Class of 2023 Graduates From Middle School

Themes of growth, empowerment and change permeated the joyful Middle School graduation on Friday, June 7.


Family, fellow students and faculty gathered in the Fonseca Center gym to celebrate the many accomplishments of the 59 members of the Class of 2023 and reminisce about their experiences in the Middle School.

Tasha Elsbach, Head of Middle School, welcomed the audience before turning the stage over to eighth grade students who volunteered to speak at the ceremony.

Cameron Lovett, Co-Chair of Student Government, recounted being shy and feeling uncomfortable speaking in public. “I’m a lot more confident now,” he said to the crowd of more than 200. “Harkness created a safe environment where I felt comfortable voicing my opinion in front of others.” Masters didn't just help him find his voice: he also discovered interests in Mandarin, sports and music. “I cannot express how thankful I am to go to this school.”

Eleanor Dundas, who is also Co-Chair of Student Government, concurred. She said Masters empowered her to speak up — and speak out. During her speech, Dundas proudly recalled how she and Lovett, along with the rest of the Student Leadership Board, saw a need for a bus shelter on campus and advocated for its installation before members of the administration. “They listened to us, questioned us, and ultimately approved our idea.”

She left her fellow classmates with an important mission: “It might seem like the world is too flawed for any one person to do anything, but I would urge everyone here today to pick one or two issues, and no matter how small, take steps to resolve them. You can do anything — and whatever you do, do it with thy might.”

Tanner Dandridge, Hanna Schiciano, Gisele Cestaro, Oluwademilade Oni, Maia Barantsevitch, Morgan Young and Alisa Beck also took the stage to speak about their growth and celebrate this important moment in the students’ lives.

When Tasha Elsbach, Head of Middle School, spoke to the eighth grade, she reminded them of how much they have changed over their time in the Middle School, and lauded their many achievements: the four student-run leadership groups, the students who served on the yearbook staff and those who played on Upper School varsity teams, and even their zest for creativity, which was on display during the annual Halloween Door-Decorating Contest. “A lot [at Masters] changed because of your excitement, your commitment, your hard work, and your openness to new experiences and challenges,” Elsbach said.

As the students head to ninth grade, Elsbach encouraged them to believe in themselves, believe in others, and believe in their ability to write their own stories. “When you push past your limits, when you are open to new experiences, and when you are willing to tell a different story, you can change not only your own lives but also the lives of those around you.”

Head of School Laura Danforth closed the celebration with an acknowledgment of the valuable and important work of the Middle School faculty, and left everyone in attendance with a single directive: “Be kind, be kind, be kind.”

If you were not able to attend Middle School Graduation and would like to watch a video of the ceremony, please click here.
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