Nightingale Convocation: The Beginning of a New Century

October 9, 2020

In a year full of unique challenges, changes, and growth, there are certain traditions that will continue to withstand them all. Convocation––a time for the entire schoolhouse to come together and welcome in the new school year––is one of those cherished traditions. Though we could not all be physically together this year, our virtual Convocation brought with it a new sense of togetherness as we all navigated through the beginning of our second century together. As Student Council Vice President Audrey Jarnigan ‘21 expressed “we are sharing this moment together that unites us in a new way. Whether this is your first convocation or your last, we will share the memories of this special morning for a very long time.”

As is customary at Convocation, this year’s ceremony was filled with song. The Class of 2021 chose Surface’s “Sunday Best” as the melody to kick off the morning. We heard recordings of Lower, Middle, and Upper School choruses singing our school songs “Veritas, Amicitia, Fides” and “For Nightingale” as well as members of the Class of 2021 Chamber Chorus performing “Rise Up.”

It is tradition at Convocation for the featured speakers to be students. Senior Class Co-Presidents Bryna Jekogian ’21 and Darya Dahi ’21 welcomed students, faculty and staff to Convocation and shared their plans to make the best of this year for their class and the Nightingale community at large. The Class of 2021 has chosen their motto for the year to be “Adaptability, Accountability, Advocacy.” Bryna and Darya shared “it’s important to show up for the things and people you care about.” They have come together the past few weeks to reflect upon what these words mean to them and invited the Nightingale community to do the same.

What has become clear to everyone is that the strength of the Nightingale community has not wavered. “One thing that has not surprised me” shared Alyssa Azeke ’29 “is that the Nightingale love is still alive. We are all still together in the same school. We are all still a part of Nightingale and no one is excluded. We are a strong community.” As we continue to navigate through the uncertainty of the new year, we must do so with that community and Nightingale love always at the forefront of our minds. “Take right now,” Student Council President Kalia Boutier ’21, urged “as an opportunity to help shape our future and the future of Nightingale.”

From the Class I pods to the senior class to the Hawks at Home, from floor to floor and across divisions, Nightingale students and staff began this school year as they have every year before: together. As President of the Alumnae Board Devon Beddard Carraher ‘96 reminded us “this is one of the most important lessons you will learn at Nightingale: when we work together—when we carry each other during hard times or heavy loads—we are unstoppable.” And like so many others, Stella Anderson ’25 points out “Nightingale [is the] place where I [can] open up and be my true self.”

To close the first Convocation of our second century, Head of School Paul A. Burke shared words of gratitude. Gratitude to the faculty and staff, the students and the entire Nightingale community: “I am thankful and proud to be enriched by your patience, your dedication, your strength, your resolve day in and day out here at Nightingale, because of each of you we are better.”