Editor’s note: These are excerpts of a speech delivered at our Fall Opening Assembly on September 9, 2022.
I am excited to be here today to ring in the beginning of a new academic year. To our returning students, along with veteran teachers, administration, and support staff, I say welcome back! To our new students, teachers, administration, and staff who are joining us for the first time, I offer that you are joining one of the best girls’ schools in the country.
I am so very proud to be volunteering over the past number of years with Balmoral Hall, whose collective personnel strive for greatness — people who are so passionate about the success, health, and well-being of each of you as students.
Not unlike many of you who took some time preparing for the return to school, whether that be setting up your classroom space, adding to your uniform, or picking up some fun new school supplies all while tackling the summer reading list, I also did some preparation of my own to help me get in the mindset to serve as your Board Chair.
I took the opportunity to attend a conference that allowed me to learn about what other girls’ schools around the world are doing. I also got to see firsthand what some schools are all about, having taken a tour of a few of them, including a university campus. My first tour was of Winsor School; it reminded me a lot of Balmoral Hall and our wonderfully diverse school community. Winsor School is also a blend of new and old facilities, having a major focus on STEM with the inclusion of arts programming as well as an extensive internship program. Another tour was of MIT in Boston, Mass. MIT is not famous for the notoriety it receives on the television show The Big Bang Theory nor it it due to the Disney actress Bridgit Mendler being an alumna, but rather it is renowned for being the No. 1 ranked university in the world in 2022–2023 for the 11th year in a row according to QS World University Rankings. MIT stands for Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As my family can attest, I am not very technologically inclined, though I was in complete amazement of the MIT media lab as I witnessed the research and innovation going into products that serve us as a society and beyond. What I was even more in awe of was the larger population of female researchers on campus that day who are to become the next great changemakers of our time.
As you approach each and every school day as a student at Balmoral Hall, you, too, are empowered to become the next ethically, globally minded changemaker no matter your interests or pursuits. I am thinking of the take action projects in Junior School, addressing topics like environmental biodiversity and sustainability – engaging the Prime Minister in an effort to change the Laws of Confederation, no less – to local initiatives addressing food insecurity. Some of the most meaningful changemaker initiatives that have been student-led at Balmoral Hall School are retiring “The Lord’s Prayer,” the establishment of Rainbow Club, and displays acknowledging the celebration of religious holidays like Ramadan.
Students have shown empathy in identifying an opportunity while giving themselves permission to do something about it as they strive to make a difference. These actions are what create a culture of inclusion and belonging where everyone thrives here at Balmoral Hall. I wish you a year of growth as we learn — from each other, about one another, and, always, together.