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School Year Opens with Installation and Convocation Ceremonies

Rudy Brandl

The Wardlaw+Hartridge School began its 141st school year with a special Convocation Ceremony that included the Installation of Dr. Corinna Crafton as the new Head of School on Thursday, September 7. 

Gbemi Olarewaju ’24, Student Council President, led the senior class in to Convocation with Vice Presidents Hannah Yin ’24 and Raiya Patel ’24 carrying the class flag. Students from all three divisions were seated on the turf and joined the community in cheering for the Class of 2024. 

Rudy Brandl ’83, Director of Communications, welcomed the W+H community of students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and friends. Gbemi led the Pledge of Allegiance before MadJazz and other choir members performed America the Beautiful to begin the festivities.

Dr. Ayesha Sitlani, Board of Trustees President, shared greetings that captured what she called a “momentous occasion” by introducing Dr. Crafton as the first female to be appointed Head of School at W+H. Dr. Sitlani followed with a brief introduction of Dr. Crafton by sharing stories and feedback received from others during the selection process. She closed with the formal installation of Dr. Crafton as the new Head of School.

Dr. Crafton received an ovation and a bouquet of roses prior to her remarks, during which she expressed gratitude to the Board of Trustees, her colleagues, family and dear friends. She also acknowledged the enormity of the moment and assured the community of her steadfast commitment. 

“As steward of our mission to prepare students to lead and succeed in a world of global interconnection, I am acutely aware of the profound responsibility I have assumed,” Dr. Crafton said. “I need not be reminded of my obligation to all of you, for the students here today and the hundreds I have taught over the past 18 years, are my daily inspiration and the reason I am fully committed to this work.”   

Gbemi delivered a wonderful speech that resonated with everyone from the Pre-K class to the older adults in the crowd. She reinvented the popular YOLO acronym with her own four words to provide a deeper meaning: Yearn, Outlook, Laugh, Overcome. Gbemi tied everything together brilliantly at the end: “I'm so excited for this new year, and I wish each and every one of you the absolute best of luck and utmost success. As the famous Latin saying goes, carpe diem. Seize the day. After all, you only live once.”


Photos by Rudy Brandl '83 and Gerard Gonnella '89


Photos by Greg Barr

Read Dr. Ayesha Sitlani's Convocation and Installation Remarks

Read Gbemi Olarewaju's Convocation Address