Father Tim Gavin, Hon. and Dr. T.J. Locke welcomed Middle and Upper School students to the first day of the new school year at Opening Chapel on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
This year's Chapel theme, Coming Out of the Darkness and Into the Light, was inspired by a Bible verse found in Isaiah 9: 1-2.
Dr. Locke kicked off his Chapel Talk by welcoming students back and sharing how he hoped that they found time to be joyful over the summer, especially following such a challenging year. He shared how he has been reflecting on some of his favorite EA memories as he prepares to begin his 9th year.
The stories he told were clear examples of why EA is such a special place. Some stories focused on the incredible bonds shared between teachers and students. Others focused on kindness, generosity, and living The Stripes. Most stories also showcased the strong character that EA students demonstrate in all that they do.
"The moment that most impressed me was the time our student section was being taunted with a very hateful cheer by the opposing team. In a very heated moment of competition, our students were being called out, and it was done with maliciousness. How were out students going to respond to that?," Dr. Locke recalled. "In that moment of tension and ugliness, they responded by singing our alma mater. That may have been my favorite memory so far."
Another favorite memory focused on surprising students at the Spirit Week pep rally and allowing some of that year's team captains to shave his head in advance of the school's annual rivalry weekend against The Haverford School and The Agnes Irwin School. "We all had fun with it throughout the weekend, but it was nothing compared to the joy and fun of watching hundreds and hundreds of students storming the field the next day with both the banner and the sweater in their hands."
Students smiled, fondly remembering how strange their Head of School looked with no hair. As he wrapped up his stories, Dr. Locke touched on what this year's Chapel theme means to him.
"As I began to think of the memories I have shared with you today, it hit me," shared Dr. Locke. "We come out of the darkness into the light by just being EA. By just being what we are and who we are, by striving to live The Stripes and in doing so, living our mission. We look out for each other, we help each other, and we have a lot of fun doing it. This is going to be a great year!"
Watch Opening Chapel for Middle and Upper School here.