them. At the time, it felt like punishment on their part. Only later did I realize what it really was—their gesture of kindness.
Upper School Director
Dr. Joel Coleman has more than two decades of experience teaching, coaching, and independent school leadership, serving most recently as Upper School Head at St. Paul’s School in Maryland. In that role, he led several curriculum initiatives, including spearheading changes to the school’s International Baccalaureate program, creating and implementing a K-12 departmental review cycle, and overseeing updates to the upper school’s science, math, arts, and philosophy curricula. As part of this work, he partnered with faculty to create a portrait of a graduate and better define standards of teaching excellence at each grade level. In addition, Dr. Coleman piloted K-12 instructional coaching and mentoring for the faculty and worked to further align curriculum and faculty development with the school’s mission.