The Pennington School formally opened its 182nd academic year with Convocation ceremonies on Friday, September 6. Despite cloudy skies, energy brightened the tent on O’Hanlon Green during the ceremony. A brass quintet played as the students entered, by grade, followed by the academic procession of faculty and trustees.
The program began with an invocation from Chaplain David Hallgren, followed by the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by a cappella group InTouch (seniors Annelise C., Gabriela M., Molly N., and Jenna S. After welcoming remarks from Peter J. Tucci, chair of the Board of Trustees and a 1979 alumnus of the School, there were greetings from various School constituencies. Susan Wirsig, director of the Applied Science Certificate Program and teacher of mathematics, represented the faculty; student speakers were senior and student government president Gavin Hart and eighth-grade student Polaris Hayes, representing the Middle School.
Headmaster William S. Hawkey addressed the theme for this academic year: “Perseverance and Grit.” He related this theme to the challenges and obstacles our nation faced nearly 50 years ago with the mission to send a man to the moon. Hawkey went on to quote words from author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. He said, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal. You do not change your decision to get there.” Hawkey challenged the students go beyond standard goals and find a reach goal: a goal outside of one’s comfort zone. He said that it is the “reach goals” that often lead to great discoveries, achievements, and accomplishments.
View photos and a video of the event below: