On September 6, 2017, Winsor students began a new year "filled with excitement, adventure, and discovery." As they streamed through the familiar front doors on Pilgrim Road and ascended the stairs, a tunnel of lively seniors in space-themed costumes welcomed them.
Later that morning, when students and faculty gathered for the traditional opening assembly in the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater, Head of School Sarah Pelmas reminded them "what a remarkable community you are in." Noting the enduring nature of the Winsor community, she assured girls that "one thing you can always count on is that this room is full of friends and family, who will be there for you forever."
She also welcomed Allison Kaneb Pellegrino '89, P'21, '22, president of the Winsor Corporation, introduced new faculty and staff (read more about them here), and invited student leaders to share their own words of wisdom.
Unique Hodge '18, president of COLLECT, explained the senior class' space-themed homeroom with an insightful and humorous comparison of the Winsor community to each planet in our solar system. "Each planet is different in its own way, but without one, the solar system would be incomplete," she concluded.
Daphnee Piou '18, president of the senior class, acknowledged the excitement of the new school year for all students from across the Lower and Upper Schools. She encouraged everyone to explore new challenges and discover all that Winsor has to offer. "Challenge yourself to do something that you've always wanted to do but were too scared to do it. Considering that our senior class theme is 'Space' I hope we all take this year to discover something about ourselves and explore beyond our comfort zones."
In a very personal opening message to students, Ms. Pelmas emphasized three things that each student needs to grow up strong and make the world a better place: close friends, community and courage.
A good community, she said, "will challenge you to affirm your values, stretch your understanding, and take risks. And, in good communities, you will find an extraordinary sense of obligation to others, and genuine love and care for others as well."
Looking to the challenges that lie ahead in the academic year, she noted, "one of the great privileges of our privileged lives is that we have choices, and a lot of them. Sometimes we have so many that we are frozen by all the options. It takes courage to choose, to try a new approach, to see how it goes."
Ms. Pelmas also shared thoughts about learning, making choices, and being open to new ideas and to change. "We want you to be you, to think your own thoughts, to share them out loud, to hear different thoughts with an open and curious mind, and to find your connection to those others. Make sure you know exactly why you believe something. Stand up when something is not right. And when you are frustrated with someone or something and think they've done something pretty dumb, make sure you know what their thinking was, and how they got there. Follow their logic and see if it might actually change your mind a little too. In other words, have the courage to be wrong and to change."
In 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, Ava Hosea '22 and Josie Mastandrea '22, ringing in the new year with Miss Winsor's bell.