In addition to remembering September 11, 2001, this year's speakers offered their perspectives on uncertainty, trust, integrity in the classroom, and the importance of accuracy.
Convocation, the official opening of Pingry’s school year, 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. This year, the ceremony was held on Parsons Field, with the opening procession consisting of the Head of School, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Magistri—all proudly wearing their academic gowns, a tradition passed down from universities of the Middle Ages.
Here are highlights from this year’s remarks:
“You do not have to blindly accept only one side of the story. Question and debate . . . Twenty years ago tomorrow, this country survived an attack known to us as 9/11, brought to us by a regime that hates freedom and does not value education, only absolute power. So, today, treasure your freedom to question. Put your education to work . . . And now we’ll have a moment of silence to remember all those, including the Pingry people, who lost their lives on 9/11. Let us never forget.”
—Senior faculty member Miller Bugliari ’52, P ’86, ’90, ’97, GP ’20, ’24, beginning his 63rd year on the faculty
“It is imperative not to stress what is out of your control, but what scares us the most is the unknown . . . However, what you can control is how you prepare for these uncertainties. It is our job to prepare with integrity . . . The best way to be prepared for whatever uncertainties come our way is to have each other’s backs. We all deserve and need that safety net, that shoulder to lean on.”
—Student Body President Giles Burnett ’22
“A lot of us, as Giles has said, might feel a fear of the unknown, so now what? Where do we go from here? We are in what I like to call ‘uncharted waters.’ With so many factors out of our control, some things do remain constant . . . The Honor Code has proved its malleability to even the most jarring periods of uncertainty. The Honor Code is still alive and well during these unprecedented times. Respect yourselves, foster a genuine concern for others, be aware that many of us have been affected by Hurricane Ida, attend Town Halls to support your peers of color . . . Learn what you’re capable of.”
—Honor Board Chair Olivia Telemaque ’22
“Talking about the Honor Code is quite important to me for three reasons. First, I applied to Pingry because a friend of my parents was the President of the Class of 1926 and recommended that I apply—that Class wrote and approved the original Honor Code, so this friend was the first signature under the original Honor Code. Second, I sat in judgment of alleged violators of the Honor Code. It was an eye-opening and sobering experience. The responsibility weighed on me . . . and it played a role in my eventually becoming a lawyer. Third, and the most important, the Honor Code has influenced my behavior to this day . . . the Honor Code is a way of approaching your life . . . trust is part of every relationship.”
—Board of Trustees Chair Ian Shrank ’71
“I learned that you have to look around you to find all the details of the story. You can’t miss anything. I remember the relationships that I developed with the professors. You are so fortunate to be here at Pingry, working with amazing faculty who are always available to meet with you . . . and every classroom is a space for the common good. You need to think about the integrity you bring to the classroom . . . and the trust that exists in the classroom.”
—Head of School Matt Levinson, reflecting on a college history project for which he needed to write the history of an unknown object with complete accuracy—source it properly and tell the full story, not leaving out any details. Professors were available to help figure out questions. (The object was a Swiss fondue burner.)
Mr. Levinson also recognized the Magistri, faculty members who have taught at Pingry for at least 25 years. Collectively, this school year’s Magistri have served Pingry for 651 years!
Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review