Monday, August 31, 2009


Ian Smith, who taught Social Studies at Hanover High for nine years, is the school's new Dean of Students. Here are excerpts from his remarks at the opening-day assembly.

Good morning. I want you all to know how pleased we are to have you back. I was never sure if administration was telling the truth when they would say how glad they were to see everybody, staff and students alike. After spending the summer here, I now know for sure they meant what they were saying. For a Dean of Students, school is a very strange place with no students.

In the welcome message in the school handbook, I refer to the democratic school and the fact that it relies not only on students exercising their freedoms but doing so in a responsible way. I want to emphasize this point and remind you that the opportunities that you have are earned as a result of your willingness to adhere to the guidelines stated in the handbook. Know that these opportunities exist because we trust that you'll respect the school culture that allows the freedoms you're accustomed to, to be extended.

In turn, we the staff have made the commitment to provide a setting where students of all interests and abilities feel comfortable. We want you to feel good about coming here each day. We want you to know that you will be supported and that we want to see each of you succeed. But also understand that a large part of your experience here at the high school will be determined by you alone, the attitude that you come to school with, how hard you work and how much you are willing to extend yourself and create the kind of relationships that will make this place a good place to spend the day.

Not every day is going to be easy and there will be times you would rather be somewhere else. We know this. However, in the spirit of good will, please keep in mind the power that each of us has to affect our own day, to make a bad day into a good one, and to help someone else along.

I want to wish you well this year. Let us, as a staff, know how we can help. Have a great first day.