A Beginning to Remember

Written by Courtney Fowler

Lovett’s beloved Opening Chapel service marks start of 94th year with tradition and observance.

Lovett’s 1,613 students, along with teachers, staff, parents and other members of the community, marked the beginning of this year’s Opening Chapel with a much-loved rite of passage: a procession of excited new kindergarteners walking hand-in-hand with seniors. The procession into the Wallace Gymnasium also included the familiar class signs for every grade, with one for the Class of 2020 (carried by Class President Cal Barwis) all the way up to the Class of 2032, carried by kindergartener Keshav Menachery.

As is customary, Opening Chapel incorporated the singing of the hymn “This is the Day” as well as “The Lovett Hymn,” along with the Pledge of Allegiance, Lovett’s Character Pledge, readings from the Old Testament and New Testament, prayers for the community and The Lord’s Prayer. Reverend Steve Allen welcomed the crowd and delivered the invocation, and the music was provided by the Lovett Wind Symphony and Ellington Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Tim Pitchford.

Inspired by the service’s Bible readings - as well as the fellowship and warmth of last Friday night’s home football game on the Riverbank - Head of School Meredyth Cole spoke on two topics central to the Lovett experience: learning and community. “Gathering together around shared values is essential to who Lovett is,” she said in her remarks, referencing the morning’s event. “We come together for chapel to pause, to reflect, and to learn. Chapel is an important classroom at Lovett.”

Mrs. Cole also spoke to students about a broader and more robust definition of being “smart,” quoting the Greek philosopher Socrates that the purpose of education is to make better people. She mentioned the football team and coaches as having delivered a "smart" performance by virtue of their emotional intelligence, grit, thinking outside the box, vulnerability, perseverance and belief in themselves and each other. “At Lovett, the secret sauce is that opportunity you have to forge character,” she said. 

In keeping with the cherished ritual of the senior/kindergartener procession for Opening Chapel, Lovett Green Team Presidents Kendall Greene ‘20 and Towner Schunk ‘20 unveiled a new tradition during the service: the presentation of a senior gift of a tree on campus in honor of the incoming kindergarten class. This year’s tree, a native flowering dogwood, will be planted near the parking deck to replace a large tree that was removed over the summer. For more information on the senior gift, please click here.

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