Following 141 years of tradition, the 116 members of the Class of 2019 walked across Graduation Terrace, accepted their diplomas, and became alumnae/i of The Masters School.
The momentous occasion took place on Saturday, June 8, before hundreds of cheering family, friends and faculty.
With words that inspired confidence and optimism, Alex Bentzien and Chase Markoff, Presidents of the senior class, took to the dais to encourage their classmates to be powers for good in the world. “We all have the capacity to effect change,” Bentzien said. “You have the talent and the ambition, and the personality and the flair to do anything you want. … The world will not come to you if you stand by, so stand up.” Markoff, too, urged positivity and kindness: “The world needs a generation of hope and optimism. You, Class of 2019, are that hope.” Markoff ended his moving speech with a few words of wisdom: “All you need to do is be happy, find love, spread love and be kind to others. How you make change, that’s up to you.”
Laura Danforth, Head of School, reflected on how the Class of 2019 has embraced and lived the School’s motto: do it with thy might. “Masters did not plant this ‘might’ in you,” Danforth said. “You came here bearing the seeds of ‘might’ and we worked hard to nourish those seeds.”
Adding to the significance of this memorable celebration, the Class of 2019 heard from Mirna Valerio ’93, an alumna, trustee and former faculty member of the School. Valerio, a prominent ultra-marathon runner and author of a recently published memoir, reflected on the impact of her own experience at Masters and how it shaped her. As the graduates celebrated the end of one chapter in their lives and the beginning of another, Valerio appealed to them to “Go forth with light and with might, be a force for everything that is good in this world, own your greatness, build your own loving and inclusive communities.”
Matthew Kammrath, Dean of the Class of 2019, took a moment to explain his well-known fascination with river stones to his class: “Think about the of the effect of a river stone when dropped into a body of water — the ripples it creates that are felt far beyond that initial drop point. The ability to effect change in your world by simply speaking up and making an impact on the space you occupy, you have left behind a legacy of impactful ripples [at Masters], and I know you’ll continue to do so in the future.” Famous among the students for his love of “dad jokes,” Kammrath couldn’t resist one final bit of wordplay, building on his observations about river stones: “Class of 2019, you rock!”
In keeping with Masters tradition, the newly minted graduates ended the celebration by tossing red roses into the air. With petals falling to the ground around them as they smiled and embraced each other, the members of the Class of 2019 shared one final, memorable moment together before walking down the aisle toward their families, and toward the next chapter in their lives.
If you were not able to attend the Upper School graduation, you may watch a video of it by clicking here.