A Warm Welcome for Groton's New Families

Groton School welcomed ninety-two new students to the Circle on September 10, greeting families on a sunny Saturday filled with parent meetings, student orientation, and an address by the headmaster.

The majority of new students arrived on campus Saturday, but some arrived earlier in the week for preseason athletics. All new students began Groton’s orientation program together, getting to know their peers and to ease into their new lives on the Circle. 

New students stopped first at the Headmaster’s House, where they greeted Headmaster Temba Maqubela and Mrs. Vuyelwa Maqubela, as well as their assigned Sixth Form advisors. The Sixth Formers helped their advisees through registration and into their dorms. Throughout the morning, students in bright orange shirts—the “move-in crew"—carried boxes and suitcases from cars and vans, easing the burden on arriving families.
Students new to Groton this year traveled from ten countries—Australia, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates—and fourteen states, stretching from Maine to California and Florida to Wyoming. Groton students brought along talents as varied as their hometowns.
Forty-seven percent of the incoming students are receiving financial aid; they were admitted without regard to their ability to pay—a reflection of the school’s emphasis on inclusion and the successful GRAIN (GRoton Affordability and INclusion) initiative. 
After lunch and meetings with faculty advisors, parents of new students gathered to hear the headmaster speak. Mr. Maqubela, noting the return to normalcy after COVID protocols, stressed the importance of two words—“Relationships matter”—and an emphasis on the basic values of “humility, intentionality, and purpose.”
He urged parents to write old-fashioned letters to their children, acknowledging that some students may be homesick and that some parents may feel an emptiness as they say goodbye. “It’s time for them to triumph. It’s time for them to spread their wings," Mr. Maqubela advised. "It’s time for you to let go.”

As parents left campus, their children were already fully immersed in orientation programming, planting roots in what would soon become their home away from home.