Over a thousand students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustee members gathered in the Princeton Day School Athletic Center to kick off the school’s 58th year. The historic celebration on September 22, 2022, marked both a first and a last for the school.
“We have not been together since November of 2019,” reflected Head of School Paul Stellato. “Nor have we ever been together in this building.”
The 2022-2023 academic year is Stellato’s final, and Board of Trustee Chair Marc Brahaney P’11 ’15 spoke to Stellato’s extraordinary 14-year tenure as head of school.
With both a sense of pride and gratitude, Brahaney remarked, “Mr. Stellato has taken us to new levels of excellence in our work together, and new levels of engagement with one another and the world around us.”
As is tradition, following Brahaney, one student from each division also shared brief remarks, beginning with lower schooler Hailey Harlan ’31. Harlan reflected on favorite memories from each of her years at PDS, closing her speech by thinking of what’s to come. “I’m looking forward to trying so many new things in fourth grade,” she exclaimed.
Kai Wang ’27 opened his speech by asking audience members if they remember what they ate for breakfast on their first day at PDS. Launching into a poignant story of overcoming nerves (and very clearly remembering his meal of a single saltine cracker), he reflected on how quickly they dissipated, thanks to the incredibly supportive and welcoming PDS community.
“After such a short time, I realized there was no need to be nervous. I felt an immediate sense of belonging,” he shared.
Senior speaker and Student Council President Ziya Brittingham ’23 agreed.
“I am seen, and my experiences are validated,” she said, confidently. “No matter how big or small my issue is, I can always count on someone at PDS.”