When Margaret McCluer ’24 arrived on the grounds with her family last Wednesday, she made short work of unpacking so she could meet up with her friends. Her return to Millville, she said, is “one of the most exciting days of the year. I’m very excited to meet the new students and see my old friends.”
McCluer is one of 535 students from 36 states and 13 countries the School community welcomed, and welcomed back, for the 166th academic year.
Watch a video of Opening Days below.
Sixth Formers arrived first, on Sunday, Aug. 29, for leadership training and a roller-skating trip to celebrate their reunion after a summer apart.
On Tuesday, the Sixth Form turned out in force to welcome 104 Third Formers, most of whom had never visited the grounds because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixth Form Officers were stationed at the Rectory for the matriculation book signing; the Chapel Council helped new students find their assigned chapel seats; tour guides explored the grounds with families; and still others helped students move into the houses.
“I missed this place over the summer, so it’s good to be back,” said Romeo Giudici ’22, after a morning of pointing families in the right direction. “It was pretty tough last year because of the pandemic and some students being virtual, but we’re pretty much back to normal again with all the students here.”
For new students getting to know Millville, the energy level was high. “It has been so awesome getting to meet all these new people, and I’m excited about all my classes because I met a couple of teachers,” Lily Fitzpatrick ’25 said. “They were all super cool, full of excitement, and ready to teach. It has been a great way to start my time at St. Paul’s!”
Fourth and Fifth Formers returned on Wednesday and quickly made themselves at home again, playing roller hockey in front of the Sheldon Library and Spikeball on the Quad and reconnecting in the Friedman Community Center.
Convocation on Thursday morning marked the first time in more than a year that the entire School community was able to come together in the Chapel. Rector Kathy Giles shared her enthusiasm, gratitude, and optimism for the year ahead with the assembled students and faculty, reminding them of the School’s mission to educate students to build purposeful lives in service to the greater good.
“And so we begin a new year of wonderful work as a school focused on bringing forth what is best,” she said. “I hope you will spend some time thinking about what it requires to bring forth what is best in you, to bring forth what is best in others, and then to use your energies and imagination and self-discipline and talents to make it happen. The people who have sat in these seats before us, and who will sit in these seats after we are gone, expect nothing less, and the world needs us to do this work and to do our part.”