Trust in each other, ourselves

Jan Garrison

What stands behind the Crest


April 28, 2021


That word is what comes to mind when Yichen (Sherry) Xie ’21 reflects on the meaning of the Culver Girls Academy Crest. The trust the adults put in the students to carry out the CGA mission and the trust the girls place in each other and themselves to follow though.

Xie (Shanghai, China) talked about the meaning of the crest during the spring ceremony welcoming 17 new girls into the CGA family last week. She told the girls that the phrases behind each of the four quadrants of the crest – “Strength of Friendship,” “Knowledge and Tradition,” “Strength and Justice,” and “Service and Success” – are easy to learn. But it takes time to fully “understand the weight behind them.”

It is considered that each quadrant represents a year in the process. “You build friendships your first year, soak in the knowledge and tradition of CGA in your second year, learn about strength and justice as a nascent leader, and put your service into success in your final year at Culver,” she explained.

But, as she sees the intersection and the combination of all four quadrants in her everyday life, Xie said, the more she realizes “what truly lies behind the four quadrants is the idea of trust.” It is the trust the adults put in each girl to “chart our own paths” and the trust “we endow upon ourselves” find the meaning behind that trust.

She saw this come together while doing remote learning in last spring. With the 12-hour time difference between Culver and China, Xie had to juggle her classes, CGA leadership responsibilities, and extracurricular activities. She also ran the Junior Leadership Training Program workshops for the Asian/Pacific students. And she was one of the student-teacher liaisons hosting weekly meetings for the Asian/Pacific group as they worked in “connecting” with Culver on the other side of the world.

Xie realized that the “Strength of Friendship” is not dependent on physical distances, but on “how much trust we have for each other and how close we are in our hearts.” That is when she started to grasp “the true gravity of being a leader.”

“The point of service to others is not just to earn success for oneself,” she explained, “but to provide a platform for the success of others.” That, in turn, will lead to your own growth and success. As peers and faculty looked to her for direction, Xie saw how much trust they were putting in her and she treated “that trust as sacred.”

She told the new girls they had arrived at Culver during “an extremely poignant time.” It is a time of excitement juxtaposed with the confusion of what boarding school is like in the midst of a pandemic. “Yet, despite the numerous challenges facing you, you have never given up on your trust in yourselves.”

And like Xie, who returned to campus after the winter break, many of them arrived on campus in the middle of the year. But they have bonded “seamlessly with the other CGA students” and taken the initiative to make the most of their beginning days at Culver. “It takes tremendous courage and resilience to come to CGA far away from home. I commend all the hard work that you have put in during your time at Culver.”

She told the girls that as they put on their blazers with the CGA Crest, they should remember that they are not only representing Culver Girls Academy, “but you are also carrying the trust you have given to yourself and the trust we have put in you.”

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