Principia College gathered in Cox Auditorium in February to welcome new students and staff, hear community updates from President John Williams, and listen to four students speak about their Principia College experiences. Though the selected students’ speeches touched on a wide variety of topics, each was grounded in the idea of community and what Principians can achieve individually and collectively with a community of acceptance, love, and support.
Sophomore and Principia School graduate Kaya Equevilley didn’t originally plan to attend Principia College. But when she arrived for orientation at Johnson & Wales University, she realized almost immediately that she missed the Principia community. Though it wasn’t in her life plan, she knew she could write a new plan with the support of the community. “The best thing Principia has to offer is its openness,” says Equevilley, “the atmosphere of love that makes it okay to not know what you want to do or where you want to go."
For senior Luke Nutwell, who moved from place to place throughout childhood, community is created when one lets go of the fear of new experiences. Nutwell also noted that jumping into new experiences, whether that is taking a music class or joining the Mediation team, brings valuable self-knowledge. His advice? “Don’t let fear captivate you. Rather, let the myriad opportunities at Principia College excite you.”
Seniors Lessly Amwikato and Jake Sablan both spoke to their pandemic experiences at Principia. Though Amwikato took a semester off to be with family and Sablan returned to campus as soon as possible, both felt the support of the community at a time when distance and masks were the norm. As students adapted to hybrid classes and online social events, “we found ways to bring the best of Principia everywhere,” says Sablan. Amwikato, who thanked her professors and mentors throughout the speech, noted “growth comes easily when you have a support system,” even during unexpected community challenges.
Watch the full 2023 Winter Convocation here.