The school community gathered on Sunday evening in the Dublin Community Church to celebrate the official start of the 2019-2020 academic year. Faculty lined the walkway and clapped and cheered as students entered the church, a longstanding tradition at Dublin.
Students and families heard speeches from two faculty members and two students. Sara Doenmez, academic dean, welcomed everyone and spoke first. She quoted educator Bell Hooks who wrote about the classroom being a paradise of possibility and intellectual work being the labor of freedom which will challenge students to cross boundaries and create new visions for themselves and their communities.
Senior Benny Zhang spoke next about the value of challenging yourself and embracing the year with passion. He closed with, "You can be the best; you just have to give it a try."
Benny was followed by senior Celeste Hopson who talked about the importance of allowing change to happen – change within the community as well as in yourself. She said, "If you find something you like, expand it, and if you find something you don't like, enhance it.”
The Dublin Honors choir performed "As I Am" by Paper Birds from the balcony.
Rachael Jennings, chair of the English Department, talked about community and the opportunity we have as individuals and community members to lift others as we grow and change.
She referenced educator Shanterra McBride's professional development seminar for faculty at the start of the school year. Shanterra spoke about a Toni Morrison interview she had seen. Morrison said that all anyone wants when you walk into a new place is to have someone's face light up when they see you. Because when that person's face lights up, what they are saying is: I am glad you are here. Rachael closed with the thought that community is this: saying, thinking, letting your face light up to say: "I'm glad you are here."
Let the 2019-2020 year commence. We are glad you are here.