A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester, New York

2021 Opening Ceremonies & Spirit Day

At Opening Ceremonies & Spirit Day, all students, faculty, and staff congregated on the South Field to kick off the School’s 153rd year with Blue & Gold spirit. Resuming this all-school tradition, which was put on hold last year due to the pandemic, was an important milestone and a special opportunity to celebrate community. 


The Upper School Wind Ensemble supplied a rousing soundtrack as students arrived, and they performed The Star-Spangled Banner to mark the beginning of the ceremony. Head of School Scott Nelson welcomed the energetic crowd, acknowledging how special it was for the full school community to gather in person. “939 students (the most ever), 200 employees, and one Wildcat,” he clarified. He gave a special welcome to our newest Wildcats, the Pre-Kindergarten Class of 2035, and the Kindergarten Class of 2034, who did not have the chance to experience Opening Ceremonies last year. He also acknowledged all new students and employees and took a moment to recognize the senior Wildcats, the Class of 2022, highlighting the excitement of preparing to go off to college next year. 

Touching on the 2021-22 theme of COMMUNITY, Mr. Nelson reminded the students and employees to be compassionate and to embody the RCDS motto, Not for Self, but for Service, at school and beyond. He then shared his words of advice on what each student and employee can do to help build a stronger sense of community at RCDS: “Be kind and friendly to one another; Make sure everyone has a sense of belonging in our community; Cooperate, support, and include one another; Contribute to your classes, teams, and performances; Find ways to serve our broader community.”

Student Body President Maya Hirani ’22 then addressed the community. “Good morning, Wildcats. Welcome home,” she began. She thanked the teachers, staff, and administration for all their hard work in making it possible for the whole school to assemble once again. She celebrated her fellow students’ resilience over the last 18 months and thanked them for their continued vigilance in the pandemic environment. “Being here today all together is a gift that should never be taken for granted,” she remarked. 

Maya then recalled the symbiotic relationship between the three sisters, corn, beans, and squash, which she studied in Grade 4. Ms. Simpson cheered enthusiastically! Maya recognized a similar collaborative, interconnected dynamic within the RCDS community and highlighted the unique attributes that each and every individual brings to the School, making Rye Country Day beautifully diverse and strong. To close her remarks, Maya invited the Senior Class Officers to the stage to present the Class of 2022 Senior Flag.

Dr. deChabert then took the podium to share a special surprise in honor of Mr. Nelson’s 29th and culminating year at Rye Country Day School. In a touching community moment, the Kindergartners displayed letter cards that read “Thank you, Mr. Nelson,” and the entire crowd cheered “Thank you!!”

It truly was a great day to be a Wildcat!    

Parents and guardians can watch a full recording of the program on Family Video Archive Portal here.

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