Reflections for Convocation 2013 by Glenn Swanson ’64

As the Williston Northampton School gathers together for this opening of the school year, we have an opportunity to have a few moments of reflection. Although this is obviously not the real beginning, it is the formal beginning as we convoke to celebrate the start of school. I ask that we reflect on where we are, where we have come from, and where we expect to be metaphysically at the end of the school year. We would like all of us to be here physically.

We all had some experiences this summer that offered a new perspective on life. In the next nine months—until the closing ceremony of Commencement for you seniors, followed by assessments for the rest of the students—I ask that we prepare ourselves for transitions that will come during the year.

We gather with a sense of purpose, with a continuation of or a search for a passion, and with a concern for the integrity of both self and community.  We will not only individually discover during this year; we will also reveal things to others. Look forward with a sense of awe to each of those transfers—from the “me” of each of us to the “you”—and in the other direction.

Whether you are a student, first year or sixth or anywhere in between, or a faculty member, or a parent, or an alum, or a friend, I hope you will pause to think, to expect transitions, to give thanks, and to look forward to a great school year.

I ask that we have a few moments of silent reflection for both the future and in remembrance for people and events in the past. The past is gone, but it has left a legacy; it’s here with us now.

Schools have traditions that help define and reflect them. One of our is the ringing of a bell called The Angelus.

The Angelus was presented to Northampton School by the Student Council of 1952.  Some say it became the heart of the Northampton School for Girls campus.  The Angelus is a bell, which is inscribed “For Quiet Thought.” It was sounded every afternoon, at which time students and teachers paused for a minute of silent reflection.  Maria Burgee Dwight LeVesconte, class of 1952, said at its dedication that the ringing of the Angelus was a call “to remind us of the necessity of thought…There is much to think about in that brief minute of our own.”

As we sound the Angelus, I invite you to join me in a few moments of quiet thought.

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