On Sunday, May 14, the Class of 2023 gathered one last time for a special day: Commencement! (They also celebrated Mother’s Day, but for a couple of hours, it was all about students becoming alumni.)
After faculty and leadership processed in, followed by the Class of 2023, Head of School Jay Rainey welcomed guests and presented six Head of School Awards to Henley Danforth ’23, Binta Fall ’23, Jordan Gross ’23, Kareena Kanumury ’23, Harrison Mandell ’23, and Deren Pellegrini ’23. He then presented the Dorothy Wray Roberts Class of 1917 Faculty Merit Award to a teacher from each of our three divisions: Stacie Schneider, Zuowei Chang, and Carolyn Hood. Finally, he presented the Mary Institute Class of 1940 Distinguished Faculty Award, also to a teacher in each of our three divisions: Kara Pracht, Robyn Williams, and Brian Coco.
Andrew Condie ’82, Chair of the MICDS Board of Trustees, took to the stage and offered wise words to the graduating class, no thanks to help from ChatGPT. “Be thankful for the faculty and staff that have dedicated their time and devoted their careers to educate you, care for you, and nurture you during your time at MICDS,” he said. “This incredible faculty has not only given you a first-rate education, but they also have fulfilled the school’s Mission and taught you the more important lessons of how to think critically, act responsibly, and stand for what is good and right.”
Valedictorian Grayson Marks ’23 then addressed his classmates. He reminisced about his time at MICDS and spoke to the importance of learning through collaboration. “The intellectual product of the MICDS class of 2023 is truly greater than the sum of its 158 individual members,” he said. “As we split off on our own journeys of individual ambition, I hope that whatever we do, we do not do it alone. Congratulations, Class of 2023.”
Upper School English Teacher and Advisor Celeste Prince was asked by the Class of 2023 to speak at Commencement. She captivated the audience and exhorted the class to “say yes” to opportunities, to other people, and to themselves. “Most importantly, Class of 2023, I want you to say Yes to love. Say Yes to hugging your people close as if it’s the last time you’ll see them. Say Yes to being open to love in all its forms. Say Yes to saying, ‘I love you’ and mean it without hesitation or blushing. What is there to be embarrassed about? It’s the easiest gift you can give someone, including yourself.”
Mr. Rainey then assured Mr. Condie that the candidates for graduation had completed the necessary requirements and were poised and prepared to receive their diplomas—their passports for the next phase of their lives—and requested the release and awarding of their diplomas. On behalf of the MICDS Board of Trustees, Mr. Condie released the diplomas. Ms. Gioia then read the name of each graduate, and they came forward to receive their diploma and pose for a photograph with Mr. Rainey and Mr. Condie.
Now that the Class of 2023 are officially alumni, it was fitting that they heard from Geoffrey Grammer ’06, President of the MICDS Alumni Association. He shared sage advice and wisdom from Mr. Rogers and welcomed the class to a vibrant alumni community that spans the country and, indeed, the world.
Finally, Mr. Rainey offered closing remarks, which you can read in his weekly letter, here.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We wish you the very best and can’t wait to see where you go and what you do!
For more photos, including individual graduate shots, please click here.