“Good morning, McDonogh School! I am a morning person and am bursting with joy that we are all back together as a community,” said an exuberant Head of School Dave Farace ’87 at Opening Convocation on the morning of Wednesday, August 28. His remarks followed a procession of prefirst and first grade students, escorted down the hill hand-in-hand with the senior class and an inspiring invocation by Director of Character and Service Bridget Collins ‘90.
After welcoming new students, faculty, and staff, including McDonogh’s new Associate Head of School Kate Mueller, Farace encouraged the gathering to push beyond their comfort zone in the coming school year. “I believe you live your best life on the edge of your comfort zone,” he said. “It will look and feel different for each person, but we all know when we are there because we experience that curious blend of excitement and fear.”
“The point is, when you challenge, push, and stretch yourself, sure, you will have a few failures along the way, but you will also grow as a person and lead a much richer, more vibrant life,” he concluded.
Student speakers also issued challenges for the year. Senior Class President Jesse Plank encouraged each member of the community to practice kindness, and Kare C. ’24 focused on inclusivity, gratitude, and joy. She also shared her favorite of John McDonogh’s Rules for Living. “Time is gold; throw not one minute away, but place each one to account,” she said. Representing the Lower School were prefirst students Riley W. and Declan C., who congratulated the senior class and wished the community a good year.
Convocation ended with the ringing of the school bell. Farace broke with tradition when he asked longtime faculty members Bob Mahon and Jon Aaron ’72, who have been teaching at McDonogh for 43 years each, to ring the school bell to officially start the new school year. Watch Convocation here.