On Tuesday, April 3, students, faculty, staff, board members, friends, and family joined together to recognize Dr. Josh Watson at the Installation Ceremony as La Pietra's 5th Head of School.
La Pietra Junior, Kuali'i Copp, began the ceremony with an Oli Aloha to welcome all attendees. Followed by First Vice Chair, Board of Trustee Member, Dr. Daniel White, he opened the program to formally recognize Dr. Josh Watson as La Pietra's new Head of School.
"When we as a board and search committee went looking for a new Head of School, we were hoping to find a person who would lead La Pietra over a significant period of time, providing faculty, student, and families with a consistent vision of what La Pietra is and what it can be. We believe we found that person in Dr. Josh Watson," stated Dr. White.
Dr. White further recited, "Josh, we believe you are the right person, in the right place, at the right time, we are excited to welcome you in this formal sanction as our leader."
Senior, Lanihuli Gilbert represented the student body and explained, "A Head of School is clear about what is best for students – for their academic, social, and emotional learning. This person is the embodiment of the school's vision; a consensus builder who inspires students and faculty alike, contributing to the school's stability, retention, and investment. A Head of School strives to bring out the best in people. Our Head of School, Dr. Josh Watson, is all of these things. And La Pietra is made better by being the recipient of his gifts and talents."
Under the direction of Music Teacher, Mrs. Shari Lynn, the Select Choir furthered the program by dedicating two songs, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Month of Maying", to Dr. Watson.
Two gifts were presented to Dr. Watson. The Middle School, represented by La Dayne Pascua '22 and Grace Kane '23, provided a book inscribed by each middle school student titled, "The Power of Positive Leadership". The Upper School, represented by Jessica Akiona '18 and Emily Pham '19 presented the book titled, "Leverage Leadership – A practical guide to building exceptional skills", which also was inscribed by every upper school student.
From the faculty, Mr. Jack Wade explains to audience members about Dr. Watson, "It has been a great first year, whether it's been filling up the water coolers in the faculty lounge, coming to all of the sporting events, he's an all-around great guy."
Dr. Watson delivered his keynote address to the students acknowledging his predecessors, board of trustees, special guests, faculty, staff, and students.
Dr. Watson states, "As only the fifth Head of School in our school's fifty-three-year history, I am honored to join the ranks of those illustrious individuals who have shaped this school into what it is today. I am grateful especially to our previous Head, Mrs. Mahina Hugo, whose graciousness and aloha were invaluable to me as I transitioned into this role. I am also pleased to share this honor today with the other Heads who have come before me: Mrs. Nancy White, Mr. Scott Miekeljohn, and of course Mr. Joe Pynchon, in whose incomparable footsteps all of us have followed. I am also grateful to our founders, Mrs. Barbara Cox Anthony, and Mrs. Lorraine Day Cooke, who not only saw the need for an independent school just for girls, but who also – as I am convinced – saw the potential in these girls themselves to make our world a better place."
He concludes with a message to students stating, "I want you to remember one thing for me. I predict that someday in the future, many of you will be giving a speech similar to this for a school, a company, or an organization that you will be leading. And I know that at least one of you - sitting right here today - will be giving a slightly different kind of speech someday on a cold morning in January on the steps of our national Capitol. I know this prediction will come true because I know that LP-HSG girls are capable and confident. I know that you are undaunted; ready to meet any challenge and overcome it, because it simply never occurs to you to expect anything else."
Dr. Watson further addresses that, "Today's ceremony will be a memory I will treasure forever. I promise that I will always give my best to this school that we all love so dearly because each of you deserves nothing less. I look forward to the future of La Pietra – Hawaii School for Girls with excitement and I am grateful to be a part of it."
The ceremony concluded with all students and guests singing La Pietra's Alma Mater.