Class of 2024 Graduates

Themes of resilience, growth and the power of community wove throughout the moving and celebratory Middle School Graduation on Friday, June 5.
Family, fellow students and faculty joined the virtual event via livestream to celebrate the 58 members of the Class of 2024 as they graduated from the Middle School. 
Head of Middle School Tasha Elsbach welcomed the audience and called for a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 and to honor the health care workers treating those sickened by the virus. She handed the program over to eighth graders Chloe Basch, Kendall Halprin, Student Government Co-Chair Oliver Kreeger, Christina Moore, Marina Psaros, Arjun Ratan, Matthias Sandoval and Student Government Co-Chair Viviana Simon. In prerecorded segments, the eight students shared speeches and poems that reflected on the lessons learned, the self-growth, and challenges of their middle school years, including a final semester spent learning remotely at home due to the COVID-19 health crisis. 
Moore considered how the grade’s yearlong theme of the individual versus the society took on a larger meaning in the wake of the pandemic: “This year, we saw just how powerful community, a society or individuals can be,” she said. “This group of individuals teamed up and took on one of the world’s greatest challenges, and we did it together – as individuals, as a community and as the eighth grade.”
Ratan shared a similar sentiment about the unity of the eighth grade class, acknowledging that “We will face many challenges ahead of us, and we will remain unbreakable, together.” And Kreeger celebrated the welcoming and inclusive nature of his fellow students: “Everyone’s different views are welcome and treated equally – that, to me, is community,” he said. “No matter what, nobody ever goes it alone at Masters.”
The students turned the program back to Elsbach, who remarked on the class’ resilience, especially over the past few months as they had to isolate from friends and relatives, adjust to the nuances of remote learning, and grapple with “the incongruence between our country’s founding principles and the ugly, racist treatment of some of its citizens.” 
“While it is a time of difficulty and pain for our country, it is also a time of joy and hope,” Elsbach continued. “We have seen […] people coming together to make change. The focus on doing what’s right, on building community and making change is also characteristic of this eighth grade class – of all of you.” The division head reminded the students of the many ways in which they have made a positive impact on their community and world through their commitment to equity and social justice. “I’m so proud of how you have continued to move us forward in important ways,” Elsbach said. “And I’m excited to see what you will do next. Now, more than ever, this is the kind of work we need – not just for our School, but for our world.”

She ended her remarks by stating that “You are my daffodils in the spring – the first sign that change is coming. Be the wonderful selves that you are. Be a power for good, and the high school will be better for having you.” 

Drive-Through Parade Highlights

The program continued with a slideshow created by Eighth Grade Dean Morghan Lewis that included pictures of each graduate and images of the class over the years. After the slideshow, Elsbach promoted each of the middle school classes to their new grade – the fifth to sixth, the sixth to seventh, the seventh to eighth – and ended by thanking the teachers and parents for everything they had done to support their students. 
The program concluded with remarks from Head of School Laura Danforth, who celebrated students’ growth in becoming “thoughtful leaders, writers, mathematicians, poets, scientists, athletes, musicians, citizens of the world, dancers, chefs.” And, she noted, “Most importantly, you are really good young people who care about each other and care about the world.” 
Danforth reminded students of the expectations she has had for them that will carry forward into their upper school careers: “Always speak with kindness, show respect at all times, be powers for good in the world, even when doing so is hard and sometimes takes courage. Through that effort and deliberate choice to remain committed to principles of kindness and respect, we become the change we wish to see in the world.”
She ended her remarks with the same six words that she invoked at the beginning of each school year: “Be kind, be kind, be kind.” 
That afternoon, eighth grade families returned to campus after months away for a drive-through car parade. The newly minted graduates waved from their cars to cheering faculty, who – socially distanced and holding congratulatory signs – lined the campus. Beaming with pride and joy, the students passed by the Middle School, where so many memories had been made, and received a care package and a warm greeting from Head of Middle School Tasha Elsbach and Associate Head of Middle School Lynn Salehi. 
It was a celebration worthy of the resilient, kind and impressive Class of 2024. 

Full Graduation Livestream

Full Drive-Through Parade Livestream

The Masters School