The beginning of the school year is always filled with mixed emotions. Students are nervous, excited, anxious, eager, and hopeful when starting the new year. In the mid 1980s, then Head of School Gordon Lenci decided to create an event that would help ease these emotions. This event, which has evolved over the past 35 years, helps ensure that every student – from kindergarten to seniors – feels welcomed and is excited when they walk through the front doors of RPCS. We continue the legacy of this spirited event on the second day of every school year, named Opening Day Convocation.
Opening Day Convocation is a loud, fun, energetic and engaging celebration in the beginning of the new school year with an emphasis on celebrating our senior class.
This celebration of the RPCS community, where we lift each other up and celebrate each other, began as a simple assembly just for Upper School staff and students to introduce new teachers and welcome students. Then, in the mid-80s, the ceremony morphed into an all-school celebration. Traditions have been added along the way, including the singing of certain songs and memorable performances.
“Opening Day shows all of us, seniors and non-seniors alike, the true meaning behind the spirit, tradition and sisterhood that is fostered within the walls of RPCS. Becoming a senior and experiencing Opening Day is one of the greatest days as an RPCS student. While it signifies coming full circle in your time at the school, it also represents the strong relationships and incredible memories you have created along that journey and will continue to create in our final year. It’s also so special to look back and reflect on how Opening Day is something that every alumna will always have in common, and we will cherish in our hearts for a lifetime!”
- Mackenzie Pitruzzella, 2020
During the Opening Day Convocation, lovingly shortened to simply “Opening Day” by most, the entire school participates in sing-a-longs led by our Upper School Music Director, Lisa Anne Diver, 2006. The Head of School pounds on the drum to kick off the ceremony, the students get to hear from the SGA President, and it always ends with the School Song. Our select auditioned performing arts ensembles, most notably the Roses Repertory Dance Company and Semiquavers in recent years, perform multiple numbers, and the senior class opens the celebration with a dance routine they worked hard to perfect over the summer.
"No matter what we did over the summer, who we haven’t seen in three months, or the nerves we may feel before the school year, we are all connected by the excitement of Opening Day Convocation. It is truly incredible to see everyone from the littlest of REDs all the way up to the seniors gathered in the Athletic Complex to start the year off together. My freshman year, I vividly remember thinking how lucky I was to be in a learning environment with this much positivity and pride. We all look forward to the day where we can lead this long-standing tradition knowing this year will be the best one yet. I cannot wait for the moment I run into the gym alongside my closest friends bringing that same rush of spirit and joy I first felt as a RED in just a few short days!"
–Grace Daniels, 2023
Ms. Diver leads the entire school in singing Let’s Go Singing (a tradition started by beloved retired Music Director Doug Forbes), Make New Friends and We’re All Together. In We’re All Together, every group of the RPCS community is called out upon to participate. Lower School, Middle School, Upper School, the senior class specifically, employees, parents and alumnae are all called upon to yell “We’re here! We’re here!”
“My favorite parts of Opening Day are the big drum and the senior dance. Everyone is so loud and happy and excited for a new year. I can't wait to be a senior and celebrate with my friends and make up our own dance!"
- Reese Hatton, 2029
These traditions are a big part of who we are! Those who have already graduated are welcomed and encouraged to come back to attend Opening Day Convocation, as are the parents of the senior class. Local alumnae love to attend this multi-generational event. This beloved tradition helps build our community and strengthen the ties to RPCS even after graduation. Multiple legacy families attend to cheer on the newest almost-alums as well as the kindergarteners beginning their journey as REDS.