175th Convocation
Sarah O'Neill

On Saturday, October 10, the Tilton community came together for the school’s 175th Convocation. Typically, this happens during the opening days of our academic year, and marks the first of many gatherings in the pews of Fred A. Smart chapel. This year, students and faculty gathered by grade in various locations on campus. The event was live streamed from the chapel, where seniors and postgraduates watched the ceremony along with speaking faculty and 2019-2020 prize winners.

Watch the 175th Convocation 

The evening’s welcome speech was given by Tilton Dean of Students Chapel Love ‘94. Love addressed the many challenges 2020 has presented and, speaking directly to the class of 2021, emphasized that the resilience of this community will carry great significance to the future of Tilton.

 “You will be a student body that defined the way forward for Tilton,” Love said. “Your stories will carry great significance to the classes that follow, and their understanding of Tilton’s mission to develop students who navigate a world driven by diversity and change.

Following Ms. Love was Head of School David Thiel. In his first official speech at the chapel podium, Thiel spoke on the history of education and what makes the Hill so special. He stated that school is not a building, but a group of people, and that everyone is a teacher.

We learn from the person whose name is on the chalkboard, yes, but also from passersby who stop to help, from YouTubers who convince us to like and subscribe, from friends whose stories and examples engage and instruct. We learn from each other,” Thiel said. 

He went on to echo a sentiment that lives at the center of Tilton’s ethos - we’re better, stronger, together.

“That’s why there’s something truly special about learning together—the way we do, day and night, at Tilton....These days we share are precious and wonderful. Savor them.” - David Thiel, Head of School

This year’s convocation address was given by Samuel Alicea ‘18. Samuel is in his junior year at Morehouse College, and has been active in community organizing and activism since a young age. Alicea’s poignant speech resonated deeply as he discussed the current climate of our world, specifically the impact of this pandemic and continued racial violence in our nation. 

“We as the people that will someday be educating the children of our time on what is right in the world have a tremendous responsibility,” Alicea said. “A relationship moves in rhythm, meaning it’s a constant give and take. And if it's somehow not enough that my community is in constant danger, I’ll rephrase it for you: If you were to put me in a prison, then I technically become the prisoner. But with that, you now have to watch the prisoner –– so that makes two prisoners. Do you see what I’m trying to say here? We’re in this together.”

Following Alicea’s address, Academic Dean Michael Landroche came forward to announce awards, some of which were officially bestowed during the last virtual semester of our 2019-2020 year.

Mr. Landroche at the 17th Convocation of Tilton School

He began by acknowledging MacMorran Scholars. To qualify as a MacMorran Scholar, a student’s semester achievements must include High Honor Roll, Scholarly Effort Honor Roll and Excellence in Citizenship. 

Read the full list of 1st Semester 2020-2021 MacMorran Scholars

Next, Landroche went on to announce a portion of our prize award winners for the 2019-2020 school year. The class of 2020 were awarded their prizes virtually, as were some of our current students who could not be with us on campus.

Read the full list of 2019-2020 Prize Night award winners

View photos of our award winners

The tradition of prize night began in 1864, and just two years after the school was burned to the ground and rebuilt across the river to where Knowles Hall is located today.In the months leading up to Prize Night, Dean Mike Landroche and Registrar Joy Jones solicited input from faculty and staff and coordinated the process. Families were notified prior to the ceremony so they could be in attendance to watch their child receive their prize. 

In closing, what an eventful 175th convocation! It was one unlike any other, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be together while apart. A special thank you to Alexandra Sedgley, Parent and Alumni Relations Manager, who coordinated the evening and made it possible. Another thank you to Michael Bennett of the Tilton Technology Department who helped us connect everyone safely.

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