School Gathers for Opening Convocation - News & Photos - McDonogh School

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School Gathers for Opening Convocation

“It is so wonderful, magnificent, marvelous, fabulous, incredible, awesome, and joyful to be together in person as a community,” said an exuberant Head of School Dave Farace ’87 at Opening Convocation on the morning of September 3. His remarks followed a procession of prefirst and first-grade students, escorted down the hill with the senior class and an inspiring invocation by The Charles W. Britton Director of Character and Service Bridget Collins ‘90.

After welcoming students, faculty, and staff, Farace shared McDonogh’s updated Mission, Vision, and Values statements. He concluded by saying, “I challenged myself to boil down what I just read to you in four words or less and here’s what I came up with: Be Good, Do Good. Be a person of character who commits to doing the greatest possible amount of good. I think I can describe our new statements in one word: Care. Care for yourself and care for others. That is McDonogh.”

Student speakers spoke about embracing change and new opportunities. 

Senior Class President Sydney Smith said, “Change can be a challenge, but instead of focusing on challenges, I want us all to focus on EMBRACING!” She encouraged everyone to do this “by concentrating on what’s in front of you; don’t worry about what’s behind you or ahead of you.” 

Aanya K. ’26 emphasized the importance of community along the journey. Whether learning a new language, trying a new sport, or mastering the concept of a combination lock on your locker, she said, “There may be challenges you cannot face yourself, and it’s okay to need help from your peers and educators. What is so special about the McDonogh community is that you will always make new friends who will help you through the challenges, big and small. 

Representing the Lower School, prefirst students Katie L. and Bowen S. congratulated the senior class and wished the community a good year.

Convocation ended with Farace asking Bob Mahon and Jon Aaron ’72, McDonogh’s longest tenured faculty members, to ring the school bell to officially start the new year. When the bell was nowhere to be found, the duo quickly EMBRACED the moment and engaged the audience in their own rendition of “If I had a Hammer,” singing: If I had a bell, I’d ring it in the morning; I’d ring it in the evening; I’d ring it all over this land; I’d ring out love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land!”

Watch Convocation here.