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[VIDEO] Welcome back! Stuart opens the 2022-2023 year celebrating new beginnings

Welcome back to school! After months of anticipation to start a new year in her new school community, new Head of School Julia Wall was finally able to welcome students and families to Stuart. Eager to greet families in the morning arrivals, Ms. Wall had an enthusiastic cheer squad of student government reps ushering students in the door and making our youngest students feel right at home. As this was a year of new beginnings and a celebration of Stuart's future, the day started by establishing a new tradition by honoring its past. The entire school together for a Convocation Ceremony -- a time for prayer and reflection, centering us as one community. After reading a prayer written by Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, Ms. Wall was joined by students in each division to ring the bell that sits atop the Sundial Garden. When Stuart was founded, the bell above us was dedicated in its honor. It has been rung at graduations and important ceremonies for 60 years, and it was rung on the first day to signal to the world that we are ready to learn and lead with purpose, with integrity, and with love.

After the bell-ringing, the school gathered in Cor Unum to hear opening remarks from Ms. Wall and personal testimonies about each division from Lydia Wilson (grade 4), Hadassah Broughton (eighth grade) and Ella Johansson '23. To further draw a connection to our Sacred Heart roots, division heads Robert Missonis and Christine D'Alessandro reminded everyone about the meaning of the five Goals while students and faculty & staff brought up artifacts to symbolize the goals' meaning to the Stuart community. Ms. Wall closed with a reminder to students to be present for each other in all ways this year, and to remember that if they stick together, they are unstoppable. And in true Stuart form, the ceremony concluded with pop music and dancing, which set a tone for an uplifting day that included special cupcakes and Stuie appearances around the school. 

Click here to watch our video from the first day of school and scroll down for photos.

We would also like to thank our student speakers for their time and effort in preparation for this special day. You'll hear Lydia's voice in the video, and excerpts from all three students are below. Their remarks capture the magic of Stuart and the impact that our supportive all-girls community has on its members: 

Stuart is a great school because the teachers care about you and your education. They prepare you for the next level and help you solve conflicts. I love Stuart because l love to learn with other girls. It is easy to make friends when you have things in common. Stuart girls help each other build confidence and leadership. For the new students if you are feeling nervous, scared or unsure don't worry everything will be okay and I am sure you are going to love Stuart. For all students this is going to be a challenging and also fun year. Remember, NOTHING Stops A Stuart Girl!” - Lydia Wilson, fourth grade 

I am excited for the feeling of home when walking through the halls, and for the new teachers and students that will fill them. I love this community because of its welcoming nature. I once was too a new student and Stuart never failed at making me feel like one of their own.  Our inclusive community allows everyone to find their home here. Stuart is one of the best representations of acceptance. This Stuart home helps young girls love themselves and creates a space where we admire each other's differences. When someone new joins the Stuart community the love for each other's individuality grows. - Hadassah Broughton, eighth grade 

To me Stuart has always been a community with a bustling atmosphere, and every year I look forward to events such as green and white day where our whole school community comes together. As I reflect on my past years at Stuart and I get ready to leave for college, the one thing that I will miss the most will be the invaluable memories I made with all of you. I want to end this by saying on behalf of the upper school I can’t wait to have a great year with our little sisters in the middle and lower schools. - Ella Johansson '23