First Chapel Focuses on Student Leadership

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Derby Academy welcomed new and returning students back to campus for the first full day of school and the annual First Chapel Lecture on Tuesday, September 8.
Interim Head of School Tom Reid greeted the virtual audience from a nearly empty Larson Hall —a “first” for the annual address on account of new health protocols—welcoming the extended community to the start of a new academic year.
Head of the Middle and Upper Schools Kate Howell spoke to the Class of 2021, a class she knows as being a supportive, innovative, and engaged group of students. She recognized their critical roles as leaders of the school and student body, asking them to make those most of their final year at Derby.

“I invite you to dream a little about what this year looks like with you as our leaders,” Ms. Howell said. “How will you find and recognize the qualities in yourself and your classmates that make you the fun, maybe even funny, effective, supportive, innovative, kind people that will come together and strengthen our community?”

Grade 8 students then introduced and welcomed the new faculty, staff, and students to the Derby community.

Mr. Reid then shared with a reading of Matthew Wheelock's Wall by Frances Ward Weller; a story about an old stone wall preserved by one family’s efforts made over generations. 

“Derby is like that wall,” Mr. Reid continued. “The school has stood so long and so well because of its strong foundation, its thoughtful design, and because everyone who has been a part of the school for over 200 years has done their part to make it stand. Like stone walls, Derby today is made of many parts and people...Together that makes for a strong community. We are each a rock in the Derby wall. This year, more than ever, we need to each do our part to make sure that wall remains strong.”

“This is going to be a very different year,” Mr. Reid added. “It can be done. Let’s keep it going.”

To all our students, faculty, and families—welcome back! We look forward to another wonderful year at Derby!