What an amazing start we’ve had this year at Sturgis West! It is hard to believe that less than three weeks ago, our faculty toured the new building for the first time. Since that tour, many of us – including construction crews, Sturgis staff, students and parents – went through an emotional roller coaster while waiting to hear if Sturgis West would receive the occupancy permit necessary to open as planned on Wednesday, August 29.
During our final faculty orientation meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Eric Hieser burst through the door, gave a thumbs up sign and the faculty broke into cheers and applause. We didn’t have much time to relax, however, because in just a few hours, we would be welcoming new 9th and 10th grade students at Sturgis West Convocation.
The spirit of West was palpable that evening at the Resort and Conference Center. So many returning students attended Convocation that 400 chairs were not enough to handle the crowd that gathered. As Mr. Hieser welcomed new parents and introduced them to Sturgis West faculty, it was overwhelming to learn about the impressive expertise of the teachers he has assembled to work at 105 West Main. West faculty members come from the four corners of the earth. They have taught in such locales as India, Venezuela, Panama, Egypt, Indonesia, Australia and the Netherlands. Parents who attended Convocation that evening could sense their sons and daughters are in for a unique educational experience at Sturgis.
The following morning, we opened the doors of the new campus at 7:30 A.M. I wish all of you could have seen the faces of our students and felt the excitement in the hallways as they explored new classroom spaces. When each class gathered in the amphitheater for the first assemblies, they enjoyed the natural light pouring in through the windows and a skylight above their heads.
I reminded juniors that six years ago,
Mr. Hieser had the idea to expand Sturgis “IB for All” access for more students. His idea has now come to fruition. In response, juniors broke into applause. They knew, more than most, that they have been given a series of gifts: a new school, an academically rigorous curriculum, clubs, activities, sports and a remarkable faculty. Always modest, Mr. Hieser bowed his head and raised his hand, acknowledging the students and their thanks, but not wishing to take credit for this singular accomplishment. We all know, however, that the joy of last Wednesday would not been experienced were it not for his vision.
Yesterday, the entire Sturgis West freshman class went to Camp Burgess in Sandwich for an extraordinary day of team building and trust activities. Following Sturgis tradition, the day culminated in a ceremony at Aselton Memorial Park in Hyannis Harbor where students sign the Sturgis logbook and ring the ship’s bell to signify the beginning of their journey at Sturgis. It is a very powerful rite of passage that we enjoy observing each year.
Although all of us were excited to finally have Internet access yesterday, I believe that what we achieved without technology during our opening days at Sturgis West will be what we remember most. Be it the powerful connections made with our peers and teachers under a beautiful fall sky at Camp Burgess, or the simple tradition where we put pen to paper to sign the Sturgis logbook or the words spoken by Eric Hieser when he told the story of William Sturgis who first went to sea at fifteen – the age of most freshmen. In the end, it is these traditions that signify the start of the Sturgis experience.
Please Join Our Celebration!
We hope you can join us on Saturday from 1:00 – 3:00 for the Sturgis West Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting. This momentous occasion will provide an opportunity to thank and recognize those who have contributed so much to bring Eric Hieser’s dream of a second campus to fruition. Students will be available to guide you through the new building. We do hope you will join us. It will be a remarkable event!