Last night, the faculty and staff gathered with our seniors and their families to celebrate the Class of 2023. It was an intimate moment before Monday’s public commencement ceremony. We heard an emotionally powerful reflection by senior Lizzie Seward, laughed along with a funny address by alumni relations director and fan favorite Mr. Stone, and marveled at an amazing video filmed and produced by senior Rohan Biju consisting of interviews of all of his classmates (I’m told there is a much longer version for seniors’ eyes only – hmm). Mostly, it gave us a chance to be together and enjoy one another’s company.
That, to me, is a defining characteristic of the Class of 2023: strong, tight, loyal bonds. This group has come through the storm. As ninth graders, they went home in March 2020 to end the year remotely. They came back as sophomores to a school that offered in-person learning but where many of our traditions, social occasions, arts experiences, and athletic offerings were curtailed in light of the ongoing pandemic. Their junior year was marked by the tragic loss of one of their beloved teachers. During and likely because of these challenges, these young people formed remarkably close friendships. I saw those tight-knit circles of friendship in the room last night. I saw them in Rohan’s video. I have seen them every day in these hallways, on the fields, and in the junior-senior room. These are the friends who will offer advice and support through college and early careers, celebrate their weddings and the births of their children, and stay with them. Through a particularly challenging four years, this group has given itself a gift: lifelong friendship.
The Class of 2023 – talented, hard-working, competitive, curious, diverse – will leave this school in a few days better than they found it and will leave us all with a lesson in what matters most: relationships.