I Know A Little Something About What It's Like To Be You

Rebecca Bushnell '70

Remarks by Rebecca Bushnell ’70, Chair of the Board of Trustees

"Good morning to you all, and welcome back to a new school year.

You are all a thrilling sight out there: there you are, our youngest students, our fabulous Pre-Kindergarteners: welcome, kids! Let’s give them all a hand!  On the other side, I see our talented seniors. Seniors, sooner than you think, you will back on this lawn to receive your diplomas: isn’t that both a wonderful and scary thought?

I love to see the whole school gathered together: students, teachers, and staff, united by the principle that school matters. And Princeton Day School matters.

I’m happy to have a chance to introduce myself to you this morning, as the new chair of the Board of Trustees.

Students: I know a little something about what it’s like to be you, since I too was a PDS student, albeit a long time ago. I know PDS played a big role in making me who I am today.

Faculty: I also know a little about what it’s like to be you, since I have spent my whole career teaching. It’s been mostly at the University of Pennsylvania, but I also did a stint of sixth, eighth and tenth-grade English at an independent day school. As far as I am concerned, teaching is the best – if hardest – work ever.

And staff: after 15 years as a dean at Penn, I also know more than a little about everything it takes to make a school run. And so I know nothing happens around here without you.

So to all of you, let me confess, if it is not already clear: I admit it, I’ve spent most of my life in school, I just love school – and I love this school.

Just think: as a student here, every day you have the chance to learn something new about the world around you, past and present. You also get to learn how to do new things, and to express and challenge yourself in arts or sports, and thus to develop both your body and your mind. 

Not only that: every day, each one of you has the chance to learn something about yourself and about other people – and that means faculty and staff as well as students.

That we are here together reminds us that this community matters.

PDS is a place where we respect and take care of each other. This is even more important in a time when it seems like many people have forgotten how to do this.  We here at PDS can show the rest of the world how it should be done. 

So let me ask one thing of you: today, and next week, and the week after that, could everyone – grown-ups and students alike – take the time to reach out to someone, and especially someone new, not an old friend, and ask: So how are you doing? How do you feel? And what do you think? And then listen. This is how we build a strong community, both here, and outside PDS.

I look forward to getting to know more of you in the months to come. In the meantime, let’s all get to work – and get together, to make it the best school year ever."