Crescent Ceremony 2017

Crescent Ceremony Remarks – August 28, 2017

  • The Crescent Ceremony is a Visitation tradition welcoming students new to the Upper School. Students receive a small crescent signifying the beginning of their Upper School journey.

With this ceremony, you are welcomed into the Upper School Visitation community – so I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on the notion of community.   We often hear of the importance of community, but rarely do we stop to think about why it is important and how being a part of a vibrant community affects us in such positive ways.

The impact of community hit me profoundly on Monday when we were all lying out on the soccer field looking up at the sky with those strange cardboard glasses.  Actually, the entire day felt to me like one glorious party – a celebration of community from the video announcing “Just Because Day” painted-on cookies to the dance of all ages at day’s end.

But the lasting memory occurred during the eclipse itself.  When the moon moved completely in front of the sun and the sun went dark, screams of wonder erupted, and we all began to notice.  Our antennas were up.  We noticed the strange light amidst the darkness, the ring of the sun around the moon, the nightlights that turned on even though it was the middle of the day.  Then each one of us noticed other things, and I heard you pointing out what you were noticing to each other.  How glad I was that I was not viewing this very remarkable event alone!

When the sun peaked back out from behind the moon, I found myself feeling a little disappointed that it hadn’t lasted longer.  All the anticipation and excitement had evaporated, and I had to fill the gap.  So, I started walking from group to group asking people what they had seen.

They said:

“The cicadas are singing” and I heard them for the first time, because someone pointed them out.  My disappointment waned with the realization that the eclipse was still going on; I had just stopped observing too soon.  I heard because someone told me to listen.  I would have missed it had I been alone.

If the cicadas were noticing the dimming light, what about our four legged, black curly-haired friend (the dog) that my brother brought out on the field?  Stella was far more interested in you than in the dimming light.  Not all animals took notice.

“Did you see Venus?  It was really bright!”  I realized that I had, but I hadn’t focused on it until that moment, nor would I have remembered that I had seen it except that someone pointed it out.

“Did you see the lightning streaking through the clouds to the west?”  No, I missed that one, but I looked at the clouds and saw how lucky we had been that it was clear above.

“Did you hear the plane fly over?”  YES!  But again, it was only because someone mentioned it that it clicked – I had heard it.  Was that the plane my brother, Peter (Dr. Hildebrand to you, girls!), was telling us about, showing us pictures of the inside and the outside of the plane, the flight path, and the women scientists onboard?  Again, I had to run over to my brother and ask.  No, he hadn’t heard it, but it almost certainly was the plane with the women scientists aboard!  Fantastic!

And so it went.  Each observation from another person adding in some way to the now not-so-individual experience I was having.  I felt badly for those who had not been on that field with us.  That thought made me treasure having been on the soccer field with you on that very special day.

For us the intensity of the experience was many times greater having shared it together, and thus it was a day that we are likely never to forget.  That intensity is only one aspect of how transformational true membership in a community can be.

Treasure your time here at Viz and invest yourselves in this community.  Don’t take it for granted, because there are likely to be times in your future lives when a vibrant community like Viz is not so readily available.  If and when you hit that day, you will still have beautiful memories of lying out on the soccer field, not so much as separate individuals, but as parts of a larger whole.

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