Dr. James Tracy summed up his role in a single sentence to an audience of students, faculty and alumni as he was installed the 10th head of Rocky Hill School Friday afternoon.
After declaring his love for the school, he said, “My job is to be the catalyst for the talent that is here.”
Tracy was appointed to the position more than a year ago and started the job in July of this year. He’s already made an impression, as evidenced by those speaking at the outdoor ceremony on the front lawn of Hopelands, the former estate that serves as the school’s administrative building overlooking the Green River and Narragansett Bay.
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian spoke of collaboration between the private school and the Warwick Public Schools and the city.
Tracy, who is also a senior advisor to the Boston-based education technology incubator and accelerator LearnLaunch, plans to hold a series of educational forums at the school. He is looking to involve city and state education leaders as well as to extend the dialog to the greater community.
Tracy spoke briefly of those plans at an outdoor reception following the installation where the school community enthusiastically enjoyed cups of Del’s Lemonade.
Tracy was introduced to Rocky Hill by its students and alumni, who traced the history of the school founded in 1934 and talked about its teachers and traditions.
“Rocky Hill is truly an environment where we are able to grow physically and mentally,” senior Alejandro Perez said. “This school excels in helping students find the best in themselves. I myself discovered my love for politics and legal studies in a Rocky Hill classroom, and these are areas that I hope to pursue in the future.”
Perez also talked abut Tracy. He drew an analogy of the school to a ship with Tracy at the helm.
He said Tracy has already made “great strides in the fields of communication, ethics and integrity…You are approachable and understanding; your willingness to serve the public is unparalleled.”
Sarah Siskin, a member of the class of 1978 and Alumni Association president, shared highlights from the school’s past, saying, “I know, Jim, that you appreciate the strength and support of this incredible community as much as I do, and as you look to move the school forward, you must also reflect on our past to understand how we got to where we are today.”
She traced the school’s history from its creation in 1934 in the Rocky Hill section of East Greenwich; its move in 1948 to its current location in the Potowomut section of Warwick; its first graduating class of 12th graders in 1967; achievements in athletics; construction of buildings; and developments in technology.
Siskin said Tracy is the right person to take the school “on a vision quest to become a model school for the entire country.” Such expectation may seem ambitious, even beyond reach.
In comments following the ceremony, a Del’s in hand, Tracy said after interviewing with the school’s board he knew he wanted to come to Rocky Hill. They shared his passion for education.
In the shade of the giant elm tree that is an icon at the Rocky Hill School campus, students, faculty, alumnae and friends gather to witness the installation of James Tracy Friday afternoon. (Warwick Beacon photos)
Dr. James Tracy (left) speaks with Mayor Scott Avedisian and Edwin Santos, president of the board of trustees, after his installation as the 10th head of Rocky Point School.
A TOAST TO TRACY:
Rocky Hill School students raise their cups of Del’s Lemonade in a toast to James Tracy. Lillian Liebermensch (in the foreground at left) participated in the ceremony, bringing greetings from her classmates.