Monday, July 6, 2009

Graduation Day - Class of 2009

For our twenty-one seniors, graduation day began with a rehearsal at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17th. Students picked out their caps and gowns, choosing from a colorful selection selection on black, green, red, cranberry, light blue, purple, and white. Everyone gathered on stage and the photographer asked people to assemble in two rows by height for their class graduation photo. After some arranging and rearranging, students were in place for the photo (with the photographer balancing on a chair to shoot the photograph).

Next came practice for "the slow walk" down the aisle. The seniors moved in their rows from the stage and walked two-by-two up the aisle to the back of the room and down the hallway from which they would emerge in just eight hours.
Then teacher Eva (standing in for graduation marshall, Ethan Perkins) led the students slowly down the aisle back onto the stage. After one more practice "round," the seniors removed their caps and gowns and placed them in the hallway, ready for when they returned at 6:30 p.m. for the graduation ceremony. Teachers and students mingled after the rehearsal to discuss plans for the evening and "things to say" during the upcoming ceremony.

Here are more photos from the practice session (click on a photo to enlarge):

At 7 p.m., the music of "Pomp and Circumstance" brought the audience of friends and family to their feet as twenty-one seniors began their graduation walk down the aisle. On stage, the students basked in the cheers and applause before taking their seats for the celebration.

Head of School, Dennis Hoerner welcomed everyone and introduced the members of the Wellsprings Friends School Board. Susan Goodyear then played Chopin's Nocturne in G Minor on the piano before Dennis introduced Jon Garlinghouse who delivered the keynote address to the students.

As always, the highlight of our Wellsprings graduation ceremony is the presentation of the graduates by their teachers. Each senior is called to the podium by a teacher who tells a story about their experience with the student and offers words of encouragement for their life "beyond Wellsprings." It is a time of laughter and tears as teachers express their love for each graduate and embrace them with a "send-off" hug.

Next, a "meeting for sharing" in the Friends (Quaker) tradition gave everyone present an opportunity to stand and share their memories, hopes, and wishes for the graduates. Out of the silence, many family members and friends spoke about "their graduate," expressing their love for the young person as well as appreciation for the teachers at the school who have made a difference in the students' lives.

Then, as each student's name was called by Dennis Hoerner, the awarding of diplomas was made by James Fox, Clerk of the Board of Trustees. Cheers came from the audience as each student received their diploma, his words of congratulations, a handshake and an embrace. Once every student had their diploma in hand, the graduates had a time to express their "thank you's" to family members and to teachers. Choking back tears (or letting them flow), several students spoke from their heart about the meaning of "this moment" and about their wishes for their graduating friends, their teachers, and for Wellsprings.

The celebration ended as the graduates of the class of 2009 made their recessional "march" to the driving sounds of "Beat It!" by Michael Jackson.

Here are several photos from the graduation ceremony (click on a photo to enlarge):

May each young person be blessed with all the best that life offers and with learnings that shine the light of their hearts and minds on the world!

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