September 13, 2022
Four students; four unique messages.
At Cheshire Academy’s annual Convocation ceremony, held Friday, Sept. 9, students, families, faculty, and staff heard about the experiences that four CA students have had during their time at the school.
As is tradition, Convocation began with a processional organized on the Kevin D. Slaughter Memorial Field. Led by senior faculty Chip Boyd and Laura Longacre, the processional followed the footpaths throughout campus many have walked before, ultimately arriving at the new turf and track at the Simosa Field and Track. Bagpipe music was played by Levon and Jesse Ofgang.
Patrick Sullivan III ’23, a full International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme student, peer mentor, senior class officer, and two-sport athlete, was the first to address the audience, reflecting on his three years at CA. He looked back upon his 9th-grade year, when he quickly recognized the diversity present on campus. During his first day, he met students from Turkey, Ghana, Nigeria, Korea, and other countries.
“To the rising freshmen and incoming students of all grades, there is no time like the present to meet new people and to spend the valuable time with friends that we have missed out on for the last couple of years,” Sullivan said. “Trust that if you approach anyone at school, you will be met with a smile, whether they are in all of your classes, none of your classes, or whether you do an activity together or not. Everyone here is friendly.”
Following Sullivan was McKenzie Krow ’23, a fellow full IB student, dorm prefect, active member of several clubs, and treasurer of the Black Student Union. Krow reflected on her upbringing, praising her mother for instilling in Krow the values of being a hard worker, persevering, taking initiative, being a team player, and thinking for herself. She urged her classmates to follow some of the same values this year.
“I’d like to encourage you all to have a genuine curiosity for how people and things work,” Krow said. “Try to welcome opportunities to problem solve. It’s how we grow both academically and individually. It is important to learn to be adaptable to change, malleable to the unexpected, yet calm when things go wrong and urgent to resolve issues. It’s important that we all try to immerse ourselves in CA’s grandeur and innumerable learning opportunities it serves to provide. Avail yourselves to everything it has to offer and let your unwavering spirit of academic excellence shine through your efforts all year round.”
Artan Redzepi ’23, a two-sport varsity athlete, co-leader of the Peer Mentors, secretary of the National Honor Society, and student ambassador, talked about the support that his friends, teachers, and advisors provided him during times when he felt “lost” and unsure whether or not he would be able to manage everything presented to him.
“They have pushed me to become the best possible version of myself,” Redzepi said. “That is why I think I can comfortably say that coming to Cheshire Academy has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The relationships that the Cheshire Academy community fosters have enabled me to not only grow as a student, but also as a member of our society.”
Osajie Imevbore ’23, student body president, full IB student, dorm prefect, member of the Black Student Union, and two-sport athlete, was the last student to address the audience. He spoke about his upbringing in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, and his first weeks at CA in January 2021. A self-perceived confident and focused student, a few of Imevbore’s friends insisted on showing him around campus. Imevbore spoke highly of inclusivity, which he believes “is the act of making someone feel important in a space, and that their presence is the puzzle piece needed to complete a difficult puzzle.”
“I’d like to leave you with a modified version of a quote from Richie Norton, ‘We all deserve a circle of inclusivity and positive influence, but it’s up to us to create it,’” Imevbore said. “So, to my peers, I would like to challenge us all to actively engage in our community while respecting the uniqueness of the individual. And remember, one smile can start a friendship, one word can end a fight, one look can save a relationship, and one person can change your life. It is indeed a small world and no one should feel lost in it.”
Head of School Julie Anderson P‘19,’23, spoke about the community at Cheshire Academy, and how she considers the school her home. She joined CA in 2003 and has stayed since, despite many changes in her life, fully benefiting from the school community.
“We have just completed our first week of classes for the 299th school year at Cheshire Academy,” Anderson said. “For some of you, it is your fourth year at the Academy; for others, it may be your first. As we begin this new school year, keep in mind your commitment to this community. Show up. Know that there is work to be done and, in our world, wounds to heal. But understand with 100% certainty that if you commit yourself to the Cheshire Academy community, together we have the power to embrace, include, support, and stand up for one another. Be you, be brave, be strong, and make this community a place you call home.”
Musical performances included The National Anthem by the 1794s a cappella group and Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” by Kamden Denomme ’23 and Jackson Rafferty ’23.