Matriculation welcomes class of 2021 to upper school


Rose Guan

Head of School Brian Yager delivers his opening comments at this year’s Matriculation. Before his remarks, the upper school faculty and the Class of 2021 participated in processionals into the quad.

by Tiffany Wong, Aquila News Editor

Students and faculty gathered in the quad for the upper school’s annual Matriculation ceremony, which officially marked the second day of Harker’s 124th academic year.

After the seniors, juniors and sophomores took their seats, upper school faculty, dressed in black caps and gowns, walked into the quad and sat onstage. Both students and faculty then stood and applauded during the processional of the Class of 2021, the new freshman class.

Head of School Brian Yager then took the stage to officially welcome the Harker community back to the upper school campus and to introduce vocal group Cantilena. The ensemble, directed by vocal music teacher Susan Nace, performed Paul John Rudoi’s “Yonder Come Day.”

Following Cantilena’s performance, Head of the Upper School Butch Keller delivered his customary Matriculation Address, recounting three stories of successes and failures and reminding the Harker community to always uphold the values of kindness, respect, integrity, compassion, humility and accountability.

“When people think of you, do they think of any of these words? One of your goals for the year should be that others think of you when they think of these words,” Keller said. “Just think for a minute what the alternatives are if these characteristics aren’t part of you—kindness would be meanness, integrity would be cheater, compassion would be cold-hearted, empathy would be cruelty, respect would be indifference, accountability would be apathy and humility would be arrogance.”

ASB President Jimmy Lin (12) then welcomed the Class of 2021 to the upper school community and introduced the student and honor council representatives of each class for this school year. He also spoke about his high school experience and encouraged the freshmen to take risks and look into new outlets of expression. 

“High school is like riding a bike—except the bike is on fire and the ground is on fire and you’re on fire and everything is on fire,” Jimmy said. “The moment you start pedaling, it feels like everything is flying right at you. Despite how nervewracking it feels, I challenge you to take your time exploring high school.”  

After ASB Vice President Neil Ramaswamy (11) led the student body in a recitation of the Matriculation Oath, Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano introduced the Harker String Quartet. This year’s group, consisting of violinists Amy Jin (12) and Constance Horng (11), violist Jerry Peng (11) and cellist Amy Dunphy (12), performed arrangements of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and Sia’s “Chandelier” while the freshmen signed the Honor Code.

Student council and honor council members then gave the Class of 2021 a preview of school life with their annual presentation of “Freshman 101.” This year’s production was the first to feature honor council participants and presented useful tips and tricks to surviving high school.

Yager returned to the podium to deliver the ceremony’s closing remarks. After the recessional of the faculty, students left the quad to attend grade-level orientations, take their pictures for the yearbook, check their lockers and receive time management worksheets from their advisors.

Classes for the 2017-2018 school year will begin next Monday, on Aug. 28.