Opening Convocation: A Lesson in Risk Taking & Failure

Head of School Dennis Bisgaard distributed the Dux Prizes to those students who achieved the highest grades in their class the previous year. The following students were named:

Upper Prep - Elias Brandt  '23 of West Hartford
Form 1 - Sung Min Cho '22 of Westfield, MA
Form 2 - Emma Henry '21 of South Glastonbury and Olivia Pear '21 of Moodus
Form 3 - Esha Kataria '20 of Ellington
Form 4 - Mia Seymour '19 of West Hartford
Form 5 - Aparajita Kashyap '18 of West Hartford
Following years of tradition, flags were presented for the bookend classes of 2024 to Ava Cashman ’24 and Jack Decker ’24 and of 2018 to Sharif Mutasim ’18 and Caroline Doyle ’18 who both had the highest number of community service hours. Two wooden shields were presented to Form 6 President Mark Place ’18 and Form 6 Vice President Noah Gibson ’18 for the members of the Class of 2018 in which to carve their initials. Skylar Barron ’18 stressed to the students that despite academic pressures of achieving good grades, the most important lesson is to put one’s best effort forward in everything that one does. She said that the teachers at KO are less concerned about students receiving an A, but in a student’s willingness to work hard, listen, focus and learn.  Ben Tauber ’18 introduced Board Chair, Bradley Hoffman ’78 who offered the Convocation address.
Hoffman shared that he had an inauspicious start to his time at KO when he boarded the wrong school bus to King Philip School on the first day of classes. Despite this rocky start, the KO faculty mentored Hoffman and helped him grow academically and personally, and Hoffman admitted, “literally changed my life for the better.” Hoffman cited that his company, the Hoffman Auto Group, and KO share similarities in racial, ethnic, and religious diversity and age as, both KO and Hoffman Auto Group marked their recent centennial. Hoffman asked the students to capitalize on their experience at KO by embracing risk and failure. He said, “In my company, I, like your amazing teachers, push my team to take risks. I will also put them in situations where they may feel uncomfortable. They may even say, “I don’t think I can do it,” but I push them knowing they are capable and will feel amazing when they have succeeded.” The measure of success, Hoffman added, is not always in money and material items, but in becoming a leader in both small and big gestures. Whether a upperclassman says hello to a younger student or a person does something positive when no one is looking, these, too, are instances of leadership.

Hoffman ended by asking the students to make each day count with positive differences, to make the world a better place for those around us and to give back to the community.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
Copyright 2018. Kingswood Oxford.