In her first address to the student body during Senior Convocation, Interim Head of School Mariama Richards welcomed new and returning community members before quoting a verse from one of her favorite Kendrick Lamar songs: “I felt the good, I felt the bad, and I felt the worry / But all in all, my productivity had stayed urgent / Face your fears / Always knew that I would make it here.” Mariama acknowledged that though she wasn’t always sure of her path, as she stepped into her new role as interim head of school she knew she had found a home at Crossroads. “I do believe that everything happens for a reason,” said Mariama. “And being at Crossroads is exactly where I’ve always needed to be.”
This sense of belonging was something that was echoed throughout students’ first week at school. K-5 students were (re-)introduced to Elementary School faculty and staff through a charming music video
set to the theme to “Full House” that was shared at the first Friday Gathering. The song, which shares themes of family and togetherness, had students cheering raucously as classroom teachers, specialists, administrators and staff appeared on screen. The auditorium broke into applause as new Head of Elementary School Stacey Koff rolled into frame on her longboard. In an exciting live finale, faculty and staff danced to and sang the song’s ending verse, which reflects the ethos of the Elementary School: “Everywhere you look / Everywhere you go / here's a heart / A hand to hold onto.”
For the first time, Middle Schoolers participated in an entire week of orientation, known as the Week of Welcome. The experience provided opportunities to meet and reconnect with classmates through fun bonding activities, including grade-level beach cleanups in Santa Monica. At the end of the week, students gathered to listen to Assistant Head of Middle School Cooper Bergdahl’s address focused on identity, belonging and this year’s Middle School theme of being “all in.” Cooper acknowledged that the idea of giving 100 percent every single day could feel overwhelming, and instead asked students to try the following: “Get one percent better. That doesn’t seem so big. Get one percent better today, one percent better tomorrow and one percent every other day. That’s attainable, and if each one of you gets one percent better each and every day, just imagine where the Middle School will be at the end of the year.”
Upper Schoolers received a similar message from Head of Upper School Anthony Locke in their division’s assembly. Anthony reflected on the concept of time, saying, “It has a funny way of passing us by when we turn our backs. When we’re finally ready to face it, it’s no longer there. My wish for you is that you see the opportunity and responsibility in the time that you have at Crossroads.” He specifically addressed the senior class’s role as leaders on campus. “Leadership is not a position or a status. It’s not a status or a rank. It’s a choice—a choice to prioritize the needs of the people in your charge,” said Anthony. “And so, as you set out to wage war on outdated traditions of oppression and create a world that your children’s children can one day be proud of, make the most of your time here at Crossroads.”
On Friday, as the final moments of the first week of school came to a close, senior members of Student Council landed on one small way they could make an impact on the School community. To top off a successful first week of school, they handed out cookies to Upper School students in the Alley, recognizing that even a small act of kindness—like a cookie—can make the simplest moments feel so sweet.