The Class of 2020 is recognized and celebrated as school leaders.
The tradition of recognizing the senior class as the leaders of our school dates back to our Ward-Belmont era. At Ward-Belmont, the seniors revealed their class song, their class colors, and their "beanies" at a special assembly. This time was also marked by the class taking a pledge to transmit this school "not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to them."
Today at Harpeth Hall, the seniors create a theme for their year and designate a "hat" or accessory that accompanies that theme. Keeping faithful to tradition, they also take the same pledge as did the seniors before them.
Little more than three weeks ago, the class of 2020 revealed their theme "Go with the Flow in 2-0-2-0" at Opening Convocation. Today, these new seniors processed confidently into the Frances Bond Davis Theatre and took their place on stage for the Senior Recognition Assembly.
"Thank you seniors for a great start to the school year!" Jess Hill Head of School, said in her opening remarks. "This class needs no introduction as leaders in this community. They have started their leading with gusto," she said. "This assembly is an important school tradition that marks this time and acknowledges the leaders of our school."
Upper School Director, Armistead Lemon, also praised the girls for how they have begun the year. "Seniors, over the last few weeks we have been inspired by the tone you have set on campus with your camaraderie, and joy, not to mention your dancing skills. I have to say that Wednesday was the best club selection assembly we have ever had thanks to your ingenious leadership.
"We have invited you on stage today," Lemon continued, "to acknowledge the mantle of leadership that each of you is wearing this year. You are - to alter slightly the famous words of Teddy Roosevelt - the women in the arena this year. For those of you unfamiliar with this quote, I will share it with you: It is not the critic who counts; not the woman who points out how the strong woman stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena."
Borrowing from the class surfer theme, Lemon concluded, "There is no such thing as the perfect wave, just as there is no such thing as a perfect year. There are always challenges, and these test us and prepare us for the waves ahead. We trust that you have the maturity and the will to come together as a class in the difficult moments as well as in the wonderful ones. Our hope is that when you walk across the stage at graduation together, you will have achieved something far greater than you could achieve on your own."
Ms. Lemon then introduced Amy Gilmore, President of the Class of 2020.
Having been a Harpeth Hall student since 5th grade, Gilmore began, "For seven years, I've watched the excited, bright faced Seniors rush in for Opening Convocation, and wondered how it would feel when my time finally came to be a Senior: would I be happy, excited, scared? To be honest, it was all three," she said.
Gilmore spoke about leadership, asking the question: What makes a great leader?
"Frankly, watching the Class of 2020 interact with one another and everyone else on this campus should give you a pretty good idea," Gilmore answered. "Great leaders lift up their communities with positivity. At our best, even on those cold, gloomy days right before exam season hits, I can still pick out the voices of my classmates through the hall lifting each other up with a kind praise or an encouraging laugh."
Gilmore also questioned: Who gets to be a leader? Are we all?
"It's easy to think that if you don't hold an officer position or aren't the president of a club that you aren't really a leader," she said. "I'm here to tell you that leadership is more than a title; it's about holding the people around you to higher standards. It's being inclusive, even when it's terribly inconvenient. It's taking time to help someone understand a math problem, it's cutting into your free time to get the job done. Simply, it is the act of being kind and selfless."
Gilmore concluded, "To my surfin' seniors, I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve to make this school year the best one yet."
The senior class signature "hats" are cool, white sunglasses to complement their "Go with the Flow" theme. The assembly closed with the singing of the Alma Mater.
View the video from this event. Additional photographs will be available soon.