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I want to give a big welcome to Kindergarteners, 1st Graders, and 2nd Graders. We 8th Graders remember what it felt like to be so new to VCS, it can feel big at first and it takes time to get used to being around so many kids, but it is also really fun to make new friends. As much as 8th Graders love to help other students, you will see that all of the new faces here are friendly, and they will all be sure to lend a hand if you need it. One of the most important parts of these early years is to have fun, in the classroom, in the yard, on the Roof, in the Gym, on field trips, and at home! We want you all to have the best school year ever, so remember to be safe in order for you to be able to play and have fun as often as possible. For us, we have known each other for 9 years, some of us have been friends since Kindergarten. Now is a great time to get to know your classmates, and to make friends that will be by your side for many years. And believe it or not, we hope you’ll be our new friends too.

I have some advice I’d like to pass on to the 3rd-5th Graders. Try to enjoy all of your classes and take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way. Have an open mindset when trying to overcome obstacles, and try to stay focused on the task at hand. Although schoolwork can sometimes be tough, it truly feels so good to accomplish your goals and create projects that you are proud of. Appreciate your free time and try to build strong relationships with your classmates and teachers. We’ve seen how creative and enthusiastic you all are and we think that if you put your energy into your work, you will get where you want to be and make amazing things. Hard work pays off. If you ever feel overwhelmed, know that your teachers are there for you and that you can always take a minute to stop and breathe. You are never alone and can always reach out to teachers and classmates if you need help. Be inclusive of everyone, and try to extend beyond your closest friends, you never know, you might meet your new best friend in an unexpected way. Having more peers and friends supporting you makes school so much more enjoyable. If you get partnered with someone who might not be your best friend, take it as an opportunity to get to know them.

To the 5th Graders, you are the oldest in the Lower School and the rest of the Lower School looks up to you. Try to help students younger than you when you can and pave the way for them for when they take your position. Learning how to be a leader is so important when entering 6th Grade, and we can’t wait for you to become Upper Schoolers.

6th Graders, welcome to the best years of VCS! Our advice to you is to enjoy it while you can, it goes by way too fast. Surround yourself with inclusive, accepting friends who make you feel confident about yourself. Balancing school work with your social life may be challenging at first, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Don’t let yourself get too stressed while dealing with projects and homework, find a way that works for you to manage your time. Some things that have worked for us are planning, creating a schedule and keeping things organized. Get ready for the Overnight and the really cool Upper School privileges and events that you’ll experience now that you’re in 6th Grade. And remember it’s most important that you all have fun.

7th Graders, this year is very important. Keep the high school process in the back of your minds and try your best while working on any school project. Organization is key this year. Even if things get stressful and you find yourself very busy, make time for yourself and your friends.