Convocation - Community is a Choice
Headmaster Charlie Cahn formally welcomed 135 new students and seven new faculty members to the start of Suffield’s 185th academic year on September 11. He spoke about two of Suffield’s core fundamental values: respect for all people and intolerance of discrimination. He also acknowledged the remarkable careers of three faculty members that will retire next June: David “Rocky” Rockwell ’58, P’79, ’82, ’86, ’88 (54 years), Barry Cleary P’02, ’05 (37 years), and Kim Wiggin P’06 (17 years).
Addressing a sum of 414 students from 19 states and 36 countries, student body president Michael Robidoux ’18 followed Headmaster Cahn’s greeting and talked about the exciting year ahead, one he said will be filled with spirit and adventure. “I want the spirit of Suffield pride to be stronger and louder than ever,” he encouraged. “Take the opportunity to make this year an adventure. The more you challenge yourself the more you will gain.”
Rocky spoke about his time at Suffield as a student, a teacher, and as a parent and grandparent. “Sixty years ago today I sat where you all sit right now,” he said. “Who knows what the year will bring? I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. Education goes far beyond the classroom. My motivation and satisfaction has always been you: the student.” With final words of mentorship, Rocky advised, “Be active participants in life. Life is a dance; don’t stop until you’ve heard the last song.”
Academic Dean Sara Yeager closed Convocation by discussing the year’s school theme of community. Traveling to Florida this summer by train she described the experience she had engaging with passengers and reflecting on the concept of community. “I hope this year at Suffield will be for you like my train trip was for me,” she said. “You have a chance to be something bigger than yourself. When we are vulnerable and share ourselves with others, we become closer. Community is a choice.”
As the academic year gets underway, Suffield’s emphasis on kindness and community is apparent all around campus. This is a school united—as teachers, as students, and as leaders—respecting others and encouraging excellence.