The Head's Vantage


Welcome to The Head's Vantage - a blog examining important educational topics by Andrew Webster, Head of School. 

 

Convocation 2019

Andrew Webster, Head of School, shares his welcome to the W+H community at the 137th Convocation Ceremony on September 5, 2019 in Laidlaw Gym:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Convocation. Convocation, as our Latin students could tell you, means to call together, though it does not say for what purpose. Why pile into this gym, which can be uncomfortable, a little sweaty, and difficult to hear speakers in? It’s to take a moment to recognize our new beginning together and to be thankful to join with one another in this community.

One of the great joys of life in school is that you get a chance every year to start anew, to set new goals and rise to new challenges. Every year we get a new chance to ask ourselves what kind of community we want to be. What kind of student do you want to be? What kind of friend? What do you need to do to make your classes, or teams, or jazz bands, or play ensembles the best they can be? How will your actions and words demonstrate your answers to these questions?

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Student responses

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AJ in his speech referred to us a caring community, and your responses show exactly how that comes to be. Thank you for such delightful and thoughtful insights.

To me, one of the great things in life is a delicious pie. It could be in pizza form, or a Jamaican meat pie, or a chicken pot pie, or a pie made of blueberry or peach or apple. But one thing you learn in a large family is that if you are really hungry, you’d best claim a big piece quickly or it will be gone. If you choose a smaller slice so your brother or sister (or father) can have more, then you are a better person than I am. I want the pie.

But the greatest things in life are not like pie. If you give someone your pie, you have less pie. But if you give someone joy, or love, or gratitude, or peace, or confidence, you create more of those things for yourself, and usually those qualities spread and multiply across the group. If you give more to class or your team, everyone benefits. If you help your friends, or even those who are not close to you, you get more friendship. Generosity builds more generosity.

We get to create our own world here. Do we want it to be a place where we seek our own triumphs at the expense of others and do not mind tearing others down to achieve our goals? Or rather should we focus on how we can lift each other up?  

To me, as an educator, the most important thing is to act in ways that bring out the best in others, to elevate rather than demean, to bring laughter and delight to others, rather than fear, anger or anxiety, and to help students and colleagues unlock the inner resources they have to tackle challenges. Each one of you has the power to make us a stronger community, to lift the spirits of your peers, to elevate the quality of learning that occurs here. Throughout the year, I hope you will stop to recognize when you see that behavior in others, and also to stop from time to time and ask yourself what you are doing to make our community better.

I wish you a wonderful school year filled with growth, friendship, and happiness.

Posted by awebster on Friday September, 6, 2019 at 11:55AM

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The Wardlaw-Hartridge School
1295 Inman Ave,
Edison, NJ 08820
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The Wardlaw + Hartridge School is a top private and college prep school in Edison, New Jersey, which provides an independent, pioneering educational experience at the early childhood, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school levels.
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