Friday, August 20, the Mount Vernon community – families, students, faculty, and staff – gathered in the Upper Campus Gym for the School’s annual Convocation.

Prior to the start, Middle and Upper School students as well as Grade 4 and 5 leaders of the Lower Campus helped lead younger Mustangs across the street, bridging the gap between both campuses and building connections across divisions.

Dr. Jacobsen shared, “Convocation simply means a gathering of people at the beginning of a new year, a community that comes together to launch the new year.”

At Mount Vernon’s annual opening to the school year, attendees heard from CEO and Head of School Dr. Brett Jacobsen and the Upper School Head Prefect, a role currently held by Jaden Ward.

The Fabulous Mustangs of Mount Vernon – the School’s rock band – were there to perform and get the crowd excited for what was to come. Showcasing their talents through songs such as This is Amazing Grace, Lean on Me, Should I Stay or Should I Go, and Valerie.

In front of a gym full of his peers, Class of 2022 Jaden spoke first.

He came to Mount Vernon in Grade 7 and shared, “I was short, I was skinny, and I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone. Some of you may be feeling the same way today. Very quickly though I found my group of friends – or they found me – and to this day we remain friends. I have confidence that you, too, will find your friend group, and I hope those friendships last throughout your entire journey at Mount Vernon.”

As the School celebrates MV at 50, Jaden also acknowledged how far the school has come since it’s beginning.

“Dating back to the early 70s,” he said, “Mount Vernon started as a preschool. There was no Middle School, no new, state-of-the-art Upper School building, and no Mustang championship swimming team. It was just The Mount Vernon School in the bottom of the church basement.”

He continued, “Fast forward to the present, Mount Vernon has been nationally recognized as one of the 10 most innovative schools in the nation. Inquiry. Innovation. Impact. This is part of our School’s mission, and for 50 years, Mount Vernon has demonstrated a unique approach to learning, as our teachers prepare us to be future leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

To close, Jaden encouraged fellow students to put fear aside and get out of their comfort zones. To connect with teachers. To explore passions. To befriend students you’ve never met before.

“If I wasn’t pushed out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be giving this speech right now. Entering my senior year, I never could have predicted that I would be standing in front of you today leading my Class of 2022 as we close out this chapter of our lives. And my wish is that you trust the process and enjoy the journey to come.”

Dr. Jacobsen then talked about bridges, and how bridges serve as connectors.

“So, why is a bridge even needed? Bridges are connectors. Bridges connect more than just places. Bridges, most importantly, connect people, businesses, communities, and even nations. They are a powerful reminder of their ability to close the gap between the space between us. Bridges connect one side to another.”

As we begin a new school year, Dr. Jacobsen challenged the School community to be connectors. To close gaps. To remove the space between one side and another, connecting people and ideas. Bringing people together, celebrating what we have in common, and dialoguing across differences.

While convocation is a gathering of new people at the beginning of the year, Dr. Jacobsen went on to say, “At convocation this morning, may we be a community that has stood the test of time.”

As shared in the weekly updates, as a family and as a community, consider these questions and ideas:
How might we build bridges between different classes in our division, as well as across both campuses and all four divisions?
How might we connect to our local community in moments of service, to share our talents, and to learn in real and relevant ways?
How might we build connections to students around the world that lead to real collaboration around designing solutions to wicked problems?