First Chapel Welcomes Students Back to Campus

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Derby Academy welcomed new and returning students back to campus for the first day of school and the annual First Chapel Lecture on Wednesday, September 8. The event was held outdoors on the 1784 Field featuring a gathering of students across all divisions, faculty, staff, Grade 8 parents, and the Trustees to kick off the new school year.

Board of Trustees President, Lori Cashman, opened the event with a wonderful welcome to our new Head of School, Dr. Colleen Ramsden. 

Dr. Ramsden greeted the outdoor audience welcoming the community to the start of a new academic year, as well as acknowledging Derby “Lifers,” students who have attended Derby since Primary School, and also recognizing this year’s Foley Citizenship Prize winner. 

Head of the Middle and Upper Schools Kate Howell then spoke to the Class of 2022, a class she knows as being a supportive, innovative, and engaged group of students. She reminded and encouraged students to live by the important messages spoken by previous Derby Day speakers, "your words are powerful, use them for good" and "grow your circle."

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

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To close out the event, Dr. Ramsden announced the schoolwide theme for this year will be kindness, a theme that was chosen by surveying the faculty and staff asking what they value most as a community. 

“We can choose to use our words and actions to be kind and brighten someone's day or we can choose to not be kind and make their day terrible. I want to know which are you going to choose?,” commented Dr. Ramsden. 

“I make a choice every day to be kind. When I wake up, I say to myself, ‘Today is going to be a great day because I am going to help someone today, I am going to be kind, and I am going to make someone smile today,’” Dr. Ramsden continued. “Before I go to sleep at night, I reflect on who I helped, who I was kind to, and who I made smile. I also ask myself, did I hurt anyone’s feelings today? If I think I did hurt someone, I decide what I will do the next day to say I am sorry. Derby is a very special place and I believe we all make a difference by being kind.”

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