2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
2020 Orientation
Orientation Reunites Blair Community

Orientation is a much-loved Blair tradition that brings students and faculty together at the start of each new school year. This year, as the community endeavors to stay safe and well amid the coronavirus pandemic, Orientation has expanded and taken on a different look, yet its goals remain the same: to help students learn their way around campus; get to know their fellow students and the faculty; and feel comfortable being at Blair.

Associate Dean of Students Andee Ryerson, who coordinates the event along with Associate Dean of Students Rod Gerdsen, noted an additional goal for Orientation 2020: helping students understand that they can have meaningful social connections while staying physically distant from one another. “We kept this goal in the forefront of our planning and incorporated lots of activities to acquaint students with the new norms of life on campus,” Mrs. Ryerson explained. “They won’t be able to be together in quite the way they are used to this year, so we made sure to show them lots of new ways to have meaningful social interactions even if they have to stay six feet apart and wear a mask.”

Orientation began this week with “mini-orientation” activities that kept students busy as they arrived in small groups and moved into the dorms. Students were organized into orientation “pods,” and they participated in in-person activities with their fellow pod members and pod faculty, as well as virtual multi-pod activities, including competitions, dorm room scavenger hunts and “crib” tours. Seniors also had the opportunity to attend online seminars with their college counselors to start their college application process and develop tools for successful virtual college visits and interviews.

On August 29 and 30, students and faculty members will participate in a community-wide Orientation weekend, and this will include virtual options so that remote learners can log in and participate. The weekend’s activities include team-building and communication exercises that will have students solving puzzles without being able to touch each other or the puzzle pieces; a COVID relay, in which students will practice health-and-safety protocols with a fun, competitive twist; and virtual getting-to-know-you games and challenges.

Senior leaders, including prefects, the Senior Class Council, and members of the Blue and White Key Society and Be Well @ Blair, have taken leadership roles in several virtual Orientation events. During mini-orientation, Blue and White Key Orientation leaders ran virtual activities for freshmen and other new students that focused on acquainting them with the physical campus and connecting with each other and their assigned big siblings. This weekend, senior leaders will host presentations on utilizing campus resources and facilitate conversations about the 2020-2021 all-School read, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. They will also hold discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion that will help set the stage for meaningful conversations throughout the year.

“Orientation 2020 offers returning students a chance to participate in activities that are very similar to the ones they enjoyed in past years and gives new students many opportunities to form strong bonds—even from a physical distance—among the student body and within their dorms, advisory groups and classes,” Mr. Gerdsen said. “I encourage students to join the ‘Dream Team,’ a group that will be working with me to brainstorm ideas for similar fun and safe activities throughout the year.”

“I hope by the end of Orientation, students feel prepared, energized and excited to start the new school year,” Mrs. Ryerson added. “We want them to realize that even with all the health-and-safety protocols that are new this year, this is still the Blair they know and love!”

News Headlines

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Blair Academy is pleased to welcome James H. Dickerson, PhD, who will speak to students, faculty and staff during a virtual Society of Skeptics lecture on September 29 at 7 p.m. His presentation, “Using Science for Good,” will center around his work at Consumer Reports and the use of scientific findings to drive marketplaces changes to improve products.

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Curran Family

Dear Blair Family, 

I write to you today about the end of one chapter in Blair’s history and an exciting new beginning. After more than seven years at Blair, Chris Fortunato has decided to return with his family to New England, where he will lead Thayer Academy, a day school outside of Boston. We are most grateful to Chris for his excellent leadership and many contributions over the course of his tenure and wish him and his family well. As we now look to Blair’s future, I am thrilled to announce that our Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Associate Head of School and Dean of Admission Peter G. Curran as Blair’s 17th Head of School, effective January 1, 2021.

Read More about An Announcement from the Chair of Blair Academy’s Board of Trustees