Starting Strong: Emphasis at PDS Is About Community and Caring
Starting Strong: Emphasis at PDS Is About Community and Caring

The school year is officially underway at Princeton Day School, and our 970 students across the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools are already engaged in the energetic rhythm of daily life here. At Tuesday's Upper School Gathering and at the Middle School Focus Assembly, a strong theme was powerfully underscored by PDS student and adult leaders: Part of what makes PDS so special is that this community cherishes individuality, while at the same time its members truly support and uplift each other, embracing differences.

Senior and Student Council President Rakesh Potluri, who spoke at both assemblies, gave Middle Schoolers this advice: "Be yourself. Be kind. If you're kind, the friends you make will last forever. Really try to be the nicest person you can be. And don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help. They really are there for you."

For the adults at PDS as well as the students, Rakesh's words ring true. New Head of Upper School Trixie Sabundayo observed at the Upper School Gathering, "One thing that struck me about this community when I was interviewing last year was the unique way in which this student body interacted. You spoke to each other, and with each other, with such a deep sense of support, respect, and joy. And what's particularly noteworthy about what I witnessed was the way in which you all spoke across grade levels. To the Class of 2022, I urge you all to take advantage of this wonderful characteristic, this wonderful community attribute, of supportiveness."'

Head of School Paul Stellato's message resonated strongly with faculty, staff and students when he pointed out that, "One of the great things about being in the school community is that it replenishes itself with new talent. There will be peers whom you have not yet met, who will become fast friends, and who will help you on your way, and whom you will help on their way. I have always seen at the heart of this community the diligence and the independence of those who choose to come here. But those who are drawn to us seek to cultivate both a level of independence and broad and deep friendships. PDS is the loveliest blend of both the individual and the community."

When new community members and those who are well established are actively encouraged to respect each other's ideas and approaches while also finding common ground, exceptional experiences are bound to happen. That's the essence of PDS. -Melanie Shaw

Here's another inspiring moment from Mr. Stellato in his opening address to Upper School students: