Dr. Grace Cheng Dodge, the TAS Head of School, on the First Day of School at TAS

By Brooke Burns, Communications Manager 

When the gates to campus opened early on Wednesday morning, the joy in the air was palpable as our students began to stream onto campus after many weeks apart.

Students reuniting on the first day of school at TAS


From sharing hugs with old friends, and swapping stories big and small about summer vacation, it was wonderful to see our returning students reunited and ready to start the year on such a positive note. Once inside the building, students were welcomed by their friends, teachers, and administrators, who helped everyone find their way to their classrooms. 

Middle School Director Josh Budde Helping Students on the First Day of School at TAS


We are also thrilled to welcome 331 news students from 258 families, who represent 20 different countries. Our lower school welcomed 214 of these students, while 72 and 45 students joined our middle and upper schools, respectively. Today was an especially exciting day for our KA students, who are joining us for their first year at TAS!

First Day of School at TAS

For new families and returning students moving to a new division, today represents an important step in their educational journey, and our students welcomed the first day of school with tenacity and kindness. 

Our returning students were ready to welcome our newest Tigers to campus, especially those who volunteered their time and enthusiasm as part of the lower school ambassador program at new student orientation, and the REACH-OUT program. Thank you to everyone who has already taken the time to help our new community members feel at home at TAS!  

Lower School student ambassadors at TAS new student orientation
Middle School REACH OUT volunteer on the first day of school at TAS
Upper School REACH OUT ambassadors on the first day of school at TAS

Whether they were finding their way through a new class schedule, helping new students get acquainted with life at TAS, or sharing a snack with their friends in the cafeteria, today has been a testament to the TAS spirit!  

Arriving for the first day of school at TAS

On top of the positive energy of the back-to-school season, our return to campus after government closures in the spring has inspired many members of the community to meditate on the fresh start effect. Studied at length by Katy Milkman at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the fresh start effect is the idea that 'specific event dates' like a birthday, the New Year, or the first day of school, "enable people to be more effective at setting and achieving behavioral-changing goals." With a community as diverse and as widely talented as TAS, we know that there are incredible goals, hopes, and dreams in the hearts of everyone in our community!  

We asked around for just a few examples of what a fresh start for this school year means to different members of our community. We hope you feel just as inspired as we do to embark on this new journey together! 

In middle school, English teacher Carrie Tenebrini told us that for her, “One of the reasons I so love teaching is because each year, I get to start over again. I have the opportunity to use what I learned previously to improve my relationships with students and colleagues. The chance to grow is built right into the calendar.” 

Leo Lopez (upper school mathematics) shared that, “A fresh start means trying something new and challenging for the first time and not allowing the experiences of the past (both good and bad) restrict how you move forward.” 

One of our upper school associate principals, Evelyn Chen, joyfully told us that, "A fresh start always holds so much promise and potential for growth. Today is the first day of the school year, and our hallways are buzzing with so much excitement. It’s simply fabulous to have everyone back on campus."

In Lower School, Mandarin teacher Liwen Chao told us that, “A new school year means a new start, new adventures, new mindset, new focus, new challenges, and new intentions. And things will change if everyone keeps learning and training their mind to think.” 

Finally, we took a moment to speak with Dr. Dodge, our ever-inspiring, ever-joyful Head of School. On one of the happiest days of the year, she perfectly captured a sentiment shared by many: 

 “I always love the beginning of a school year. It's a time where we all come back rejuvenated, eager, and enthusiastic to see old friends, meet new friends, and learn new things together. To me, a fresh start means embracing the unknown not with fear but with joy and excitement.  

It may mean seeing something that we've seen before and letting a fresh look enhance our understanding. It also means we are fearless to try something new, and to know that we will be ok if it doesn't work out like we expected. Every day can be a fresh start and that is the best part of being a lifelong learner.” 

We hope today left our TAS tigers invigorated and inspired for the 22-23 school year. Enjoy this fresh start, everyone, and get ready for the adventure ahead!  

First day of school at TAS with some of our central admin!