Rock Star Seniors Headline the 2023–2024 Convocation

Tuesday, September 5—With the sound system blasting “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars, the Class of 2024 danced into the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater dressed as rock stars and took their seats alongside fellow classmates.

Welcoming the gathered community to the 138th Winsor School year, Head of School Sarah Pelmas introduced new faculty and staff, who stood and waved from their seats on stage. 

Ms. Pelmas highlighted some changes around campus and gave thanks to the facilities team for stewarding projects this summer, the most visible construction effort being the demolition and reconstruction of the turf fields. Two projects in particular—hanging new white boards in classrooms and an updated heating and cooling system that services several key classrooms—were met with great student enthusiasm. 

President of Winsor Board of Trustees Allison Kaneb Pellegrino ’89, P’21, ’22 praised the “extraordinary educators” who will undoubtedly help students have a multi-platinum year.

“Welcome to the first day of school” exclaimed President of COLLECT Beatrix Picotte ’24. Calling the senior class “intelligent, kind, and incredible people,” Picotte offered advice to each grade inspired by her own experience as a Winsor student since Class I:

Class I: Take a few deep calming breaths.
Class II: Try to have a conversation with every single person in your class. 
Class III: Please do not sob to your mom because you got a “some of it” on your report card. 
Class IV: Make an effort to reach out to your Class I buddy and younger students in general.
Class V: Don’t feel obligated to look or act the same way you did last year. 
Class VI: It’s not too late to join a new club or sports team or try a new kind of art class.
Class VII: Don’t take things too seriously. 
Class VIII: We’ll figure it out together and I’m so excited to do that with all of you. 

President of the Senior Class Natalie Cooper ’24 wasted no time announcing the senior theme of rock ‘n’ roll. “Rock stars make music and they share their talents with the world,” she said, before making a promise to the gathered school community: “I and so many others are here to create spaces where we can all thrive.” From the turf to the classroom, “every single senior will be able to share the knowledge they have acquired...and each of our powerful voices will create a song.”

Continuing to lean into the music metaphors, Cooper compared the Class of 2024 to a band, affectionately referring to their senior year as “24 on tour”—the farewell tour. “Our band’s unique components are what make us great. After all, the music is beautiful because of its diversity, because of its complexity. Because each one of us plays our own instrument, we are great.”

With a nod to the Winsor legacy of senior leadership, to the rest of the school she said, “It’s almost time for your performance.” And, “to my incredible Class of 2024, let’s make some music!” 

Heads of Lower School Council SiSi Ansari ’28 and Elliot McCarthy ’28 spoke about the ways Winsor pushes them to explore. Sharing personal stories—from trying out for the field hockey team to discovering pierogies in the dining room—they pointed out there are ample opportunities to try new things at Winsor, and encouraged everyone to extend the boundaries of their comfort zone this school year.

Ms. Pelmas played off the senior year theme and offered sage advice to the “remarkable” student body. “Embrace your inner rock star, and the rock-star-ness of your friends and classmates too,” she urged. “Be your best self and encourage the best selves of everyone around you. Speaking on behalf of the faculty and staff she added, “we simply cannot wait to get started on the school year with you. You are all rock stars.”

The atmosphere became even more eclectic as SASS—Students Advocating School Spirit—took the stage and encouraged everyone to “cheer along with us.” The classic call-and-response cheers “Red Hot” and “Hey All You Winsor Fans” had everyone in the auditorium stomping their feet and clapping their hands.

Providing some history to William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” (set to music by Charles Hubert Perry), Natalie Cooper ’24 and Alicia Wu ’24, the president and vice president of Upper School choral group Illumina, introduced one of Winsor’s traditional songs. Accompanied by Head of Performing Arts Felicia Brady-Lopez and Choral Director Andrew Marshall, the entire auditorium stood to sing with vigor. 

In closing, the heads of Lower School Council raised Miss Winsor’s bell. The soft chime has officially opened the school year since 1910.

To the strains of “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, students were led out of the theater by Class I and assembled in the courtyard for a panoramic all-school photo.