The Pennington School formally opened its 183rd academic year with a traditional but virtual Convocation ceremony on Friday, September 11.
The program began with performances by the Pennington School Orchestra, followed by an invocation by Chaplain David Hallgren. Four speakers delivered welcoming remarks: Peter J. Tucci ’79, chair of the Board of Trustees, represented the Board; Lida Castro, chair of the World Languages Department, represented the faculty; Kenza Idrissi ’21 represented the Upper School; and Aimee (Dingtong) Zou ’25 represented the Middle School.
In the Convocation address, Head of School William S. Hawkey spoke to the unprecedented difficulties of the past several months and the year ahead. “This year, we face one of the greatest challenges that we have had to face in our long and storied history, and we will face them together, with our core values to steer us,” said Dr. Hawkey.
Dr. Hawkey described the many transformations that the Pennington campus has undergone to prepare for the hybrid academic year. From the 360-degree cameras installed in classrooms, to the nine tents used for outdoor learning spaces, The Pennington School is committed to delivering an outstanding education to all students, whether they are learning on campus or connecting to classes from home.
“Our objectives centered on creating a more robust learning environment while preserving as much of the special Pennington community experience as possible,” said Dr. Hawkey. “We begin this academic year with joy that so many of us can be together, and that we have the technology to include all of our students in the classrooms, even if they are learning from home.”
Despite the uncertainty and hardship of the pandemic, Dr. Hawkey feels hopeful that Pennington students are well prepared to rise to the occasion. He left the students with words of hope and encouragement: “Don’t underestimate the talents that each of you bring to this School and to our world. Pennington students past and present are making an impact locally and globally, and you can too.”
View the complete video of Convocation.