By Katie Reilly ’11
Since my freshman year, convocations have provided opportunities to learn more about life beyond Byfield. There are some that have remained the most memorable (Katie Koestner’s “Probable, possible, already happened” line caught on for a while) and some that have been informative (This year’s “The Thin Line” performance provided us with a new perspective on eating disorders.) But last week’s convocation stood out among dozens of others. With the DREAM Act vote taking place, the topic was perfectly-timed and highly relevant. The two part convocation made it more interesting as we were able to hear two sides of one issue from people who each had personal experiences with immigration. The speakers evoked a reaction that rarely results from other convocations. Students were more interested in the political topic, asking questions to the speakers and updating Facebook statuses with their thoughts and opinions.
Beyond the speakers, the members of the school community made the convocation even more impactful. I have a feeling that, had the convocation taken place at another school, the speaking might have sounded more like preaching to a group of people who couldn’t relate. However, because the Govs community includes students and faculty members who have personal experiences with immigration, the presentations were more meaningful. Classmates and teachers asked questions and provided comments about their own experiences that made the convocation relevant on a small scale as well. The Govs community is composed of people with unique backgrounds, interests and political affiliations. Last week’s convocation made it clear how much that can add to education, both in and out of the classroom.
By Aboubacar Okeke – Diagne
The opportunity to deliver a speech in front of the entire student body at Governor’s becomes a significant event for many of our students. Every Wednesday morning, a member of the community who has requested the stage, is given 15 minutes in the Mosey Chapel to speak about any chosen topic. Though there is no religious affiliation with these talks there are often lessons learned and inspiration shared. The speeches vary with each individual but they all strike a personal chord in such a way that the audience often laughs and cries in the same short morning assembly.
The journey starts with a simple e-mail to the academy president to express interest in making a chapel speech. Once receiving a confirmation date, students then begin the challenging path of figuring out what they would like to say to their classmates. Most of the people who chose to speak are seniors, so they are drawing upon four years of experience at the academy. Most choose to talk about a defining life moment. Often times speeches are inspirational to convey the importance of students, especially younger ones, to relax and enjoy their short time at school.
It is common for students to make claims that they have nothing profound to say at Chapel. But as the school year begins to accelerate and students realize they’ll never again have the chance to speak to their peers using such a unique outlet, they sign up for a date and wait for inspiration to come. Chapel Talks are perhaps even more important for these types of people because the talk itself becomes a defining moment. Inspiration often strikes the night before, during study hours, when they magically realize they have so much to say. Then they are forced to figure out exactly what they are going to tell people in the morning.
Once the speech is drafted and ready to go, the entire academy finds out a different and defining perspective on an event or an opinion that allows everybody to think a little be differently for the day.
By Aboubacar Okeke – Diagne
On Saturday, Oct. 9, hundreds of thousands of American teenagers, including the students at The Governor’s Academy, will take the SAT, college admissions test.
The wizards at the College Board have figured out how to on a much cheaper budget than anybody else ever, hold the future of graduating seniors in a trance of fear and make money in the process. Let us compare the SAT’s to the FIFA World Cup. For an American to have attended the matches it would have cost almost $5,000 to buy plane tickets, hotel rooms, and game passes. The event certainly holds the world on edge for a few days, but the cost is not cheap. However for about $50 a student, the Board will keep us on the edge of our seats for a few weeks. They have convinced us that our scores on the exam will matter so much for our future thanks to the College Admissions process. The better the school the better the job, the more money you will make. Somehow we are all scared straight to the books. And on Saturday we will all pick up our pencils and write for three hours and forty-five minutes in fear. But Saturday will not be the end of this scheme as the next three weeks will be full of suspense until students can log on to see their scores and learn of their fate.