Kevin Weaver ’20 Welcomes the LA Community to the 2019 – 2020 School Year
Groton, Mass. — As per the norm at Lawrence Academy, this morning’s all-school assembly — marking the start of the first day of classes — was student-focused.
That student-centered approach takes on many forms throughout a semester (year or career), but today LA’s 2019 – 2020 senior class president, Kevin Weaver, turned a mirror on himself and his classmates.
Turning inward, Weaver reminisced about his own first few steps at LA and how he came to be standing on the big stage addressing the community.
“When Mr. Scheibe approached me and said he wanted me to talk about the school mission, I was extremely excited because it’s near-and-dear to my heart,” said Weaver.
“The first time I read the school mission, I was sitting in this RMPAC back three years ago,” continued the senior. “Mr. Scheibe told me, my parents, all of the other new students and all their parents that here at Lawrence Academy; we’ll figure out who we are and we’ll be able to find out who we’re going to become.
“I remember that moment,” he added, “because it seemed like an extremely daunting task.”
With the four-year assignment in hand, Weaver — the freshman — asked himself: “How am I going to figure out what I’m going to become? That’s big.”
However, today’s Kevin told the RMPAC hat there wasn’t one big decision to make. No, Weaver explained that becoming one’s true self is a lifelong process that begins with many little choices; many of them made in high school.
“When you’re figuring out who you want to become, it’s down to the day-to-day; it’s down to the moment,” he emphasized. “Figuring out who you want to become is sitting with new kids cause you want to make new friends at your new school.
“Figuring out who you want to become is thinking all summer and realizing, ‘You know what, this year I’m going to push myself. This year I’m going to take an honors class.
“Figuring out who you want to become is finding your comfort zone, and realizing the right time to step out of it and try new things.”
And this was Weaver’s most crucial point.
“This is the perfect time to try new things,” said Kevin. “All of you freshmen out there… [three] years ago I said I wanted to be up here.
“And I realized the only thing stopping me was me.
“So, everyone, welcome to Lawrence Academy,” he said.
Summer was over and there was a necessary rise in the timbre of activity from the adults, all of whom were working their hardest to make the first few moments on campus as comfortable as possible for new and returning families.
But there, in the middle of it all, were Lawrence Academy’s student leaders — peer counselors, proctors, ambassadors, and Elm Tree Society members — ready to steady the hand of any nervous freshman (or uptight adult).
“Not only have the student leaders helped welcome and ground new students and families, they’ve made ME feel both comfortable and excited heading from summer into the school year. What a welcome and welcoming sight!”
Head of School, Dan Scheibe
As a result, this past weekend’s welcoming activities, practices, and — yes — there was some downtime, went off without a hitch. To which Mrs. Margraf, LA’s assistant head of school, this morning mused via email:
“If you see a student leader on campus, (decorated in tie-dye today), please give them a huge shout” out! They are working incredibly hard!”
Assistant Head of School, Libby Margraf
We’re all proud. But, honestly, nobody is surprised.
This is what LA leaders do: they rise to the occasion. But here in September (!) with the first of autumn’s leaves turning color, there’s just something spectacular about seeing all of the kids — and they are kids — stepping up to give a hand to their fellow students, as well as the faculty and staff.
Head of School Dan Scheibe told a packed Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (that’s RMPAC for you newbies), “It’s all new… It’s all good.”
An important message for everyone attending Athletic Preseason Registration to be sure; after all, each person in the building — parent/guardian or student-athlete — is preparing for another school year. Some boarding, some day. Some varsity. Some JV. Some nervous. Some confident. All (secretly) hoping they’re ready for an unknown 2019-2020.
However, there were the words on the screen: It’s All New… It’s All Good
Sad to be leaving home/student? NBD. It’s not goodbye. Instead, “It’s ‘Hello, until the next time we see you,'” said Mr. Scheibe. Nervous? Anxious? New or returning? “That’s good energy… Use it,” emphasized LA’s Head.
“I think what it’s really important to capture, and we’ll do this a few different ways while we’re still feeling new, is just that sense of renewal and energy that you get at the beginning of a school year,” he said. “And for those of us who have repeated that cycle — basically our entire lives — there’s nothing like it.”
However, the uniqueness of that cycle isn’t because of the required renewal. It’s unique because of what it anticipates.
“Yes, there’s a lot of new and different stuff happening, but… the most important thing that happens in a human’s life happens in a school year,” said Dan. “That’s developing your sense of who you are, becoming, we are going to become and getting this incredible sense of empowerment. “
Perhaps sensing the necessary juxtaposition between the Head of School before them, and the first-year students sitting in the audience, Dan brought out pictures of his own initial moments in prep school.
“At the same time [as we begin anew], we know we’re also becoming something else and somebody else,” said Dan. “So just to kind of make that point, please go to the next, uh, horrific slide.”
There stood young Dan Scheibe, like all new students, unaware of where he’d be 37 years later; carrying the benefit and the burden of “potential” – and, admittedly, all nerves in the moment.
“That’s the energy of you looking forward to something and about to become something,” said Scheibe, pointing to the teen in well-branded athletic gear. “There is a universality to it.”
So, whether it’s your first year at LA or your 38th, best wishes to everyone in the community during the 2019 – 2020.
Lawrence Academy is pleased to host Think:Kids on October 4, 2019, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM in the Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center.
Think:Kids, a program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), is pleased to offer a one-day training program led by Dr. J. Stuart Ablon, the Founder and Director of Think:Kids & Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.
For more information, details on the program and presenter, and how you can register please click here: http://bit.ly/31TAEIu
Who is welcome: Families, educators, social workers, and all adults working with youth to a day of training in how to shift your thinking about challenging kids and how to understand their challenging behavior.
The day’s programming: Think:Kids’ Introductory Training provides a foundation for professionals and parents interested in learning the evidence-based approach to understanding and helping children and adolescents with behavioral challenges called Collaborative Problem Solving®. This Intro. training serves as the prerequisite for our professional intensive training seminars (Tier 1 Training & Tier 2 Training.)
The Collaborative Problem Solving® approach focuses on helping adults teach the skills these children lack while resolving the chronic problems that tend to precipitate challenging behavior. Through lecture, videos, case examples and role plays, this one-day training will introduce how to help foster positive relationships with these children and encourage growth in areas of self-regulation, communication and problem solving.