Convocation - Tradition with a Twist

Convocation is a long-standing Millbrook tradition intended to welcome students and faculty to the start of the new school year and to share inspiration, particularly around the core value of the year. This year, opening days culminated with Convocation on Tuesday, September 15th, and while the warm feeling and reverent tone were reminiscent of years past, the service looked a bit different.

VIth formers, well spaced-out in seats across the Flagler Quadrangle, enjoyed a perfect September evening as the sunset behind the Flagler Memorial Chapel. Faculty. led by students bearing flags from their home countries, processed down brick pathways and took their seats on either side of the Class of 2021. All other students joined in virtually as Headmaster Drew Casertano, Chaplain Cam Hardy, and prefects Sam Smith and Sophie Stark took their places just outside the chapel doors.

Headmaster Drew Casertano opened his address to the Millbrook community by sharing a story of personal challenge and ultimate success, which led into the confirmation of the challenges we face as a school this year.

The challenges of this fall are real for us all. We are restricted in our movements and the ways we can experience Millbrook. That can be disappointing, and it will be uncomfortable. Still, we are here…together. And we want to stay here…together. That is powerful motivation, and no one feels it more than the VIth form, the class of 2021.

There is a path forward. [We have] clear direction. Wash our hands, wear our masks, and keep our distance. Yes, six feet! Do that and we can make this work. The science is conclusive.

There will be silver linings. The brightest of those linings is that we are here, in school, when so many aren’t. The most precious of the silver linings will be what we all will learn from embracing the difficulty, discomfort, and uncertainty of this moment; of learning to deal with the inevitable challenges that life brings with optimism, empathy, and courage, which means managing our anxiety, fear and the impulse to judge. 

We are in this together. We will benefit from the care and support of friends, advisers, teachers, and our families. And we will look for ways to return the favor whenever we can.

Added to the challenge of creating a community that is safe and healthy physically, will be the opportunity to build one that is explicitly anti-racist, inclusive, and just, to fulfill the founder’s vision of educating Millbrook students to be productive citizens in a democratic society. This is our commitment, with much work done with alumni, students, faculty, and staff during the spring and summer, and with much more to be done. That work that can be accomplished far more effectively in a room, than on ZOOM. 

We can do this. As we continue on this journey together, with the challenges we are sure to face, let us honor [the school’s] legacy by mustering some mustang magic; let us offer some otter outrageousness. Let us be among the schools that demonstrate that this can work. That will be good not just for us, but for all.

Thus, with clear goals and great anticipation, 330 students began the 2020-2021 school year.

Visit our online photo gallery or our Millbrook in Motion page for images and video from all of Millbrook's Opening Days traditions, including Convocation. You can also read Headmaster Drew Casertano's full Convocation Address on the Special Ink section of our website.
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