Hun School begins 109th school year with appeal for ‘gratitude and kindness’

The Hun School celebrated the start of its 109th school year with a whole school convocation.

The theme of the day at the Sept. 9 convocation was “gratitude,” according to a press release from The Hun School.

High School student speaker Nia Oparaji, Class of 2023 reminded the crowd of the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which roughly translates to “I am because we are”.

“Here at Hun, we are all connected,” she said. “Understand that everyone really cares about you and is there to support you.”

Nia encouraged her classmates to immerse themselves in the school community.

College student lecturer Ryan Spicer, Class of 2027, agreed.

“Hun has been my home and my family,” Ryan said. He encouraged his classmates, including 16 new sixth graders, to have fun and make new friends this year.

Student performer Brendan Kelso, Class of 2023, played guitar and sang an original song, “Sentimental.” The song, he explained, is an expression of gratitude for how Hun helps students grow.

“Now I can see my potential/closer now than it’s ever been,” he sang.

Ted Shaffner, Junior Dean and 2022 Faculty President, explained the importance of gratitude during his keynote address and was specific about “the value of a community like ours.” He referenced Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and encouraged students to express their gratitude to those on campus who work tirelessly to ensure the conditions in which “little fish ideas” are nurtured.

“So I’m here today because of an award, and I’m proud of what my students have accomplished leading up to this moment, but the merit of the award also belongs to the people who clean the buildings and prepare the food,” he said. .

“It belongs to teachers discussing their creative ideas and struggles in class while playing a board game with me.

“It belongs to the administration and development office that prioritizes the student and teacher experience by creating new science and arts spaces, that funds professional development trips, and that has the vision and ethos working to push big fish ideas like NextTerm that redefine what it means to be educated in the 21st century,” Shaffner said.

After his remarks, Shaffner dubbed the 2022-23 school year “the year of gratitude.”

Gratitude to Hun School Principal, Jon Brougham

In his speech, Shaffner encouraged students to spend time with Brougham, who will retire at the end of the 2022-23 academic year. The two have known each other since before their time in Hun. Brougham hired Shaffner for his first-ever teaching job at a Virginia school before hiring him again at the Hun School.

“Mr. Brougham’s greatest skill is what all teachers seek – the ability to bring out the best in others,” Shaffner said. “He prefers to highlight those around him rather than trumpet his own accomplishments. .”

Shaffner encouraged students to remember that leadership is not a position of power, but of responsibility.

Council President Steve Wills also encouraged students to follow Brougham’s example.

“You can lead with words, but when those words are paired with actions, it makes all the difference,” he said. “By any measure, Mr. Brougham’s tenure has been transformational. Everything is improved, everything is better.

For his 12 years of service as a school principal, Brougham received the John Gale Hun Centennial Medal, which was created to recognize and recognize extraordinary leadership. He is the third person in school history to receive the medal.

A call for kindness

In his welcome address, Brougham addressed the 152 seniors and PGs (high school graduates) directly.

“You are going to run the school with your leadership,” he said. “Our community, we create it and recreate it every day. Between now and June, let’s not forget our responsibility to each other. Let’s be kind to one another.

Shaffner echoed the sentiment.

“Be weird, be grateful, be curious and be kind,” he said.

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