The Hun School Hosts Convocation to Celebrate the Start of the Academic Year

The Hun School hosted its third annual Convocation, Tuesday, September 9, 2008 to ceremoniously open its ninety-fifth academic year. Convocation was held on the lawn behind Russell Hall following the Senior Investiture Breakfast. Students, faculty, administration, and members of the board of trustees were present. The academic celebration culminated with a keynote address by Ms. Patricia Garrison. Convocation is a time for The Hun School community to focus on the academic mission of the School and to academic leadership. The Ceremony also provides an opportunity to welcome our new students and faculty.

The morning began with a Senior Investiture Ceremony in the Dining Hall where the Class of 2009 was called upon to act upon their responsibility as the leadership of the School. In recognition of that leadership, the entire Class of 2009 enjoyed a special breakfast and program including a keynote address from Alfred Leach ’78 President of Leach Communications in New York. Members of the Alumni Board, and Board of Trustees attended in celebration of the seniors.

Following the Senior Investiture, first the faculty and then the Class of 2009, processed onto the Russell Hall Lawn where the entire student body and faculty awaited them. Headmaster James M. Byer ’62 presided over Convocation and opened with welcoming remarks.

“Convocation is intended to promote your understanding of the academic importance of your education and to sensitize you to what seeking knowledge and honor means. Seeking knowledge here means doing and learning things honorably, honestly, and applied in all areas of your school life. There is no more important quality of character than honor. This is a quality which is wholesome, which refuses compromise, and which enables one to be consistent and stand firm in the midst of the most confusing and volatile circumstances.” – Dr. James M. Byer ’62

First announced in May at the 2008 Commencement as the endowed Faculty Chair, Patricia Garrison spoke to the students about their potential and what each of them can do to further it.

“How does that which exists in possibility develop into reality? In each instance, ideas, dreams, and possibilities become realities through diligence, skill, and perseverance, and by using the tools that help accomplish the task. Winston Churchill once said, “Continuous effort … is the key to unlocking our potential.” So, as students, one way you can think about your own potential is the possibility you already have to become the best student you can be. Through your own continuous effort, you are capable of taking that possibility and developing it into a reality.” – Ms. Patricia Garrison

Ms. Garrison begins her eighth year at The Hun School this fall as a teacher in the School’s Academic Learning Skills Program and co-coordinator of the Peer Tutoring Center. Ms. Garrison offers a progressive approach to her field by maintaining current knowledge of the latest techniques and research, which she acquires through regular attendance at conferences and workshops. In addition to the honor and responsibility associated with this most prestigious of faculty awards, due to a gift from an anonymous donor, each recipient receives a substantial monetary grant.

When alumnus Alfred Leach ’78 took the podium he held up a blue flashlight and placed on the corner of the podium. His comments to the student body centered on the difficulties each will likely face in finding their path in life. He encouraged them to think of The Hun School as their flashlight – a helpful tool in finding their way – but emphasized that the journey is personal.

“When Dr. John Gale Hun, the school’s founder, started Hun in 1914, he did so with the goal to prepare students to achieve academic excellence – and he set forth with his vision because he had faith in his students – that they would want to work hard and complete their studies (and conduct themselves) with dedication and honor. At Hun, just like in the world, sometimes we have to work very hard to find our path – to find our way in life through uncertainty – in order to achieve our dreams and goals. What we seek isn’t always found in school books – sometimes it’s in our hearts and minds.” – Alfred Leach ’78

Additional speakers included, Dean of Academic Affairs Kay Kiefer, Middle School Head Pat McKenna, Upper School Head William McQuade and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Joseph Deane. Student Council President Thomas Nicholas ’09 made thoughtful remarks about student responsibility – in particular, the responsibility to live up to the legacy forged by Headmaster Dr. Byer in his fifteenth and final year as the School’s headmaster. In addition a formal induction of the Cum Laude society took place.

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