Convocation Speech

 Jacob Vaneck

As many of you know my mom, Robine Vaneck is the new Associate Head of school. She went to Waring as a student, and came back to teach after college. Although my mom has been a part of Waring practically since the school started, when I was in sixth grade I did not want to come to Waring. I was happy at Glen Urquhart with all of my friends, and I was finally going to be one of the older students at school. The thought of leaving those friends, going to a new school where I barely knew anyone and becoming one of the youngest people again terrified me.
For the first three years of my Waring career I was one of the quietest and seemingly most serious kids in the school. My tutorial, with Dorothy, even had a game of trying to make me smile each time we met on Tuesdays and Fridays, and for the most part it worked. I tried my best to not speak up in class because I was nervous that what I had to say was going to be wrong, or that there would be an awkward silence afterwards. I never purposely stepped out of my comfort zone; there were a few times when I was called out in a large group, or when I was asked to do something that I wasn’t comfortable with, and those situations didn’t end well.
When I was in eighth grade I was put into the Pottery, Poetry and Purpose end term, possibly my sixth or seventh choice. I wasn’t very good at art to begin with, and to think I would be able to make a functional bowl with my own hands seemed impossible. For the last few months of that school year I was dreading those two and a half weeks of end term where I would be using clay to make bowls and cups, writing poetry and having to read to the entire group, and then would be forced to think about what I have made… and then write about that too. But by the first three days of end term I had already fallen in love, I had fallen in love with pottery. When I got to school at eight a.m. all I wanted to do was sit on that old wooden kick wheel and throw bowls until I had to leave at five o’clock.
After that End Term everything seemed to be clicking. I found myself talking with more people in my grade, sharing my ideas in humanities class, offering my answers from the homework in math class and putting myself out there to try new things. All of a sudden I wanted to be as much a part of Waring as anyone had ever been. And this new idea of not being scared to throw myself into Waring has made all the difference. I no longer let these things like, making a mistake in humanities, or not getting the answer in math class, keep me from trying.
So new students, throw your whole self in to Waring. You may be a potter, an actor, a singer or an athlete, but you wont know for sure until you try.

Thank You.


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