Are we 40 yet? Kicking off our 40th year

Feeling nostalgic? You can find this and other NCSSM documents and ephemera in the library’s Digital Collections:

If you notice that we’re now celebrating the 40th Convocation of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, you might think for a moment that it’s been 40 years for the school. But convocations mark beginnings of years, while birthdays mark conclusions of them, so we’re really just turning 39 and beginning our 40th year.   It’s confusing.    When is the school’s birthdate, anyway? The state’s lawmakers legislated us into existence in 1978 with funding and political support, destining us to become operational in the future, but that was more the moment of conception than birth. Should we celebrate that day in 1980 when the first class was finally held? If so, then see above — it’s a definite milestone, but we’re really only 39. And who celebrates 39 unless you’re one of those who mark the (fill in the blank) anniversary of their 39th birthday?   Like we said, it’s confusing. With so many 40ths to be acknowledged, we’ve decided to share with you a list that we compiled using sophisticated techniques such as spreadsheets and finger counting and intricately parsed semantics. Stick with us here:     Technically, you’re only 40 years old for a day. Or a minute. Or maybe even just an infinitesimal instant. In the year prior to that you’re 39+, and in the immediate moments afterward you’re already — gulp — 40+.   There’s one final thing we know as well: We’re coming up on a lot of milestones, and we’re going to celebrate them all. So if it seems over the next few years that we’re always celebrating the 40th of something, it’s because we are.   Also, this: With the entry of the 41st class, that’s the moment we’ll have been around the sun as a school exactly 40 times — the official 40th anniversary moment. So that’s when we’re planning the big party. Stay tuned for details as we get closer!

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