By Jake Sumner, Dean of Student Life
One of my favorite parts of the day at Worcester Academy is before the first class period. I started greeting students at the front door of Kingsley a few years ago and I try to be there each morning and in between classes as much as I can. My advisees jokingly tell me that I am there only to ensure dress code is looking good on each respective morning, but in reality I am there because it is one of the few times a week that I get to see and say hello to most everyone on campus. Students greeting each other over their morning Dunkin’ coffees; others excited about the afternoon athletic contests, or furiously finishing up those last reviews of notes before the big test. Seeing everyone ready to take on each day and hearing words of encouragement shouted across the steps of Kellner Student Center or a hearty “Good morning!” to their friends continually reminds me of the fantastic community we are a part of. As with many things over the last nine months, those morning greetings with students have changed. But, with that change, I have been reminded in many others ways how our student community is special and how they make our school so unique.
In student life, there are always surprises, detours, and hurdles along the way. Frequently, events don’t go as planned, or you need to pivot your plan entirely and change the upcoming initiative due to any number of factors. March 2020 was the start of one of the most significant detours we have had to work through. That being said, these past nine months have shown us more of what we have always known about our student body. They are resilient in their academic and extracurricular efforts while forgiving and empathetic toward each other; they are ardent supporters of each other’s passions; they celebrate the diversity of voices and experiences on campus and in virtual spaces; and they always find a way to empower each other through positive experiences.
Our student leaders and Club Leaders have led the charge the past few months ensuring that our student body knows they have resources on this campus as they work through this incredibly unique and, at times, very difficult period. Our Pillars are running wellness campaigns on social media; the Board of Monitors started the Color Wars for friendly competition between grades; our Proctors, even at a distance, planned fun Dorm Cup events; the Class Officers hosted advisory games and led fundraisers; and Mr. Sullivan kept us engaged with his weekly events and widely popular faculty trivia.
In the midst of the difficulties of the last nine months, the student body at Worcester Academy did what it always does best. They were there for each other. The “Good mornings!” were not shouted across campus anymore and the Dunkin coffees weren’t enjoyed outside Kellner, but the camaraderie and community remained. That is and always will be my favorite view of the Hilltop. One of a vibrant student community built on support, trust, and empowerment.