School Welcomes New Students with In-Person Orientation



Preps pick potatoes at Fairfield Farm.

After a year of social distancing and online learning, the school welcomed 181 new students with a student-led in-person orientation. 

Starting on September 3, new students participated in three days of orientation. Beginning with a speech by Mr. Craig Bradley, head of school, this year’s activities included icebreakers, campus tours, a pub-style trivia game on school traditions, and class bonding activities. In the evenings, new students participated in dorm orientations and mixers with their peers and proctors, learning dorm guidelines and residential norms. 

The arrival of these new students puts the school’s total enrollment at 622 students. The administration put much thought into adapting orientation to meet the school’s COVID safety guidelines. Ms. Christie Rawlings P ’12, ’14, ’19, Summer Programs director of admission & residential life, said, “The biggest challenge was remaining open to all the changes that might happen because the coronavirus continues to influence how we meet in person. On a more personal level, it was a challenge to organize events for students to run without knowing most of the Orientation Leaders!”. 

For the new students that were in quarantine, orientation was held online. The School was committed to offer engaging activities to the students safely, and quarantined students had the opportunities to participate in various virtual activities and games.

Mrs. Christy Cooper, Prep class dean and instructor in English, looks forward to getting to know her students. She said, “The prep class fully engaged with all of the opening days’ activities. Our time at the farm was wonderful, and we were lucky to have a beautiful day. I also sense that they are very much enjoying getting to know each other after a long wait!”

Returning students, many of whom served as Orientation Leaders, expressed their support and excitement for the return to in-person programming. Alejandro Zheng ’24 said, “Compared to last year’s virtual orientation, this year’s in-person events allowed me to better engage with the new students. It was extremely rewarding to build personal connections with my orientees, whether it was through playing card games or having conversations at lunch.” 

One of the most important events of orientation was Convocation, which took place on Tuesday, September 7, the night preceding the first day of classes. Following a procession around campus by dorms, the new school year was ushered in with speeches from Mr. Bradley, Dr. Jason Larson, director of religious & spiritual life, and Sydney Goldstein ’22 and Izhaar Rosa ’22, all-school presidents.

Matriculation for new students from this year and last year will take place this Saturday, September 11. Students who were new during the 2020-21 school year never participated in the official matriculation ceremony due to COVID. Additional grade bonding as well as dorm mixers will continue throughout the year.