Dr. Hill addressed Agnes Irwin students this morning at our annual Back to School Assembly. Below are her remarks to our entire student body.
Welcome to the beginning of our 2018-2019 school year!
It is great to bring everyone together on the first day of school. We have our Back-to-School assembly to recognize the new year as a group, as one school. We take time out to say something special is happening — a new school year! This year all of us will grow and learn new things; we will develop as learners, and as leaders.
To celebrate that we are one school spanning many grades and the wonderful educational journey Agnes Irwin provides, our seniors have escorted our youngest students to this special assembly this morning. What you may have noticed, is that our Pre-Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners are wearing newly designed uniforms! Their tunics are made of the same plaid pattern as the upper school kilts. This continuity in fabric symbolizes the AIS journey from preschool to senior year.
For more than eighty years, girls have proudly worn skirts, kilts, and tunics identifying them as students of The Agnes Irwin School. The AIS uniform has taken on a few different shapes and styles throughout the years, but, as we shared in the summer issue of our School’s magazine, the uniform “remains a common thread of the AIS experience.”
Uniforms. Why? Why do you, the students, wear uniforms?
Well, certainly it makes for an easier morning—not having to decide what to wear. Although this a likely benefit of wearing a uniform, it isn’t the reason for this decision.
Wearing a uniform shows our unity as a school and that you belong to this wonderful community. By having all those in your grade wear the same uniform, it shows — with outward clarity — that you are all equal. No one is better than another, or more deserving of attention, because of something they are wearing. In addition, by donning the uniform, you are making a commitment to being part of The Agnes Irwin School — you represent our school with pride, and support the core values of the school.
What are those values? That you believe in treating people with mutual respect, empathy, and dignity. That you support one another, and you help lift up your fellow students.
Look at our uniform. You and your classmates are on the same team — The Agnes Irwin Team. Wearing the uniform and being an Agnes Irwin girl, means that you are confident and poised, but it also, at its core, means that you are part of this thoughtful and valued community — a community of learners and leaders; a community in which we build positive relationships and help our fellow students to grow and learn as well. This is a part of the fabric of our school.
There are some slight variations to the uniform, and this variation comes with additional responsibility.
In this vein, I want to acknowledge our seniors. We look forward to your leadership this year. The blazers you wear are an outward symbol of your leadership at our School. Please know that your class sets the standard for others to follow and that, just like you guided our youngest students into assembly this morning, so will you guide other students throughout the school this year. All of our students are looking up to you as role models.
Eighth graders — your white shirts show that you are the leaders in the Middle School. How will you help the younger students in the Middle School learn about the Middle School’s value statement and lean into these values? How will you be good role models for the other students?
Fourth graders — as the oldest grade in the Lower School, you, too, are encouraged to be good role models for the other students in the Lower School. What are the traits of leadership from our Leadership Toolkit that your grade will show? How will you help others in the Lower School?
I am very proud to be your Head of School. Over the years, I have witnessed many, many examples of how our students work together to help all of us on The Agnes Irwin School Team learn and lead.
Thank you for all of the efforts you will give this year to being your best selves. This is what wearing The Agnes Irwin School uniform and being an Agnes Irwin girl is all about.
I wish you all a great school year.