Wearing their green and gold Cougar colors, Collegiate School’s entire student body — including Kindergartners atop their senior buddies’ shoulders — marched into the Seal Athletic Center this morning for the School’s annual school-year celebration.
After the singing of the national anthem, Upper School SCA co-presidents Eliza Goggins and Shaan Kapadia, both seniors, addressed the audience. Referencing her well-worn copy of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
by Robert Fulghum, Eliza shared that Fulghum's prose got her thinking: “All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be” I learned at Collegiate,” she said. She asked 4th Graders to stand and reminded them that they are the leaders of the Lower School.
Shaan then talked about how he has embraced mindfulness and urged fellow students not “to be in autopilot” mode, but rather live each moment deliberately and nonjudgmentally. He invited 8th Graders to stand and urged them to be exemplary leaders of the Middle School. (Excerpts from their speeches are below.)
Middle School Council co-chairs, Daisy Storey and Rohan Agarwal, spoke about kindness and respect. They were followed by the Collegiate jazz band and Camerata chorus group, who performed Aretha Franklin’s signature song Respect.
Head of School Steve Hickman applauded all of the students who performed and spoke during the program and expressed gratitude for today’s Convocation gathering, which was canceled several times last fall due to inclement weather.
He expounded upon the power of symbols and why they matter, including those at Collegiate. Green and gold represent growth and enlightenment while the Cougar mascot symbolizes leadership, he said.
“In the future, when you don the green and gold, when you high-five Cougie and cheer on your fellow Cougars, remember what these important symbols represent,” said Mr. Hickman. “They are a part of who we are for a reason. I promise you that they will be with you for a lifetime.”
To conclude, Mr. Hickman addressed the Class of 2018, telling seniors that they represent the very best of what it means to wear green and gold and to be a Cougar.
“You are now the standard bearers for something that represents over 100 years in the making,” he said. “So stand tall, lead well and finish strong.”
Before marching into Convocation with their Kindergartners, seniors spent time in the classroom with their young friends, bonding over crafts and games, books and conversation.
Speech Excerpts from Eliza Goggins
This place has taught me:
Say “thank you.”
Sing loudly — whether it’s in 1st Grade music class, 5th Grade chorus or the Upper School musical and especially when singing the alma mater at Convocation.
Hold the door for other people.
Include everyone in your Four Square games at recess.
Reflect when you make a mistake. Learn from it, then move on.
Be persistent. Keep on looking for Dr. Hunter’s pumpkins even if you don’t think you’ll find one.
Tuck your shirt in and don’t forget your belt at home.
Be spirited. Go all out with green and gold. Wear mismatched socks, paint your face, add a tutu.
Make new friends. Cherish them.
You are never to old to have fun at Pep Rally. Or VGF or a Collegiate basketball game.
Don’t cut corners on your laps in Lower School PE.
Serve others, both in the Collegiate community and outside of it.
Play sports. Even if you aren’t athletic.
Try new things. Learn to mountain bike, sign up for dance, join robotics.
Be curious, be passionate, be deliberate.
Remember everyday that you are a promise to the world. With a capital P!
Yes, at Collegiate we learn how to do long division and how to say “How are you?” in French and the difference between a comma and a semicolon, but at its core this place is teaching us how to be responsible citizens, loyal friends, leaders and all-around good people. So while we will all inevitably leave Collegiate one day, we can do so with confidence that we have been taught the basics. Collegiate is giving us a framework to build on and it is doing that daily through its dedicated faculty and staff. Every day at Collegiate, our teachers are shaping us to be our best selves. They are setting an example of the kind of people that we should want to grow up to be. They are holding us to high standards and challenging us to to always do the right thing. I want to personally thank all the teachers, coaches and administrators who have molded me and taught me all that I’ve learned. When I grow up, I hope that I can be the kinds of people that you all have exemplified for me. I’m sure all of your students share my gratitude.
Speech Excerpts from Shaan Kapadia
I spent most of my Collegiate career waiting for the next milestone or privilege . . . I would always think the grass was greener on the other side, and as soon as I reached the next milestone, I would look for the next one.
Anywhere you will go it is tempting to not live in the moment, but rather strive to the next thing. The three most common reasons why we are not are because of comparisons, lack of time and what I call “being in autopilot.” Comparisons serve little to no point in improving one’s self. Guess what? There is always going to be someone who you think is smarter than you, has it easier than you, but thinking about them is incredibly unproductive because not only does it puts you in a bad mood, it distracts you from working on improving yourself. Secondly, we all feel like time is an issue and we are constantly looking for the next break or vacation. While I agree that breaks are immensely important, looking for the next break can cause you to miss the little things that are happening all around you. Finally, “being in autopilot” is when one forgets to be aware of things that seem ordinary. For example, if you are reading a book and you go through an entire page after looking at each word like you would if you read it, but having no idea what it actually said. In other words, don’t spend your time here like you are reading through the SparkNotes, read the book and savor the details.
At Collegiate, opportunities abound all around us. Our phenomenal faculty plants the seeds of inquisitive, respectful and kind human beings in all of us every single day. Not realizing the gift your teachers have given you and taking advantage of everything Collegiate has to offer would be foolish. Believe it or not, these last 12 years have flown by. So, I encourage all of you to experience Collegiate, not just attend it. Reach out to your teachers, they are always the first ones to pick you back up after you slip. Get to know them. Get involved in something that you didn’t think you would normally have done. It is not the tests, the long nights or the stress that you are going to remember in 10 years, it is the lessons you learned, the time you spent here and the friendships that you created.