Archer hosts virtual Founders’ Day, Senior Recognition Ceremony

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Photo credit: Archer Communications

Founders Day and the Senior Recognition Ceremony is an annual event to honor the founders of Archer and the senior class. James Russo, english teacher and twelfth grade dean, said in his speech via Zoom that he has “hope for our country, hope for progress and justice, and hope for a world where we can co-exist despite our differences. And much of that hope stems from the heroes [he] get[s] to interact with every day at The Archer School for Girls.”

By London Sinclair, Podcast Editor

Students, faculty, alumni, parents, trustees and more all tuned in via Zoom to commemorate the annual Founder’s Day and Senior Recognition Ceremony. The ceremony took place on Wednesday, Nov. 11, continuing a longstanding Archer tradition that celebrates the graduating class and the school’s three founders: Dr. Diana Meehan, Victoria Shorr and Megan Callaway. This year marks the 25 anniversary of Archer’s founding in 1995. Despite the virtual format, the festivities carried on, including a pre-recorded performance by the Unaccompanied Minors, a senior slideshow as well as a Padlet to share thanks and express gratitude to the founders.

Traditionally, the seniors are called upon by the class dean while the upper school director hands each student a white rose. This year, Archer improvised by gifting seniors their roses during a campus caravan and creating a video montage of the gesture. The event began with remarks from Head of School Elizabeth English and Student Body President Francesca Cappello (‘21).

“[The founders] didn’t just believe that we needed a school that would educate girls they believed that we needed a school that would empower girls, where women’s empowerment was at the center of the mission where strengthening girls voices and their capacity to lead was not only important for the sake of itself but was necessary for the good of society,” English said.

In her speech, Cappello echoed a similar sentiment, commenting on Archer’s “rich history” and “the hard-working village” that has made the school what it is today.

“Archer isn’t just a school, it’s a different type of family — a family where you don’t have to suffer through awkward Thanksgiving dinners, where you can cry on a friends shoulder when you need to, a family where you have Ms. Lee and Mr. Hauck on speed dial, where you can go to Ms. Janssen about your feelings in the art room, or share wild literary theories with Mr. Wogensen without being judged,” Cappello said. “I’d like to think that this is exactly what Archers founders had envisioned, a place for everyone to have a second family, and most importantly, feel loved.”

Amongst expressing her gratitude for the three founders, Cappello also mentioned how “proud” she is of the class of 2021.

Not only are we enduring the college application process, already difficult by itself, but we are also surviving a pandemic, a social revolution, an election year, and an unpredictable future,” Cappello said. “Seniors — your resilience and strength through all of this should be motivation to us all. I’ve never been more inspired by my peers to keep working.

Throughout English’s speech, resilience remained a constant, referring to the seniors as “the most resilient and the indomitable class of 2021.”

“They are all soon to be Archer alumni and what that means for us, in this moment in our country, is that we are about to graduate, some incredibly powerful young women,” English said. “They have demonstrated our core values of empathy, integrity and responsibility, beyond compare.”

Class Dean and English teacher James Russo also spoke during the ceremony, praising the “wonder women of 2021” for their “inspiring” efforts.

“The ordeal for these young women and so many Archer students like them has been the tumultuous tenor of our times,” Russo said. “Instead of cowering in fear, They have chosen to raise proverbial swords and hands and do battle. My fellow teachers and I have witnessed their transformation into heroes for the last four years, and we are in awe of their bravery.”

You can view a recording of the digital event here. Archer.org login is required.