Marking the first day of classes, students, faculty and staff gathered in Dooney Field House for the traditional All-School Opening Assembly that welcomes the community to a new academic year. Grades 1 through 11 sat in bleachers surrounding members of the Class of 2020, who were seated in rows in the center of home court.

four adults arm in arm face camera. one tall black man and one white hs senior flanked by his parents

Clerk of Overseers Jeff Reinhold P '12 welcomed those gathered and encouraged the senior class to take time to enjoy the milestones that come with their penultimate year as Penn Charter students. Reinhold also explained the role of the board of Overseers, the 21-member governing body of the school. He noted the OPCs, parents, former parents and friends on Overseers support the head of school in the operation of the school, and more importantly are charged with "coming up with the big ideas." Reinhold provided an update on one of those big ideas: the campus master plan that calls for construction of a new Lower School and a new Athletics and Wellness Center.

Joseph Patrick Cannon (pictured here with his parents and and Head of School Darryl J. Ford) delivered the traditional senior class president welcome, closing his heartfelt and funny speech by posing a challenge, "...Think of your role at Penn Charter as part of something bigger than yourself. Whether you’re here for one year or for 40 years, make PC a greater place than you found it. What you take away from your experience at Penn Charter is only what you put into it." Read Cannon's speech.

To cheerful enthusiasm from the seniors, Cannon and Ford unveiled the Class of 2020 banner, which will be used at Commencement, OPC Weekend and beyond. 

100+ HS seniors pose with a blue and yellow banner that says 2020

Head of School Darryl J. Ford illuminated the theme for this year, Honoring the Light Within, and encouraged all to recognize the Inner Light in themselves and in their peers. He offered ways we can honor the Light in words and actions.

"As we enter this new school year, can you recognize the Inner Light within yourself? As we begin this new school year, what can you do to Honor the Light Within others? In the thick of darkness, can you be a Light to others?" Ford asked. 

It is also his hope, Ford said in closing, "that we all will take care of each other and you will take care of yourselves now and throughout this 330th year of Penn Charter’s existence, Honoring the Light Within, all while learning and growing here at Old Penn Charter." Read Ford's welcome address.

Quakers Dozen performed James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson's Lift Every Voice and Sing to close the opening assembly. 

Enjoy photos of the assembly and students from the first day of classes on Flickr.