In a community that considers itself closely-knit, safe, and inclusive the opportunity to participate in a challenging conversation about race, access, and equality was a powerful one. Students and faculty prepared pieces to share including music, poetry, individual and group remarks. The celebration kicked-off with the return of two young alumni who performed music and spoke about what it was like to be a student at New Hampton School and transition to college as a Black female community member.
Additional community participation included students sharing "Let us be dissatisfied" comments on the community tree in the dining hall. sporting GSTA Husky Head stickers backed by the rainbow flag, and increased awareness, reflection and conversation.
Head of School Joe Williams wrapped up Friday's celebration with the remarks below:
I want to thank everyone that has contributed to our program today. We are fortunate to have your voice and your heart in our community.
Marcel’s performance moved me last night. The power and passion you brought to the stage was moving. I was left wanting more….
Briana and I share the common experience of attending Bowdoin College, though our experiences, in some ways, were vastly different. Thank you for helping me reflect and think about all the possibilities for New Hampton. And thank you for demonstrating a commitment to an important cause you are passionate about.
In thinking about our program today and what I might share, I have found myself preoccupied by the convergence of national events that will occur next week. On one hand there is the celebration of Martin Luther King’s life, followed by the transition of power between our first black president – who has demonstrated decency, compassion and empathy – and our new president – whose character and conduct is controversial.
What is the takeaway? That now, more than ever, there is both the opportunity and need for all of us to do our part to make a difference…to be our best self…to help New Hampton become its best self…and so on.
And now I will ask for your participation.
Please stand, stretch out a bit and hold the hand of the person to your right and left, so that we spread across the aisles and forward and back, so we are all connected.
If you knew me….you would know that dinner at my father’s house always begins with the holding of hands. This connection reinforces both the physical and emotional sense of being together and being reminded of the strength we derive from each other. A sermon of sorts would follow that prompts us to reflect on our good fortunes, remember loved ones who have passed or are struggling, and recall something relevant to world issues.
In the spirit of those dinners and as we close our program today, find strength in each other, value and build new relationships, and always remember that we are Better Together.
Watch a video re-cap of the Community Meeting or the alumni presentation on Livestream.