Celebration Honors the Class of 2020

The senior celebration on Saturday, June 6, looked a bit different than the formal Commencement that was originally planned for that day, but the joy, smiles and tremendous pride for the accomplishments and resilience of the Class of 2020 made the occasion truly memorable. 
The day, which included a virtual celebration in the morning and a drive-through car parade in the afternoon, was a festive and joyful culmination of the seniors’ time at Masters. 
 
At 9:30 a.m., families logged on to the Livestream platform to watch an event featuring remarks from Head of School Laura Danforth, Chair of the Board of Trustees Edith C. Chapin ’83, Head of Upper School Peter Newcomb, and Dean of the Class of 2020 and Dean of Students Jeff Carnevale. 
 
Danforth opened the ceremony by acknowledging the “tremendous upheaval” that took place during the students’ final semester at Masters. “The shape of the world is changing before our eyes,” she said, noting not just the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 but the nation’s “awakening to social justice and the long-standing violence of racism.” She acknowledged that “Our seniors are launching headlong into a world that desperately needs their moral courage, their exuberance, energy and hope.” 
Danforth interrupted her remarks to surprise the senior class with an unexpected message from actor and comedian Jonah Hill, who told students, “It’s an incredible thing to accomplish what you have accomplished. I am excited to see the things you create and put out into the world and the good you do for the world. I wish you love, success and, most of all, happiness.”
 
The head of school ended her remarks by celebrating the many ways in which the members of the Class of 2020 have lived the School’s mission – to be a power for good in the world – in their embodiment of “justice, fairness, kindness, patience and joy.” She tasked the graduates to “Go where love and hope are needed. And bless the world, and Do It With Thy Might.” 
 
Chapin encouraged the seniors to remember what they have learned during the pandemic, and to “Take care of yourself, take care of your friends, take care of this school.” As an alumna herself, the chair of the Board reminded students that they will always have a home at Masters: “Rest assured that at 49 Clinton Avenue there will always be a light on for you.”

Senior Slideshow

Chapin then turned the ceremony over to Head of Upper School Peter Newcomb, who acknowledged the impact that the class has had on those in the Masters community. “It can be a difficult time for hope,” he said. “And yet, you and your classmates have given all of us a reason to be hopeful.” He then presented the class with a word cloud image, a copy of which each student received later that day during the drive-through car parade. It was filled with words that faculty used to describe the Class of 2020, such as creative, resilient, smart, caring, kind and curious. 
 
The celebration included a slideshow featuring all the seniors and concluded with remarks from Dean of the Class of 2020 and Dean of Students Jeff Carnevale, who reminded the class that “The power for good that we are all charged with is a part of you now.” He challenged the seniors to “seek a life useful” by spreading the four values of connection, help, gratitude and optimism. 
 
The ceremony included traditional Commencement elements, such as the “Alma Mater,” which this year was sung by graduating members of Dobbs 16 who collaborated virtually on the piece. The “Old Irish Blessing,” which is traditionally sung to the graduates during graduation, took on a new and moving form: parents, students, faculty, alumnae/i and siblings recorded the song entirely remotely and presented the song as a gift to the class. 

That afternoon, dozens of festively decorated cars filled with the seniors and their families paraded through campus. As the graduates passed through the campus they had come to know so well, they waved from windows and sunroofs to faculty, who – socially distanced — lined the roads through campus and held up signs bearing words of pride and congratulations. After months of being separated due to stay-at-home orders, seniors’ and teachers’ excitement and joy at seeing each other in person was palpable. 
 
It was a fittingly festive way to honor and celebrate a class of students that has so uniquely demonstrated, by rising to the challenges presented to them this spring, what it means to Do It With Thy Might.

Drive-Through Parade Highlights

Full Senior Celebration Livestream

Full Drive-Through Parade Livestream

The Masters School