Convocation 2016

We held our Convocation last Friday September 9th and I wanted to pass along the remarks given by our Head Prefect Matt Danner ’17.

Hello everyone. For those of you returning, I hope you enjoyed your summer, it is great to have you back, and to the new students and faculty, Welcome to The Gunnery.

So far you have reached your point of destination. 99 Green Hill Rd, Washington, CT. You have unpacked your bags, registered for classes, been through orientation, met your dorm parents, teachers, advisors and peers,  you have joined a co-curricular and you have made it through a few nights in a dorm with no air conditioning. Well, not a bad start considering that everything you have experienced in the last few days changes from here on out. You will be juggling tests, homework assignments, practices, rehearsals, games, among other things. From this very moment on, your point of destination is endless. Try as many new things as you can, reach out to the people you share interests with, and ones you don’t. Expand your knowledge to everyone, and most importantly, enjoy what The Gunnery has to offer.

That being said, I often wonder how we as students ever have time to relax and enjoy the moment. In my two years here, I have learned that no matter how much work one might have, or how overwhelmed you might feel, the members of this community make the task at hand much more feasible than you first thought, while even making it enjoyable. More often than not, this isn’t intentional and is just a product of the character of this community. We hear time and time again from current and former students saying that the reason why they love The Gunnery so much is because of our great sense of urgency in our community, and how everybody is familiar, regardless of their grade, age, or passion. A fact that I know everyone here takes great pride in, and I know I, like many others, are looking forward to building relationships with each and every one of you.

This year I know will be no different, with leadership from the amazing groups of prefects, class reps, RA’s and Head Tour Guides, I know that school spirit will be at an all time high. As a student body it is our responsibility to support each other in any way we can by going to games and performances and showing that we truly care for the success of our peers, whether that be joining in a G-U-N-N cheer at a soccer game or giving performers your complete attention at the fall play. This overwhelming support is what separates us from other schools. We may be small in numbers, but we make up for it in heart and sincerely caring that our peers succeed, contributing to their success and in return they do the same for us.

When I talk about this I can’t help but mention last years boys hockey playoff game at Avon when virtually the whole school was there to support, despite the fact that they had to endure early study hall to be able to attend, I know every member of the team felt the immense push the school spirit provided which gave us an edge that helped us win.

Well here we are, 262 days until we meet again here in the meeting house for commencement at the end of the school year. That means you have 262 opportunities to show your support for your school and peers, work as hard as you possibly can at practice, work on becoming a better student and friend and make a difference here that leaves this campus better than when you found it.

Before I finish up here I figured that, considering I have already successfully completed 4 years of high school, I thought I would pass along some advice to each grade. First of all freshmen, I know high school might seem daunting at first but before you know it you’ll have friends that you wouldn’t be able to live without and you will have found something you are truly passionate about, but too find that passion you may need to wander out of your comfort zone, so just go for it. Sophomores, you’re no longer freshmen so you know the ropes, but remember what you may have been feeling when you were in their shoes, never be afraid to go out of your way to help a freshman feel comfortable in their new surroundings, it goes a long way. However, still appreciate and use the opportunity to learn from the upperclassmen. And don’t worry before you know it you’ll be on GunnJuniors wifi. Juniors, your junior speech is not as awful as you think it’s going to be, with the community we have here everybody is supportive of you no matter the topic of your speech. And seniors, I’ve only had about three months of experience as a senior but what I learned was enjoy every minute of it, go to every event you can, hangout on senior rock, and take advantage of 10:30 check-in on Friday nights because before you know it the girls in Van will have sticky notes on the window that are counting down the days, and you will really begin to realize how special this place is. So go out and enjoy it while you can! In 262 more days, I will be standing right here, in front of you reading a speech which includes many of the great moments of the year that had just passed. Use these days to get the most of your Gunnery experience by embracing what makes this community feel like home.

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