School NewsSep 9, 2022

updated Sep 9, 2022

125 and Counting!

Running boldly into a new year

The School’s 125th academic year kicked off in style on Wednesday morning, welcoming 70 new students into the community and celebrating the first of our annual traditions — signing the Book of the School.

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Centennial Hall for a Convocation ceremony that began with a procession of 9th graders, sophomores, and juniors. They, in turn, welcomed seniors, who each carried roses, a Miss Hall’s tradition honoring their leadership.

School President Cherish Buxton ’23 opened the program by ringing the School Bell that belonged to MHS founder Mira Hall. Addressing the community, Cherish noted the perseverance of the past two years, and she welcomed new students, adding that as they face challenges, they will persevere with help from those around them.

“In this cold Berkshire weather, I always felt like Miss Hall’s was my warmth,” added Cherish, who reminded returning students of their accomplishments and growth during their time at MHS. “Despite any difficulties you may face this year, remember that you will get through it. You will persevere.”

Cherish then introduced schoolwide and class officers before turning the program over to Head of School Julia Heaton. Ms. Heaton opened her remarks with the poem, “i am running into a new year,” by Lucille Clifton, noting that she wanted to open the year with energy, forward motion, and joy. Ms. Heaton also shared two intentions as a community: Bring back the fun and “Be Bold.”

Two-and-a-half years of school during a pandemic proved exhausting, added Ms. Heaton, who cited a theory posited by science journalist Catherine Price: When you combine fun with connection — to yourself and to others — you will feel more alive, more present, more purposeful. “I invite you to turn up the dial on ‘joyful and connected’ in all that is meaningful to you,” she said.

Pointing to the School’s mission of educating students who contribute boldly and creatively to the common good, and citing Mira Hall’s bold vision of founding a school for girls 125 years ago, Ms. Heaton noted that being bold requires leaving behind some of the past, letting go of old stories, and taking a chance, rather than waiting until everything is figured out. And, she added, boldness can be public and loud, or private and quiet.

In this cold Berkshire weather, I always felt like Miss Hall’s was my warmth.

School President

“As we celebrate our 125th anniversary, we will honor our bold history and envision an even bolder future,” Ms. Heaton said. “Whether you are 16 or 46, whether it is your first year at MHS or your 35th, I invite you to, in Lucille Clifton’s words let ‘the old years blow back like a wind.’ Let’s go running into this new year, with fun and boldness, together.”

After new faculty and staff were recognized, and service to the School honored — 35 years for Director of Music Debbie Duff and 20 years for Science Department Chair Donna Daigle! — new students were invited to sign the Book of the School, which lists the names of every student to attend Miss Hall’s.

“When you sign the Book of School, you show your commitment to the School’s core values — respect, honor, authenticity, and growth,” Ms. Heaton added. “You become part of the School’s 125 year history, present, and future. You become part of the global community of thousands of MHS students and graduates around the world.”

As new students signed the book, their “Bigs,” (formerly Big Sisters) shared fun facts about them. The program closed with the singing of the Alma Mater, followed by a procession of students through a corridor of applauding faculty and staff.

From there, it was on to the Front Hill for an all-school photograph to mark the start of what promises to be a fun — and bold — school year!

Convocation

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Centennial Hall for a Convocation ceremony that kicked off the School’s 125th academic year in style, welcoming 70 new students and celebrating the first of our annual traditions — signing the Book of the School.