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Welcome, Students!

"There is no limit," Head of School John Packard pledged to new students gathered with their parents today in Brooks' Frank D. Ashburn Chapel, "to the extent that our school will work with you if you are engaged."

And they were certainly absorbed this afternoon. The 114 new students who joined the returning community for the start of the 2018-2019 school year enjoyed a jam-packed schedule of activities designed to get them acquainted with Brooks and all that our school has to offer.

See a full gallery of photos from opening day on

Following registration at the Athletic Center and boarding students' move-in (the new class of 2022 is comprised of 78 boarding students and 36 day scholars), everyone gathered together for lunch in Wilder Dining hall.

Next up was the New Family Welcome in the Chapel. Packard addressed the students and families, sharing his advice for the school year — as well as some reassurance.

Starting out in a new school can be nerve wracking, he acknowledged. "You might be feeling a little bit of a pit [in your stomach]. ...It's not something that's wrong with you. It's something that's right with you," he said, noting that it means that students care about the places and people they have left behind. "And I think your parents are feeling a little bit of that, too."

Read all of John Packard's letters to parents on the Head of School's Welcome page.

Advocating a "short-term focus" to help everyone get through the first few months, Packard encouraged students to take all the changes they will experience day-by-day. "What's next is all you need to concern yourself with," he said.

Next on their schedule this afternoon? Dorm meetings for boarding families (offering students and parents a chance to meet dorm faculty), a new-families panel for day-student families (shown above), and a games-filled orientation for new students while their parents attended a question-and-answer panel in the Science Forum.

A parent reception, advisor-advisee seated dinner, as well as an evening hour of new-student orientation, rounded out the programming.

As the sun sets on this first day of school, here's to hoping Packard's words will resonate tomorrow, and all the days after, while students settle into life on campus.

"When you hit moments that you're feeling tired or homesick ... just don't ever forget that this school your school chose you with great enthusiasm," he said in Chapel. "...We're excited to have this opportunity with you. ...And we're really excited about what's to come!"

Follow Brooks School on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see the projects, trips and happenings in our community each day during the school year.


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