Opening Chapel, Human Arch Highlight Start of 2016-17 School Year

August 26, 2016


SSM community gathers to celebrate beginning of new school year.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

– Opening Chapel Prayer 2016; words from Thomas Merton, delivered by SSM President Nick Stoneman.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s School officially kicked off the 2016-17 school year with an inspirational Opening Chapel followed by faculty, staff members, and students joining together to form a Human Arch across Parade Field on Wednesday, August 24.

Rev. Colin Snow Maltbie greeted the SSM community after a picnic dinner, and was followed by President Nick Stoneman, who led the school in an opening prayer as the timeless words of Thomas Merton (see prayer above) permeated the crowd on a picturesque evening outside of the Chapel of the Good Shepard.

After prayer, the community was welcomed by speeches from Upper School Director Matt Cavellier, Director of The Major and Assistant weCreate Director Craig Peck, English Instructor Jan Gould Martin ’75, Grounds Crew staff member Dan Anderson, and students Ivan Yang ’17, Gwyn Wilkens ’17, and Taylor Durall ’17. Each speaker imparted key wisdom on life at SSM, filled with personal retrospection and hopeful expectations for the new year.

The SSM community then gravitated toward the iconic SSM Arch, where returning students and faculty and staff members started a human arch for new members of the community to pass through. The arch grew and moved across Parade Field, ending in front of the flagpole near Shumway Hall where SSM faculty and staff, students, and families paused to share ice cream with one another and celebrate the official start of the 2016-17 school year.

For video from this year’s Human Arch event, click here.

For additional photos from Wednesday evening, visit the SSM Flickr page.