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Convocation Opens 2022–23 School Year—and a New Era
Greg Waxberg

Pictured: Special Assistant to the Head of School Miller Bugliari ’52, Chair of the Board of Trustees Ian Shrank ’71, Head of School Tim Lear, Student Body President J.P. Salvatore ’23, and Honor Board Chair Stephanie Ticas ’23.

Convocation, the official opening of Pingry’s school year since 1987, is an event of reverence and tradition as Middle and Upper School students reaffirm their commitment to the Honor Code by submitting signed Honor Code pledges to the Student Body President and Honor Board Chair.* This year’s event was held on Parsons Field on September 9, with the opening procession consisting of new Head of School Tim Lear, Chair of the Board of Trustees Ian Shrank ’71, Student Body President J.P. Salvatore ’23, Honor Board Chair Stephanie Ticas ’23, and the faculty—all proudly wearing their academic gowns, a tradition passed down from universities of the Middle Ages.

Here are excerpts from this year’s remarks:

“Go outside the lines and try something new . . . Pingry is on a new path with a new Head of School, so let’s make it a positive, memorable year, with many more to come.”
—Senior faculty member Miller Bugliari ’52, P ’86, ’90, ’97, GP ’20, ’24, beginning his 64th year on the faculty

“When looking back through my core memories, especially at Pingry, I realized that they almost always come from interactions with others. So, I suggest that to make this upcoming year a good one, invest in our community. I am a strong believer in the idea that what you give to Pingry is what you are going to get back . . . this is an opportunity for us to make each other’s youth a joy to reminisce on later in life. Go to the next football game, go to the next LSU meeting, go to the Homecoming Dance, pay attention to what your peers say at Morning Meeting because, at the end of the day, those people will return the favor, improve your experience, and help you build those core memories.”
—Student Body President J.P. Salvatore ’23

“The Honor Code that we all share here at Pingry is crucial to our success because it gives us a guide, pointing out the good road to follow . . . [it] asks that our behavior be “based on personal integrity.” So, are we getting where we want to go in a way that we could look back on and be proud of? Are we performing to the best of our abilities? In addition to personal integrity, the Honor Code expects us to act out of “genuine concern for others.” So, how are we making people around us feel, on our way onward and upward? . . . Pay attention to those around you and the impact you are leaving behind on a daily basis.”
—Honor Board Chair Stephanie Ticas ’23

“We are all here, basically, for one endeavor—education. It is beyond argument that this endeavor cannot be accomplished alone—it is a very cooperative activity, not just between teacher and student within the four walls of a classroom, but also between student and student, and teacher and teacher, and all of them have to rely, to a large extent, on the people who work hard here who are not teachers, but make it all work . . . That means each and every one of you, personally, has a role to play in this endeavor. Every one of you creates the Pingry culture, the sense of belonging . . . Just three days ago, you may have seen a headline in The New York Times that read: “The Unexpected Power of Random Acts of Kindness”. Studies have shown that small acts of kindness have outsized positive impact on those who are being helped. It takes so little to help someone in what will be a meaningful way. It will make you feel better when you’re helping someone.”
—Board of Trustees Chair Ian Shrank ’71

“Why, if I continued to experience Middle School growing pains throughout high school, did I decide to become a teacher? What inspired me? What gave me that confidence and made me want to come back to Pingry? The answer is simple: it’s the people that I met here, my advisors and teachers and coaches . . . those individuals—and the community they formed—always seemed to be present, whether they were attending my cross country and track meets or stopping me in the hallway to say hello. My teachers supported me by being curious about me, by finding out what motivated me and what made me happy . . . I love the fact that the Honor Code mentions the word ‘community’ three separate times, urging us to think of others, to join our classmates, and to improve the places and spaces we inhabit . . . As we start the year together, let’s promise:

To show up for one another;
To attend as many games, plays, and concerts as possible;
To make good decisions, even when no one is watching; 
To be kind to each other—and to ourselves;
To ask for help when we need it;
To broaden our definition of success;
To let people in and learn their stories; 
and
To take pride in this amazing community.”
—Head of School Tim Lear

* The Honor Code pledge ceremony was initiated in 2007 by then–Student Body President Jessica Westerman ’08. Separately from Convocation, the Board of Trustees and all employees also sign the Honor Code every year.

***

Mr. Lear also recognized the Magistri, faculty members who have taught at Pingry for at least 25 years. Collectively, the 2022–23 school year’s 15 Magistri have served Pingry for 531 years!

Miller Bugliari ’52, Special Assistant to the Head of School (1959)
William Bourne, Physics Teacher (1984)
Charles Coe, Physics Teacher (1984)
Timothy Grant, Chemistry Teacher (1984)
Michael Webster, Middle School History Teacher (1987)
Thomas Keating, Upper School English Teacher (1988)
Donna Thau, Middle School Math Teacher (1989)
Patricia Wheeler, Middle and Upper School Drama and Dance Teacher (1990)
Dr. Andrew Moore, Music Department Chair (1993)
Miles Boyd, Visual Arts Department Chair (1994)
Shelley Hartz, Director of Community and Civic Engagement (1995)
Deirdre O’Mara, Biology Teacher (1995)
Ramsay Vehslage, Jr., Middle School Science Teacher (1995)
Stephanie Romankow, Drama Department Chair (1996)
Ann D’Innocenzo, Lower School Librarian (1997)

Watch the complete Convocation ceremony:

 


Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review