In his first address to students, Head of School Matt Levinson P '21 shares his perspective on what it means to "hit the brakes."
The official opening of Pingry’s school year, Convocation is an event of reverence and tradition as Middle and Upper School students reaffirm their commitment to the Honor Code. Dressed up for the occasion, students stand for the formal procession of the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Head of School, Student Body President, trustees, and faculty, all proudly wearing their academic gowns, a tradition passed down from universities of the Middle Ages. Here are highlights from this year’s remarks:
“On New Year’s, many of us make resolutions that we try to keep. For the new school year, resolve to try a new subject, resolve to try something new in arts or athletics, make some new friends, smile at each other in the hallways, put down your phones and have an actual conversation, and practice gratitude.”
—Senior faculty member Miller Bugliari ’52, P ’86, ’90, ’97, GP ’20, ’24, beginning his 61st year on the faculty
“Failure is not frightening, and we should not assume that all failures are intrinsically bad. Our weaknesses and limitations are forces to be reckoned with, but knowing and embracing them is a process essential to our growth. The lessons you reap from failure are often learned painfully, but they will be far more valuable than all of those which you glean from your successes.”
—Student Body President Brian Li ’20
“Identifiers not only dictate how we see ourselves, but how we see others. Pingry has a similar identifier to the rest of us: the Honor Code. The lens of the Honor Code is one that cannot be understated . . . It is the attitude of trust and respect in teachers, coaches, and classmates . . . The community that the Honor Code invites is one where everybody is able to grow into themselves and not be afraid to take the necessary risks. At Pingry, there is a huge safety net of supportive classmates and faculty.”
—Honor Board Chair Emily Sanchez ’20
“Make a choice to banish divisive attitudes and behaviors, and commit to accepting and supporting your fellow classmates . . . Actively help your classmates achieve their full potential here at Pingry. Consider the Magistri Laudandi Award [presented at Commencement in June]: It is conferred on that student who graciously gives of herself or himself to help the school and fellow students, whose sense of purpose is for the greater good. While others may be identified as ‘the student most likely to succeed,’ this prize recognizes ‘the student who helps all succeed.’”
—Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Edwards ’78, P ’12, ’14, ’18
“As a driver, I’ve always struggled with whether I should accelerate or hit the brakes at a yellow light . . . I consider this a metaphor to talk about the Honor Code, and how we can help each other, as a community, slow down together. Once the school year starts, we will all be racing around . . . Take a moment to hit the brakes on whatever you’re doing, to pause, to think, to reflect, to think about your classmates and your role in the community.”
—Head of School Matt Levinson P ’21
In addition, Mr. Levinson shared that his initial conversations with faculty and staff have revealed their respect, admiration, and appreciation for the students. He also recognized the Magistri, faculty members who have taught at Pingry for at least 25 years. Collectively, the 20 Magistri on the 2019-20 faculty have served Pingry for 724 years!
Watch the Convocation ceremony.
Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer