The Hill community gathers for an in-person Convocation


SGA co-presidents Sarah Jiang ’22 and Noah Toole ’22 lead sixth formers to the CFTA for Convocation. Photo by Erick Sun ’24

After a year of Covid-restricted, socially distant activities and a summer apart, Hill started the school year by holding its first whole-school, in-person event of the year—convocation. This school year’s convocation was a large shift from the previous year’s, which was separated by form, socially distanced and spread across different areas of campus, and live-streamed for all except for the sixth form. In stark contrast, this year’s convocation largely focused on the idea of being together as a school.

The event began as the students paraded down to the CFTA, donning flags and banners representing their forms and the various countries that Hill’s students hail from. This year’s convocation featured a speech from SGA co-presidents Sarah Jiang ’22 and Noah Toole ’22, who shared their hopes for the new school year, reflected on the difficulties of the past year, and gave advice for their fellow students. There was a large focus on rebuilding the many time-honored Hill traditions and restoring a sense of community that had been dampened by the pandemic. Convocation allowed for a reflection and appreciation of the various things that make Hill special—aspects that Head of School Zachary Lehman refers to as “Hillness.”

Sarah Jiang ’22 and Noah Toole ’22 address the entire school in the CFTA. Photo by Erick Sun ’24

Lehman also took the time to announce faculty news as students cheered after each promotion, marriage, or milestone was read aloud. Theater Bootcamp students performed, the Hill Tones and Trebles led renditions of the school fight song and alma mater. A showing of the traditional faculty short film was also featured, in which John Giannikas, dean of community life, is brought in from England to restore Hill’s campus life to the British boarding school model that it was based around. 

Students from Hill’s theatre bootcamp perform a remix to High School Musical’s “We’re all in this Together.” Photo by Erick Sun ’24

Altogether, Convocation served as a celebration for many reasons beyond the start of a new school year. It showed an entire Hill community, together after a year of hardship, and marked the much-awaited return to normalcy that had been craved by students ever since the pandemic. 

I’m happy that we get to have this tradition that reminds me of a normal year again. It’s really something that brings the community together, ” Olivia Cimorelli ’23 said.

Academic Dean Katy Hudak echoed this sentiment.

Convocation is a wonderful, longstanding Hill tradition that marks the beginning of a new school year by recognizing the accomplishments of the previous one and anticipating what’s to come. The songs, speeches, and of course the parody videos set the tone for the entire year. Gathering together as a full community in the CFTA is something I’ve awaited for months, and Monday’s ceremony did not disappoint,” Hudak stated in an email.