Woodlands Academy festivities and traditions kick off the new school year

The Woodlands Academy Class of 2024 got the new school year off to a rousing start with their annual “Seniors Rule” party at the start of the first day of classes on August 22.

Members of the senior class arrived at school in the early hours to decorate the hallways and main entryway. Upon their arrival in the morning, Woodlands faculty, staff, and students were greeted with music, streamers, balloons, dancing, and spirited signage that played off popular memes and cultural touchpoints, including “Little Miss Senior” and “Come on Barbie, Let’s Go Party!”

Following the celebrations, another Woodlands tradition was observed. Just prior to the start of classroom activities, the entire Woodlands Academy community gathered for the annual commissioning of faculty and staff and official opening of the school year. The ceremony included welcomes, reflections, and blessings from Head of School Dr. Susan Tyree Dempf, Associate Head of School Christine Schmidt, and Principal Rocco Gargiulo, along with greetings to each class from Woodlands Academy Council of Representatives (WACOR) President Aanya Sahu.

“It’s been such a wild ride,” Sahu told her fellow members of the Woodlands senior class, “and I know it will continue to be a wild ride with you all. But I am so excited to see where we are going and the bright future ahead of us.”

The day’s events were the culmination of more than a week’s worth of orientation activities that began on August 14 with the welcoming of new faculty and staff. Orientation continued through the week with presentations by academic and institutional department heads, prayer services, and other activities.

On August 21, freshmen and transfer students—along with their parents and guardians—took part in a New Student Prayer Service in which each first-year student was given a candle, which was then lit. At the end of the ceremony, the new Woodlands students processed out of the school’s chapel carrying their lit candles. The ceremony for new students was followed by their own morning-long orientation that included tours of the campus and classrooms, ice-breaker activities in the Information Commons, tech set-up, photo IDs, and the all-important first visit to their lockers.