Opening Convocation 2022

On an afternoon in early September, Gilman officially ushered in its 126th school year. Led by bagpiper Duncan Moore '07, first graders and seniors paraded hand-in-hand into the stands at Chandlee Field ahead of a line of class flags. The Traveling Men sang the national anthem before Director of School Counseling Services Dr. John Mojzisek offered an invocation focused on "new beginnings, a new day, a new semester, and a new year, and a new chapter in Gilman history." School President Ben Weinfeld '23 and Senior Class President Brenner Enright '23 each gave a reading, the latter from a book by historian David McCullough.

Head of School Henry P. A. Smyth then took the podium and offered a warm welcome to the 2022-23 school year. He recited the passage from McCullough's work, which suggests that, at the end of the day, everyone really wants “to be useful and to feel like we belong to something larger than ourselves.“ He then talked about author David Brooks, who stresses the need for good morals to help communities function; Mr. Smyth said that developing good morals was as simple as being considerate, getting to know people, and being attentive to others.

He also told a story of his summer backpacking adventure to the Italian Dolomites — whose scenery, culture, and company were outstanding — where he found himself discussing leadership with a former Navy SEAL. The SEAL — a man who we can all agree knows a thing or two about leadership — suggested that instead of teaching everyone to be a leader, we should shift our focus to teaching everyone to set a good example. His point was that not everyone can be a leader all of the time, but that all of us can find simple and effective ways to make our communities the best they can be. To Mr. Smyth, the SEAL's thoughts on leadership tie directly into Gilman's mission statement and boil down to saying "Hey!" to others, being first-class citizens, practicing the Gilman Five, and showing up and showing love. When he concluded, the Traveling Men sang the School hymn, and Dr. Mo closed the convocation with a benediction.

Watch the convocation here.