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Branson Celebrates Convocation 2023
Olivia Flemming

Branson celebrated its annual Convocation honoring the Class of 2024 on September 29, 2023. This semi-formal event featured jubilant music and moving speeches, welcoming the new school year and celebrating the senior class. 

Branson’s Jazz Performance group kicked off the ceremony with a festive rendition of “Saint Thomas” featuring several improvisational soloists directed by Music Teacher Jaimeo Brown.

Chris Mazzola

Head of School Chris Mazzola addresses students and families.

Next, Senior Class Representative Kaia Hayes spoke about kindness and how we as a community come together to make us one. She read Danusha Laméris’s poem, "Small Kindnesses" (reprinted below), connecting the Branson community to lines in the poem and challenging us to show one another kindness every day.

Head of School Chris Mazzola gave a moving speech about a harrowing and deeply personal experience she had as a senior in high school. Through tragedy, she shared the life-long lessons it taught her about community, friendship, and belonging and how it's shaped her path as an educator to this day. Read Chris' speech (scroll down and select "Convocation 2023).


Another senior class representative, Lillie Lehman, followed up Chris’ speech with a poem by Everett Wentworth Hill, entitled “Something You Can Do” (reprinted below) and emphasized the  importance of our Branson community – how we must lean on each other and help each other grow.

The ceremony concluded with Branson’s Rock Band, performing “Mind Over Matter" by Young Giants and “Drops of Jupiter” by Train.

After the event, parents and guardians gathered in Maxwell Garden for a reception to celebrate the beginning of their students' final year at Branson.


kaia hayes

Senior Class Representative Kaia Hayes '24

Lillian Lehman

Senior Class Representative Lillie Lehman '24
















students playing instruments at convocaiton

Branson Jazz Ensemble performs

Small Kindnesses
By Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”


Something You Can Do
by Everett Wentworth Hill

There must be something you can do
To ease the burden of the day,
For someone who has lost his faith
In self, and cannot find his way.

One little deed, one thought, one act,
Will bring reward to you when aid
Is given to someone who strays
Along life's path, alone, afraid.

You might have been that one who lost
His faith, and failed to understand,
And needed friends to urge you on.
Think well, then offer him your hand.


Photo Credit: Peopletography