By the time a first year student arrives on campus they probably already know a lot about Bard College at Simon’s Rock. And parents have likely learned a lot about their children during the admission process. Arrival Day—Bard College at Simon’s Rock orientation for new students and their families—is the next step. It’s a day that students move-in, orientate to college life, and meet their peers. More than that, Arrival Day is an occasion that allows Simon’s Rock Provost Mary Marcy to celebrate the accomplishments and diversity revealed during the admission process. Addressing incoming students and their families, Provost Marcy shared some of the individual accomplishments that define this class as an extraordinary group.
“You have traveled, lived, worked and studied all over the world including Australia, Columbia, the Congo, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Russia, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“You have participated in the People to People Youth Ambassador Program and have crisscrossed the United States (one in a big rig). Among the languages in which you are fluent are American Sign Language, Arabic, Bulgarian, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Yoruba. Two members of the class come to us as former exchange students and citizen diplomats on the YES program.
“You volunteer locally, nationally, and internationally at hospitals, animal shelters, orphanages, organic farms, and food pantries. You’ve built houses in Appalachia, advocated for the disabled, trained service dogs, taught youth in tutoring and arts programs, worked on political campaigns, and raised funds through programs like Nothing But Nets. You are active in national organizations as varied as the Model UN, GLSEN, National Novel Writing Month, and Scouting.
“Some of you are talented musicians who have produced your own albums and learned to play the sarangi. The class includes members who play the tuba, hand bell, guitar, piano, piccolo, mandolin, flute, ukulele, accordion, bass, harp, violin, viola, alto and tenor saxophone, drums, and cello. Some of you play in bands, have performed with state youth orchestras, and have written folk, rock, and hip hop songs. Some of you are actors who have graced the stages of school and community theatres, photographers with an uncanny ability to connect with your subjects, filmmakers and film critics.
“Your workplaces include a sailing vessel, coffee shop, radio station, computer game company, and stunt fight choreographer; some of you have helped support your families through paid employment. You are ballet, swing, hip hop, and jazz dancers, trapeze artists, black belts, swimmers, equestrians, soccer players, and gymnasts.
“There are geocachers and ham radio operators in the audience; hikers and birders, students who have developed computer games, websites, and security programs; and those who have written novels, short stories, poems, and newspaper articles. Many, many of you have been active in debate; continued lively political debates is ensured by the presence of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party members, Communists, and Anarchists.
“One student has been mobbed by fans in China while touring with a student exchange dance/singing group and had to exit out a secret back door. That same student was tasked with introducing performances in MANY different provincial Chinese dialects. One of you won a state championship in a bridge-building contest. One of you is a nationally recognized spoke word poet. One of you has traveled the U.S. helping to develop National Parks curricula, an adventure that has found her working with Sandra Day O’Connor and snapping photos of buffalo in Yellowstone. One of you works on the NASA FERMI telescope project. One of you is a nationally ranked horseback rider. One of you has completed more than one Outward Bound experience. Someone else has spent several days alone in the woods without any phone or Internet connection to ‘civilization.’ One of you is a self-published author of a self-help book for teens hoping to ‘train’ their parents. And one of you has contributed a number of skateboarding montages to YouTube.”