Senior graduating class of 2016, I was absolutely flabbergasted when Sally told me that you had selected me to be one of your commencement speakers. I want you to know what an incredible privilege it is for me to be here with you today, celebrating your special day.
Thank you to all the parents, family, guests, and alumnae who have come to share this special day with us, the Class of 2016. Thank you to the teachers, faculty, and staff for getting us this far. Thank you to all our friends and schoolmates who have helped to make our last year worthwhile. Today we are gathered in our gymnatorium, as Ann likes to call it, in order to celebrate another significant milestone in our lives. Like other milestones, we may not always appreciate it as much as we do now or remember the amount of work that we put into getting here, but that does not make it any less consequential.
closing words to the Class of 2015 at Commencement, written and read by Nafisatou Mounkaila '13.
by Grace Powers '15, Class Speaker
Hi, my name is Grace Powers, and I’m so incredibly thankful to speak on behalf of this senior class. First, welcome to friends and family. Thank you to faculty, staff, and administration, for getting us here, pushing us when we didn’t want to be pushed, and trusting us when we didn’t trust ourselves. Classmates, thank you for entrusting me with this incredible honor. Finally, Sally, thank you for making the executive decision to have graduation in the gym. For those of you who don’t know me, I have quite an uncontrollable and inexplicable fear of walking birds, and if this graduation was outside those geese would have put quite a damper on things.
by Shawn Durrett, Dean of Faculty
Welcome Stoneleigh-Burnham community and special guests, good morning class of 2015. Seniors, thank you for inviting me to share this day with you; I feel so honored to stand here and speak to you today. Nafisatou and Grace, it is a privilege to share the stage with you, you who model the many ways to find your voice, and use it. Thank you for your words.
By the time I got to our usual table for Monday’s Middle School Advisory Lunch, three of my advisees had already sat down and were deeply engaged in conversation. As new advisees arrived, they joined in, and as I listened in, smiled, and nodded, I couldn’t help but think that everyone was in a good mood today and also that through the year everyone had become really, wonderfully, comfortable with each other.
This year's Commencement speaker, chosen by the graduating class of 2014, was visual artist and MacArthur Felllow Anna Schuleit Haber. Ms. Haber has graciously given us permission to post her full speech here. "Believe the Bird" was delivered at Stoneleigh-Burnham School's 2014 Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 6th in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Today we feature a guest blogger, parent Christina Lord. Christina has written a reflection for her daughter Caroline Lord and Caroline's peers who will be graduating tomorrow morning, June 6th.
Filed Under: Graduation
Spearth Day was born of a series of compromises, but has become one of the key dates in the waning weeks of our school year. Many years ago, the students asked for a special day to celebrate the mailman who played such an important role in their lives (today's students, for whom email is old-fashioned and texting is routine, would probably find this odd). We called it "M and M Day" for "Mail Man Day," and besides presenting him with a card and gifts when he finally showed, we played an all-school game of Capture the Flag and found other ways to celebrate. Over time, M and M Day evolved and became more organized - for one thing, the tradition of the talent show was begun. Meanwhile, earlier in the spring, Earth Day remained a day off for service - cleaning up local parks and rivers, clearing trails, and so on. The two days were eventually combined into one, and the name "Spearth Day" comes from "Spring-Earth Day." We spend the morning doing various service projects on- and off-campus, have the Talent Show after lunch, follow that with games and booths organized by classes and clubs, dedicate the yearbook and pass out copies, and end with a barbecue. This year, for a special treat, there will be a dance performance by the Senior IB dancers.
Filed Under: Spearth Day, Teaching, Alumnae, School Happenings, On Education, Bill Ivey, Celebrating Holidays, Beautifully different, On Parenting, community, In the Classroom, Performing Arts, performing, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School
I was arriving a little later for school than I usually do, but I was nonetheless pretty sure it wasn't typical for a large group of students to be walking down the driveway. Maybe something special was going on at the barn? Or perhaps a science class was doing a lab by the pond? Suddenly, it hit me - it was our very first group of IB diploma candidates, walking down to Sally and Hank's house to take the first-ever IB exam in our school's history. I smiled and waved encouragingly, trying to make eye contact with as many students as possible, and wondered to myself at how so many truly significant moments appear so normal at the same time.