At Convocation on September 8, all students gathered on the South Lawn to welcome in the new academic year. Campus Minister Brigid Beckman, opened with prayer and some of our students prepared special music to open and close the ceremony.

A few of our seniors spoke on the different core values that were represented in the past years at APH: Resilience, Integrity, Courage, and our newest core value, Respect.

Caitlin Robinson ’21 spoke on Resilience: “To me resilience is something we all work on throughout our lives. It’s a trait that grows in us with every experience, almost from the minute we’re born.”
Hayden Groves ’21 spoke on Integrity: “Having integrity means being honest even when it might be easier to make up an excuse.”
Sydney DiGiulio ’21 spoke on Courage: “…recognize your fears. This could be speaking in class, eating a different food, or even trying a new hobby. Once you recognize your fears, you can then make a game plan to grow.”
Nachelle Duqe ’21 spoke on Respect: “From the respect we show others and ourselves, we can learn to trust our own judgment and make better decisions, which will make us all stronger in our life.”

President Molly Martins spoke to the students and presented the new core value for the 2020-2021 academic year. Below is her speech from that morning:

“As you may know, when we begin each year we highlight a core value. This value is woven into the fabric of our school. In the past years, we have celebrated the values of resilience, integrity and courage.

Resilience is about developing our grit and the ability to bounce back from challenges.

Integrity is about doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Courage is the ability to do what frightens you. It’s the willingness to step into fear, discomfort or uncertainty.

This year our core value is Respect. At a time when we seem to be constantly bombarded with angry rhetoric, respect for others and ourselves is needed now more than ever.

Respect encompasses a feeling of regard and esteem for ourselves, for the people around us, for our communities and for the environment — both the natural world and our physical spaces.

Self-respect helps us set healthy boundaries and to work toward our goals. Respect is something that is earned. Yet to respect is also a way of being, one that invites us to listen deeply to watch others as we celebrate our interconnections and bridge our differences.

As women we are often counseled to be respectful when we express our thoughts or opinions or to perhaps take a step back from choosing to lead.

Here’s my response to those who would deem respect as equal to silence. Respect, especially self-respect, means to hold fast to your values and stand up for what you believe. It’s refusing to remain quiet when your inner voice is choosing to be heard. And while we respect ourselves, we also know that respect of others is in how we treat them; with kindness.

As we enter into a new year, with increased protocols for the health and safety of others, respect for our community’s health as well as your own is critical. We all want to be here, but most importantly, we all want each other to be safe and healthy. Respect for our community includes the decisions we make that will have a lasting impact.

Throughout the year we will continue to discuss and practice respect. We can face each new day with our core values to guide us, bravely blazing trails along the way. I believe in you all. We are stronger together!

A good friend shared this bit of inspiration with me recently and I would like to share it with all of you:

Don’t give up on this year.
Keep fighting for the good.
Keep showing up.
Keep giving back.
Keep being kind.
Keep being brave.
Keep caring.
Keep trying new things.
Keep showing grace.

This community and world needs you to believe in the good.”