Baylor School's 2022-23 academic year began Wednesday, Aug. 17 with the traditional convocation ceremony taking place in the Field House, officially welcoming 1,042 students, including 200 boarding students from 18 countries and 24 states. The event also marked the beginning of Baylor's 130th school year.
Following the procession of students selected to represent their class as flagbearers, veteran administrator and former coach and athletic director Austin Clark carried the convocation flag, and Head of School Chris Angel '89 entered with the convocation banner. Students carrying class flags were Iris Ann Combs '29, Levi Sixto '28, Ashley Yim '27, Olivia Newton '26, Noah Miles '25, V.A. Polk '24,and Rhet Johnson '23.
The invocation was delivered by Baylor senior AC Arnold '23, and the pledge of allegiance was led by Luke Allen '27. A special welcome was delivered by members of the school's international community with a greeting in their native language. Honor Council Chair Marguerite Pippenger '23 delivered remarks explaining the significance of Baylor's Honor Code, and Caleb Hampton '23 gave the benediction. The Baylor Concert Choir sang the Alma Mater under the direction of Vic Oakes.
Using mosquitos as a metaphor, retired faculty member Dr. Dan Kennedy gave the keynote address about starting a new school, a new grade, and trying to navigate life as a student. "It's tough being a sixth grader trying to figure out how to be an eighth grader. It's tough for a ninth grader starting upper school so far behind the seniors. It's tough for a senior to imagine life beyond Baylor. In fact, education would be nothing but a series of painful transitions, were it not for the fact that we can all show each other the way," said Kennedy. "A sixth grader only has to become a seventh grader; a seventh grader only has to become an eighth grader, and so on. Each small step is a bit of human metamorphosis that helps to define the person you are always in the process of becoming. Baylor fosters this growth process so well that you might not even appreciate how far you have actually come by the time you are a senior. That is, until you turn around and see a sixth grader and wonder how that ever could have been you."
He concluded by encouraging students to "embrace your painfully slow human metamorphosis for all that it's worth and enjoy a great year helping each other to grow. Not only will you enjoy a happier year in the Baylor pond, but as a direct result, so will the adults. There is nothing that brings a teacher greater joy than watching children grow into capable, caring human beings who are ready to make a positive difference immediately, right here in the pond that you all call home."