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A Joyous Return to Convocation

There were smiles. There were hugs. And oh yes, there was dancing. An overwhelming sense of joy spread over the Middle School Courtyard as the entire Bush community gathered together on the morning of Wednesday, August 31 to commence the start of the 2022-2023 school year at the fiftieth-annual Convocation.
“Today, together, we get to set the tone for the year,” Eighth Grade student speaker Flora T. '27 said to a crowd of almost 1,000 community members. “The theme for the year is joy, which seems fitting this morning, as we’re all standing here, in person, together in our courtyard. This year will be another special and memorable one for all of us.”

Head of School Percy L. Abram, Board of Trustees President Lisa Carroll, and Families Association President Urs Koenig, all provided remarks on the upcoming year and their own personal reflection on the school year theme of joy and the connection to Bush. 

Dr. Abram shared his delight in welcoming us back together for the first in-person Convocation since 2019, and introduced the theme of joy by sharing a poem by Mary Oliver which Sixth Grade English Teacher Laurie Mathews had given to him at the end of the summer. 

Don’t Hesitate
by Mary Oliver

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty.  Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Dr. Abram spoke on his relationship and the impact his late father had on him – providing the sentiment to really relish the joys of life.  “His eyes told me that I should never be afraid of life’s plenty and to savor joy as a loaf and not a crumb,” Dr. Abram said. “That is exactly what we plan to do this year. I am hoping that this year is the best year at Bush and that as you find joy in your classes, with your friends, on the field team, in the wilderness, and on the stage that you will radiate that joy to others. Amplify, rather than diminishing the joy of those around you. Joy can be contagious. Don’t let it be a crumb. ”  

Lower School student speaker Asa P. '30 shared his journey all the way up until Fifth Grade, emphasizing the joys of courage, love, and belonging he has experienced at Bush. Amaré F. '27, the Upper School student speaker, echoed similar sentiments to Asa sharing, “I hope this to be a time where hands are joined, newfound perspectives are explored, and most importantly a time where you find—home.” In his speech, Amaré used the form of a letter titled “Dear Bush School….” rich with poetic language and his authentic voice to tell the story of his seven-year journey at Bush.  

The morning wrapped up with a few final words from Dr. Abram when the song “Joy and Pain” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Base came over the speakers and a group of K-12 faculty and staff joined him on stage for a fun and joyous flash mob dance. 

In case you missed Convocation or want to see the one-of-a-kind flash mob, you can view a recording here.

Convocation is a Bush tradition and has been an all community opening of school event for fifty years welcoming students, faculty, staff, and families to gather to begin the new school year together. Head of School Les Larson established Convocation in 1972, and ever since, we have gathered as a K-12 community—all students, parents/guardians, faculty, and staff—once a year on the first day of school to begin the school year together in community.


-by Mary Albl, Communications Manager 
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The Bush School is an independent, coeducational day school located in Seattle, WA enrolling 710 students in grades K–12. The mission of The Bush School is to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities.

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