Derby Academy welcomed new and returning students back to campus for the first day of school and the First Chapel Lecture on Wednesday, September 4.
Head of School Joe Perry greeted faculty, Trustees, students, and guests in Larson Hall for the annual speech, welcoming the community to a new academic year.
After acknowledging new faculty members, Derby lifers, and the leadership role the Grade 8 students will play this year, Mr. Perry introduced this school year’s theme of confidence, and when paired with comfort, how it creates a supportive environment of personal growth.
Confidence and comfort develop from time, different experiences, practice, acceptance, setting expectations, and also, failure, Mr. Perry said to the audience.
Confidence doesn’t always mean winning; it doesn’t always mean you’re the loudest, or you don’t get nervous; it doesn’t mean you’re the one in charge, the most skilled, or you’re popular, he explained.
“What makes you comfortable and confident?” he asked students.
“When we are more comfortable, we are more willing to take risks; more willing to be accepting; develop strong friendships and relationships; honest about our thoughts, ideas, and feelings; willing to be vulnerable; and more able to grow – to grow as people, to grow as learners, to grow as a community.”
“We are all responsible for creating a supportive environment for every person at Derby,” he continued. Mr. Perry looked to the faculty, the campus, the classrooms, and the programs to develop students’ comfort and confidence.
“However,” he said, “You need to be confident and challenge yourself. My goal is that Derby is comfortable, so you feel confident when you graduate, and the foundation you receive here allows you to grow as you move beyond. Let us all be comfortable and confident as we always strive to ‘Improve Both Mind and Heart.’”
To all our students, faculty, and families – welcome back! We look forward to another wonderful year at Derby!