On Tuesday, September 3, students, faculty and staff returned to Pilgrim Road to start the 2019-2020 school year. School spirit and time-honored traditions defined the day and set the stage for another incredible year.
The Class of 2020 -- clad in costumes reflecting the senior homeroom theme, "The 2000s" -- lined the main entry hall and greeted all who entered with cheers and high-fives. The class also revealed its freshly-painted homeroom, a tradition dating back to the Class of 1994, and set the tone for the traditional opening day assembly with a celebratory entrance into the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater.
Rounding out the tradition-filled morning, performing arts faculty Lisa Taillacq and Felicia Brady led the entire school in singing "Jerusalem," and assembly concluded with Lower School council co-presidents, Beatrix Picotte '24 and Ciara Leonard '24, ringing in the new year with Miss Winsor's bell.
View the Opening Day Photo Gallery, and read on for more from the opening day assembly.
2019-2020: Reflections, Honored Traditions, and Milestone Celebrations
In her welcome address, Head of School Sarah Pelmas paid tribute to Winsor's rich history and the previous seven heads of school who "were legacy builders, women committed to a bright future where Winsor would make a difference in the lives of its students, and also in the world." She also underscored the importance of remembering the "trailblazers who fought battles for the very things we now cherish, from equality and freedom to scientific discoveries to great music," the things, she said, "that allow all of us to be who we are."
Looking ahead to the 2019-2020 school year, Ms. Pelmas noted that Winsor will have the opportunity to celebrate several milestones, including the 25th anniversary of UTL and the 50th anniversary of the first African-American graduate of Winsor. Also this year, our nation will continue to reflect on significant moments in its history, including the 400th Anniversary of the first African slaves bought in Jamestown, Virginia.
"If you want to know what a country or a culture or a family--or a school--holds dear, pay attention to what they celebrate, and what they commemorate--what they honor and memorialize from the past." Ms. Pelmas said. "In this year of celebrations, I ask you to keep doing all this: look back honestly to what has happened in the past, fix what needs fixing, be the very best friend and classmate you can, and enjoy yourselves."
President of the Winsor Corporation Allison Kaneb Pellegrino '89, P'21, '22, also delivered a welcome address, emphasizing that the work done by the 200 members of the Corporation on behalf of the school is inspired by how deeply the members care about Winsor and the well-being of every student.
Avery Beber '20, President of COLLECT, took the podium next dressed as Nemo from the beloved animated film by the same name. "For us, the 2000s represents our childhood," she began, explaining that the Class of 2020 chose the 2000s as its theme with the simple joys of those years in mind.
Noting that "it is easy to get wrapped up in all of the things you have to get done," Avery playfully drew inspiration from the lyrics of an iconic 2000s anthem. "Hannah Montana reminded us all in 2009 that there's always going to be another mountain and we are always gonna want to make it move, but it isn't about how fast we get there or what's waitin' on the other side. It's about the climb." And so, she declared, "I don't know about you, but I want my climb to be fun...[and] I think that we should all embrace our inner, fearless child from time to time" and enjoy the climb.
Senior Class President Isabelle Sibble '20 elaborated, saying, "this year our class decided that what we needed was a little nostalgia...[and] having a bit of our younger lives surrounding us once again is a reminder of how far we've come and how much we've grown."
Reflecting on how lessons gleaned from childhood remain surprisingly relevant today, Isabelle's words of wisdom resonated with students in every stage of their Winsor journey. "You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul," she quoted from the movie Ratatouille. "For those of you who are new to this community, I mean to say that Winsor is a place where you can choose who you are and who you become," and "this is a place that will foster your growth no matter what direction that may take."
Looking to the future, she added, "it's freeing to know that we are the harbingers of our own futures, but that means it is also our responsibility to take whatever chances come our way," adding, "if you don't ask, the answer is always no."