HOPEWELL: The Pennington School kicks off 2016-17 school year with convocation

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Pennington School students began the academic year at the school’s annual convocation on Sept. 9.

Virtue was the word of the evening on Friday, Sept. 9 when The Pennington School officially welcomed more than 500 students to its 179th academic year.
The 2016-17 school year started with the institution’s annual Convocation ceremonies, held on the campus under a tent on O’Hanlon Green.
It was there that Headmaster William S. Hawkey welcomed a record setting 510 students, who hailed from seven states and represented 20 different nationalities. Among the countries represented are Austria, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, Nigeria, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.
According to officials, the student body brings with it 16 spoken languages to the campus, with its combined day and boarding population consisting of approximately 55 percent boys and 45 percent girls. Of the enrolled students, 409 will attend the Upper School, while the remaining 101 will be in the Middle School.
In his remarks, Dr. Hawkey noted that the School was opening with a record number of students. After mentioning the varied talents and achievements of the incoming students, he recognized Pennington’s “lifers.”
Continuing a tradition he began last year, Dr. Hawkey discussed one of the School’s core values of humility, virtue, and honor, with this year’s address focusing on virtue.
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice,” he said.
Those three words and core values have persisted on the campus for nearly a century, as Francis Harvey Green, the headmaster in 1921, put them on three gateways modeled on those at Caius College, Cambridge University.
In addition to Dr. Hawkey, speakers at the Convocation included Peter J. Tucci, Esq.’79, of New Hope, Pa, chair of the board of trustees and father of two Pennington alumni; Lisa L. Houston, acting head of Middle School and director of drama; John Biddiscombe ’63 of Durham, CT, president of the Pennington School Alumni Association board; Elizabeth Paige ’17 of Pennington, student government president; and Trinity Pryor ’21 of Yardley, Pa, representing the Middle School.
The Pennington School is an independent coeducational school for students in grades 6 through 12, in both day and boarding programs. Officials said the curriculum is college preparatory, with an emphasis on individual excellence, fostering the development of the whole student through academics, athletics, community service, and the creative and performing arts.