Nightingale Commences 100th Year with Centennial Convocation

Students in Classes I-XII, faculty and staff, the Centennial Committee, and other special guests gathered on the morning of Friday, September 6 for the annual fall Convocation ceremony marking the official start to the school year. A wonderful tradition in its own right, the occasion was extra exciting as it also served as Nightingale’s first centennial celebration.

Founded in 1920 by Miss Nightingale and Miss Bamford, the first graduating class of 1925 consisted of just four students. It is a testament to the vision of both women that 100 years later, Nightingale educates the minds and hearts of 669 students and 3,300 alumnae.

Head of School Paul A. Burke addressed the schoolhouse and shared the story of how our school’s motto of “Veritas, Amicitias, Fides” (Truth, Friendship, and Loyalty) came from those four graduates of 1924. For Mr. Burke, the value of friendship is particularly striking as he knows of no other school that has friendship in its motto. 

“In our Lower School, we encourage our students to have a pocket-full of friends,” remarked Mr. Burke. “In Middle School, we encourage empathy, to walk in another’s shoes; in Upper School, we start senior year on a weekend retreat together to build our connections and our affection for each other. We pull on friendship here, and not just because it is a nice thing to do or a good way to live—although it is both things. We do it because it is the foundation of our community.”

The convocation program included the performance of two songs by the Upper School Chorus and speeches from Alumnae Association President Devon Carraher ’96 P’31, Senior Class Co-Presidents Amina Stern ’20 and Brooke Giddon ’20, Ryan Allen ’28 (representing the Lower School), Anissa Wang ’24 (representing Middle School), and Council President (representing Upper School and the Class of 2020) Muniyat Choudhury ’20.

The message from these six voices was clear: Nightingale is a very special place. No matter if you started in Kindergarten or Class VIII, Nightingale inspires personal growth and discovery alongside the pursuit of knowledge. It is a place to become yourself in the company of mentors and friends who remain present every step of the way.

The Centennial Convocation ceremony culminated with the reveal of Nightingale’s centennial logo. Last spring, students from Kindergarten through Class XII submitted original designs for consideration. The Centennial Committee (Trustee Chair Francesca Harper Cohen ’87 P’29;  Parent Chair Eizelle Taino P’23 P’26; Faculty Chairs Claire Anderson ’95 and Fernanda Winthrop ’00; and Alumnae Chairs Susie Heller ’69 and Zoe Settle Schriebl ’00) was tasked with selecting a winning design to represent the entire school during the centennial year.

“On behalf of our committee, I am proud to say that we had two winners,” Mr. Burke revealed to a captivated student body. “Much like our school was founded by the best ideas of Miss Nightingale and Miss Bamford, our logo combined the thoughts of Gianina Lasky in Class III and Brooke Gonzalez in Class IV.”

Brooke’s art featured the number 100 and spoke to the lasting qualities of our school, emphasizing truth and loyalty. Gianina’s art included students in a circle holding hands, a beautiful representation of the importance of friendship.

“Together, Brooke and Gianina—on behalf of all of us gathered here today—echoed the ideas of our earliest graduates: veritas, amicitia, fides. What a gift they have given us,” concluded Mr. Burke.

After the lights were dimmed and spotlights were positioned, the logo was revealed, receiving an immediate and electrifying applause. Following the reveal, students and faculty stood and joined together to sing a heartfelt rendition of “For Nightingale” to conclude the celebration.

See below to view photos from Centennial Convocation. For more photos, View our Centennial Convocation photo gallery.

Centennial Convocation was just the first of many unique events planned for Nightingale’s year-long centennial celebration. The next milestone event will take place on Saturday, September 21 for Centennial Homecoming when the entire Nightingale community is invited to a day-long program featuring a variety of athletics and social gatherings both inside and outside the schoolhouse. For more information or to RSVP, click here.

A year of exciting centennial events will conclude on October 15, 2020 with the Nightingale Centennial Gala, to be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. To learn more about the centennial celebrations planned between now and fall 2020, contact

Watch: A video recording of Centennial Convocation is provided below.


Mr. Goede directs the Upper School chorus during Centennial Convocation,


Mr. Burke reveals the student-inspired centennial logo.


Gianina alongside a large-scale print of the centennial logo.


Brooke and Gianina admire the logo inspired by their artwork.


Head of School Mr. Paul A. Burke, along with Head of Lower School Rebecca Urciuoli (center right), and Centennial Committee Faculty Chairs Claire Anderson ’95 (far left) and Fernanda Winthrop ’00 (far right) pose with Brooke and Gianina.