Dean Gioia Addresses the Class of 2023 One Last Time

At Senior Night on May 12, 2023, Upper School Dean Diane Gioia addressed the Class of 2023 one final time before graduation. Our deans stay with their classes through all four years of Upper School, so Ms. G had seen these students through times of times and trial and tribulation with the pandemic, and also guided them forward with love, security, and unceasing dedication. Her remarks were based on an email she sent to the Class of 2023 as they neared the end of their time as students here.

Hello Wonderful People,

Please remember to be at the front of Olson Hall Sunday at 3 for your class graduation picture (you should be in your graduation attire).

Even though this day is a celebration of your accomplishments, remember it’s Mother’s Day, too. You don’t get to use graduation as an excuse to not get your mom a present or card.

If I loaned you any of these items, please return them to me before you start the next phase of your life’s journey: Two AP Psychology textbooks, one computer stylus, and one computer power cord. People, three of these items have my name on them!

Now for the other reason for this email. I wanted to share a few things I learned from you over the years:

Chic-Fil-A chicken biscuits that are only served before the first MICDS lunch period (and not part of senior privileges) cost $2.19, but the chicken sandwich that is sold during privileges time costs $3.65 (tax not included), so the net savings is $1.46 per biscuit. There are a number of students in this class who have saved a tremendous amount of money this year before ever serving detention for this cost-saving behavior.

Eating half a pumpkin pie in less than two minutes may earn you accolades and a trophy during the Halloween assembly, but creates a lifetime aversion to Thanksgiving dessert and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. But, if you take the cost-saving behavior from the Chic-Fil-A students, that could be a savings of $200 a year…You’re welcome?

Never be afraid to ask permission even if you think you are going to hear No. Who knew what the impact would be when three students asked, “Ms. Gioia, can we watch the World Cup on the big screen in Hearth?” While my “yes” may have had a negative impact on some grades during November and December, we learned that hundreds of people were welcome in Hearth, regardless of age or status. You inspired us to see what was important, especially during the most stressful time of the school year—inclusivity, community, passion, fun, and enjoying the people who happened to be right next to us while we watched the games.

From March 14, 2020 to March 29, 2021, we were either remote or hybrid learning, but it wasn’t until August 17, 2021, that we were all back together. That is 521 days! Even that thing we now call COVID-19 did not dampen your enthusiasm for life or the joy you feel from being with each other, or the legacy you will leave behind.

And what is that legacy? That leading by example matters. Much was expected of you this year. We asked you to teach the younger students how to behave in assemblies, reset community norms, to support others in performances, athletics, academics, and service. And you did.

That inclusivity matters. I know for some, the change to include others to dress up for Halloween still stings, but you still handled that disappointment with grace. And now we can continue that in the years to come. You allowed others to celebrate you on the last day of school, which may not seem like a big deal, but it was. I watched as younger students cheered and screamed and high-fived you. Teachers were smiling ear to ear and felt they were a part of your journey. And I have never seen so many Upper School students hug, cheer, high five, and cry as you walked by—I hope you saw the many lives you have touched on that final walk throughout all of MICDS.

Class of 2023, you surpassed the expectations that were set before you. And since it’s really all about me, thank you for making these last four years so easy on me.

I wish you all the best in the years ahead, and please don’t be strangers. You are always welcome at the home we call MICDS.

Enough of the sappy stuff. Congratulations. And return my stuff!

Signing off one last time,

Ms. G