We have Convocation every fall to mark the official start of school. This year is a particularly special one; as you may have noticed from all the banners around the Quad and on the Chapel, the school is celebrating its 175th year.
That’s a long history—one of the longest of all the other boarding schools in this area.
So, for my reflection today, I’d like to ask us all to think about our school history, about our own history, and to also think about how the future is simply a history that hasn’t happened yet.
Yes, we may think we know what this year will bring. We will have favorite classes and ones where we have to work a bit. We will win athletic games and loose some. We will study for finals, rest during the breaks, and eventually, celebrate with the Class of 2016 and our alumni next spring.
But although we think we know what the future brings, here’s something to remember:
There was a time when Samuel and Emily Williston didn’t know they were going to make a fortune out of buttons. Or start a school. They were just trying to make a good business.
There was a time when Dorothy Bement and Sarah Whitaker didn’t know that they would change many lives for the better by creating the Northampton School for Girls. They were just trying to be good teachers.
All of you are Samuels, Emilys, Dorothys, and Sarahs. You will be asked to live and work with passion, purpose, and integrity this year. You will have choices—and maybe some surprising opportunities. You don’t know what these moments will bring. I ask you to simply approach them with goodness, kindness, and thoughtfulness, as our founders once did, too.
As we ring the bell called The Angelus, please sit in silence for a minute or so and think about all the people and all the moments in the past that have brought you here, and all the people you will meet and the moments yet to come.
Let me also note here that The Angelus was presented in 1952 to Northampton School for Girls from the Student Council. On The Angelus are inscribed the words “For Quiet Thought.” It was sounded on the Northampton campus every afternoon, at which time all students and teachers paused for a minute of silent reflection.
We will now sound The Angelus and I invite you to join me in a few moments of quiet thought.