The 2018-2019 academic year officially began this week, with the start of classes following a busy Opening Days schedule filled with activities, field trips, preseason practices, and special Chapel events.
During Opening Chapel on Tuesday, September 4, Head of School Dr. Meera Viswanathan welcomed everyone to the new school year. In her first address to the school community, Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Kathleen McNary Pillsbury spoke about belonging and understanding, respecting the values that shape our school community, and building foundational relationships and teams of support. She encouraged students to act with intention and try new things, saying, "This is the time to try and to fail, to flounder and to flourish - the goal being to find your passion, and that takes a lot of courage ... Your courage will propel you forward."
Student Body President Tricia Saint Fort '19 shared her advice for each class, which included making connections, finding balance, and laying down a foundation for the future: "It's okay to be scared or nervous, as long as that does not keep you from trying new things."
Following an introduction of our new faculty and staff by Associate Head of School Amy Wheeler, History and Economics teacher Nathanial Johnson delivered the faculty address. He shared personal stories from his time at Walker's and as a student growing up, advising students not to hide in moments of doubt or insecurity, and to make tiny changes in the community by putting others first. "The Ethel Walker community will see you for who you are, and then the students and the adults here will embrace you and all your quirks and provide you with an incredible sense of belonging," Johnson said. "In this place you'll find an ear to listen and a voice to shout support along the way."
Walker's welcomed 75 new students this year from 10 states and 7 different countries, including Australia, Bermuda, China, Germany, Thailand, and United Kingdom.