MSA’s 142nd Roll Call was delivered by Mrs. Mary Jo Burke on Wednesday morning. The Annual Roll Call marks the opening of the academic year on the Hill. Each class is addressed individually by the Director of Faculty and Curriculum to set the stage for the upcoming school year.
Ms. Burke provided sage advice to students and faculty before formally opening the academic year and presenting the classes to Head of School, J. Michael Drude.
Read her remarks below:
Good morning, everyone!
I’m Mrs. Burke, the Director of Faculty and Curriculum here at Miller School. I’d like to extend a warm welcome to you as we start our year together. Congratulations on making it through the first two classes of the day! It’s interesting that our society indicates the importance of an event by using the adjective “first” -- first word, first tooth, first date, first car. You get the idea. For many of the students, faculty, and staff sitting here today, this is your first day of school on the Hill. For our seniors, today is your “last first day.” But remember, that first simply means there are many more days to come, filled with opportunities to learn, grow, and become the best version of yourself.
Would all the faculty, administrators, and staff please stand for a moment? For some of you, this is your first day teaching on Hill; others have shared many first days with a long procession of students who have found their way to Miller School. As we begin a new academic year, remember that we are here for our students -- to engage them in the classroom, to mentor them as coaches and advisors, to care for them as duty team members. Thank you for all that you will do this year for the Miller School community.
Now, I would like to ask our seniors, the Class of 2020, to rise and please remain standing as I address the other classes.
Class of 2024 (8th graders): You are the newest -- and youngest -- members of our community. As you look around at the seniors, you may be thinking to yourself, how will I ever get there? Don’t worry, it will happen in what seems like the blink of an eye. Some of the seniors standing before you are what we affectionately call our “lifers” -- young men and women who started at Miller in 8th grade, just like you. They’ve grown into talented and confident young adults during their time on the Hill and so will you. Thank you for choosing to be here at Miller School, when you could have been the big men and women on campus in your middle school.
Class of 2023 (9th graders): Congratulations, 9th graders, it’s official! You have taken the leap into high school. Everything you do now gets high school credit! Everything may be on the record, but don’t let that stop you. Yes, it is a time to get more serious about your studies, but it’s also a time to explore things you’ve never tried before. Try a new sport, join a club, perform for your peers -- the possibilities are endless. Many of you 9th graders already know the ropes here at Miller. Use that know-how to help your classmates who are new to the Hill and need to learn our traditions. I encourage all of you, as you begin your high school journey, to be confident in yourselves as you take your first steps on the roads that lie before you.
Class of 2022 (10th graders): 10th graders! In the Miller School family, you are the middle children. The stereotype of the middle child is someone fighting for attention, sandwiched between their siblings. Remember, stereotypes oversimplify and miss what’s really important. You are now at the midpoint of your time on the Hill. You are becoming more mature, gaining confidence in who you are, understanding what you want out of life. You may decide to take more risks: some risks will pay off, others will have unexpected consequences; all of them are learning experiences, helping you define who you are. 10th graders, you are earning our respect and our attention as you define your important place in our community.
Class of 2021 (11th graders): You are finally in the elite group known as our “upperclass students.” Some people will tell you that 11th grade is the hardest year in high school. There is some truth to that -- you are taking more challenging classes, earning the varsity spots on our athletic teams, and starting to think about college and life beyond the Hill. But more importantly, you are becoming young adults -- filled with confidence, opinions, and the skills to face the challenges that lie before you. As you face those challenges, remember the community is here to support you if you stumble, just as you will pick up our younger students if they fall.
And last but not least: the Class of 2020! You have finally made it to your “last first day” of high school. The privileges are yours now -- the senior stairs, jeans on Friday, painting the rock. You have worked hard to get to where you stand today. Just remember, there is still more work to be done and decisions to be made, as you spend endless hours in Dr. Meagher’s office perfecting your college applications, attend meetings with Ms. Brubaker about internships, or explore a gap year. You are the leaders of our community, the role models for the younger students, the shoulders upon which your teachers and coaches place more responsibility. Are you up to the challenge? YES! But remember to take time to stop and look around once in a while, to create memories to carry with you when you leave the Hill. May will be here before you know it.
Mr. Drude, it is my honor to present to you the student body of the 142nd session of the Miller School of Albemarle!