Matriculation kicks off academic year


Kshithija Mulam

Upper School Head Butch Keller delivers a speech to the students assembled in the Quad for Matriculation, a ceremony which welcomed freshmen and introduced them to the Upper School. The class of 2020 will submit its high school applications this week to join the upper school this fall.

The day of Matriculation began with a ceremony, which involved all upper school students assembled in the Quad Friday of Aug. 21 at 9 a.m.

Matriculation welcomed back all the sophomores, juniors and seniors but also brought in the new freshman class. Before introducing the freshmen, all upper school faculty, dressed in black robes, walk into the Quad before taking their seats on the stage.
For seniors like Ankur Karwal, president of the class of 2016, this year’s Matriculation was their last.

“I think Matriculation is a really great way to start off the school year, because the first day of school you don’t go directly into classes,” he said. “We sort of relax, meet up with your friends, and I really like that part of Matriculation, and it’s always great meeting new people. As a senior, I’ll definitely miss being able to meet new people. It’s definitely one of my favorite ceremonies.”

Head of School Christopher Nikoloff started the day off with a speech and an introduction of Upper School Division Head Butch Keller. Cantilena, directed by Susan Nace, performed “Run Children Run” after he made his speech.

Afterwards, the string sextet, made up of May Gao (11), Jason Lee (12), Cuebeom Choi (11), Luke Wu (12), Edward Oh (11) and Kevin Kim (12) played “Where the Streets Have No Name.” May, Jason and Cuebeom play the violin, Luke the viola and Edward and Kevin the cello.

This year, the skit, has become much more concise and direct.

President of the class of 2018 student council Jimmy Lin (10) explained its significance.

“I think it’s a really great way to tie everyone at the Upper School campus together and to really welcome in all the upcoming freshmen,” Jimmy said. “It’s a really great reminder of all the values that Harker has.”

The skit covers topics such as the dress code, wet and dry system, branching out and exploring options at Harker and microaggressions and diversity.

ASB President Michael Zhao (12) explained the new changes.

“This year, we’re taking a different approach than most of the different years, as in previous years there has always been a theme, and usually the skits tended to be a fun way of getting across the message to the freshman to let them know what they need to be ready for high school,” Michael said. “This year, however, Mr. Williamson had concerns that it started to become more and more of comedy than getting the freshman to actually learn.”

Upper School Dean of Students Kevin Williamson oversees and coaches the student councils’ skit rehearsals.

“There are a few role playing skits but we’ve changed the format somewhat so that there will be more individual speeches or monologues given to the freshmen class by individual students,” Williamson said. “[It’s] a little bit of a different feel this year.”

The student councils of each grade have been working on these skits throughout the summer.

“[For] the [meetings] in summer, we’re preparing for the Matriculation skit; [we’re] rehearsing, blocking and we already had to have the lines memorized,” junior class secretary Alexander Lam said.

To finish the ceremony, the teachers immediately regressed and each class split to follow their assigned schedules.

With orientation and matriculation finished, the freshman now prepare to start their first day of high school classes on Monday, Aug. 24.

“Matriculation was cool because I got to hear all the other people’s experiences and watch the skits,” Freshman Kobe Howard said. “I’m really excited for the upcoming school year.”

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on August 31, 2015.