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Head of School Chris Angel '89 Opens Baylor's 2023-24 School Year

Head of School Chris Angel '89 Opens Baylor's 2023-24 School Year

Baylor School's 2023-24 academic year began Wednesday, Aug. 16 with the traditional convocation ceremony taking place in the Field House, officially welcoming 1,080 students, including a record enrollment of 220  boarding students from four continents, 19 countries, and 26 states.  The event also marked the beginning of Baylor's 131st school year.

Following the procession of students selected to represent their class as flagbearers, veteran art instructor Betsy Carmichael carried the convocation flag, and Head of School Chris Angel '89 entered with the convocation banner.  Students carrying class flags were Hudson Ross ’30, Leah Gordon '29, Haelee Harris '28, Will Mayberry '27, Hank Etzler '26, Kennedy Ray '25, and Oliver Nimon ’24.

“We are Baylor - this unbelievably special place, and there is really nothing better than being a Red Raider, challenging ourselves in our classrooms and on our playing fields, in the arts, building lifelong friends along the way; however, there is an extra-special feeling on campus this year that makes me feel that this is going to be one that stands out among all those years in our rich history,” said Head of School Chris Angel '89 before ringing the same bell that was once used by founding headmaster John Roy Baylor at the start of school in 1893.  “I do passionately believe that this is going to be our best year yet, and I hope you each feel the positive energy and momentum as we begin this school year.”

Veteran Latin instructor and fencing coach Kristin Vines delivered the keynote address and was introduced by Middle School Head Emmie Treadwell. “Today’s speaker is the embodiment of magnanimitas. In her 33 years at Baylor, she has taught in both divisions at all levels from sixth grade to post AP, she has led middle schoolers through Disney and (Washington) D.C. more times than one can count, and she has coached Baylor’s fencing team through it all,” said Treadwell.

“Latin has many great authors who have many great things to say,” noted Vines, before delivering a verse in Latin by the poet Ovid, which roughly translated it reads:  What we have been, and what we are, we will not be tomorrow.  

“Who knows where the things that you enjoy will take you? Have you even discovered the things that will determine your life?  I hope not.  I hope that you will take this year -- your time at Baylor -- to explore new things.  Things you never thought to try. You might like them, and you might not. But you will know more about them, and you will know more about yourself. And take time as you do this to give grace to those around you,” said Vines.

In closing, she reminded students to show kindness to those around them who are trying something for the first time. “We have all been novices who were helped by someone else. In the words of Lewis Carroll, from Alice in Wonderland, ‘I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed a few times since then.’ May your time at Baylor change you, bringing you a better understanding of yourself, of others, and of magnanimitas.”

Veteran Latin instructor and fencing coach Kristin Vines delivering the keynote address.

The invocation was delivered by Peter Fischer ’24, and the pledge of allegiance was led by Elizabeth Agner ’28.  A special welcome was delivered by members of the school's international community with a greeting in their native language.  Honor Council Chair Ella Marks '24 delivered remarks explaining the significance of Baylor's Honor Code, and Olivia Cranford ’24 gave the benediction. The Baylor Concert Choir sang the Alma Mater under the direction of Vic Oakes and the Baylor strings orchestra directed by Ben Sposet played processional music.

See full convocation, including Kristin Vines speech in the video below (note, it may take a few seconds to load).