Wooster Today - September 2016

School Starts with a Lot of Fun and a Little Bit of Rock

By Brooke Thaler, Publications Teacher

We’re back! On Thursday, September 1, 362 students arrived on campus for the first day of school. Alumni probably remember that feeling -- driving up the roadway onto campus, getting dropped off and heading into the Chapel, Middle School, or the Library on the first day; finding your friends, your locker, and your classrooms. The nervousness and excitement that the first day of school holds never seem to change, no matter what year you are, or how long you’ve been at Wooster.

This year as students arrived on campus, there were a few changes, as there always seem to be after a long summer. This year, there were the physical ones, like new sidewalks on the Coburn and Grover Lawn (remember walking along the side of the road while cars were creeping up behind you as they dropped their kids off? Not anymore); an additional Makerspace, so now there is a messy one and a clean one; an improved Music building with better space and acoustics; and a renovated Reception Center.

But this year’s start of school was like none other before. In the tradition of Don Quixote Day, and in an effort to keep it light and fun to get students back in the swing of things, Thursday and Friday mornings started with shortened classes, advisory, and goal-setting, but both afternoons were spent in DQ-like fashion (these time slots were named Rocinante, for DQ’s horse). Students could participate in fun activities set up by the faculty and staff (hiking, corn hole, knitting, tennis, basketball, open mic, ping pong, mindful coloring, advanced fidgeting, just to name a few) or just hang out and catch up with old friends while getting to know some new ones.

Then on Tuesday, September 6, the school year officially kicked off with Convocation, which many alumni probably remember. This year’s ceremony seemed to follow the norm at first -- we recited the Wooster prayer (how many of you can still recite it?), the Honor Code, and honored the Crayons to Commencement seniors. But when it came time for Head of School Matt Byrnes to give his opening remarks, he showed a series of photos -- The Rock, Rocky, a rockfish, rock candy, Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots, Rockettes, Pet Rock, and he ended with Bruce Springsteen, a rocker. Inspired by seeing Bruce in concert last week, Mr. Byrnes told students what it means to rock: to be very good, impressive, exciting, and/or effective. Soon, he and Claire Simard, Chair of the Music and Performing Arts Department, were leading the entire student body, faculty, and even parents who came to watch, in a rousing, and rocking rendition of “We Will Rock You.” He ended it by reminding students, “do not be afraid to rock,” this school year.

“It was like a flash mob, I thought it was really funny,” said Tess Cicala, ‘17, of the rock-out. “In the first few days, I think it’s cool that they’re continuing a theme of keeping it fun, more relaxed, and that everyone gets to know each other.”

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