On Wednesday, June 12, Head of School Clair Ward presided as 80 eighth and ninth grade students were graduated during Shore’s 82nd Closing Exercises. In her remarks, Ward urged graduates, “Consider today as a waypoint on your journey, rather than as a destination. Having spent the most formative time of your education here at Shore, today’s graduation indicates you are now prepared to chart your own course for learning. As Plutarch wrote, ‘The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs to be ignited.’ The purpose of this journey was not to fill your brains as if they were containers, because containers are finite. The purpose of this journey was to encourage you limitlessly.”
Before the Closing Exercises began in the Howard Gymnasium, graduates met for their traditional class gatherings in the historic Winslow Building, where they received flowers they’d wear during the ceremony and reminisced about their Shore experiences. Parents looked on, cameras and phones in hand to capture the scene, as the graduates posed for class photos on the Winslow Building steps and then processed as a group for the start of the Closing Exercises.
At the podium, Head of School Clair Ward welcomed the graduates and guests by referring to Shore’s Community Code, displayed on banners high on the wall of the Howard Gymnasium. “For however many years these students have attended Shore, we stood beside them, coaching them in the small moments that shaped these young people into who they are today. Our celebration marks a beginning, a moment in time when the graduates will lean into their next steps. Graduates, we are committed to you taking Shore’s Community Code with you as the most significant lesson you have learned here. If you are kind, true, respectful, open, and dependable, you will be your best, and the best of Shore.”
Following Ward’s inspiring introduction, ninth grade students stood to sing “Unwritten,” by Natasha Bedingfield. “Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost taste it, release your inhibitions,” the students sang. “Feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you. Only you can let it in. No one else can speak the words on your lips. Drench yourself in words unspoken. Live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins; the rest is still unwritten.”
Ninth graders continued leading celebration as Aidan Davie of Middleton and Hope Nardone of Lynnfield took the podium to share their “Lessons Learned.” “Shore has taught me the value of working hard all the time,” Davie said, “whether it’s on a test or exam, or while playing a game or competing in a race. In my opinion, being taught to work hard for what you wish to achieve is one of the most important life skills there is.” Nardone continued, “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my time at Shore is how privileged we are to have been part of a place that’s so special, a place that all of us are lucky to call our home away from home. As I’ve progressed through this school, I’ve come to realize and appreciate that our experience here are Shore is truly unusual. It’s unusual to have six students in a Spanish class. It’s unusual to attend House meetings where you’re idolized by a posse of five-year-olds. It’s unusual to find yourself building houses in Mississippi, or swimming in the Pacific Ocean with your peers and teachers. And it’s certainly unusual to have your English teacher mark up your essay with 45 comments on a Sunday morning. Yes, this has been an unusual, or extraordinary, experience. This has been Shore.”
The Head of School then called each eighth and ninth grade graduate individually to the stage, where Ward congratulated them before the students received a graduation certificate from President of the Board of Trustees Rayna Lesser Hannaway and shook hands with Head of Upper School Gustavo Carrera and Head of Lower School Sara Knox. Later, graduates were invited to present roses to their parents, and longtime Shore community members were acknowledged with bouquets.
As the ceremony wound to a close, eighth graders presented their song, "History," by One Direction. "You and me got a whole lot of history," the lyrics go. "We could be the greatest thing that the world has ever seen. You and me got a whole lot of history, so don't let it go—we can make some more, we can live forever."
Clair Ward then returned to the podium to offer her closing words. “Plutarch would say that you sit here today not as full vessels, but as ignited scholars who are ready to continue learning. Yesterday your learning and the igniting of your passion was our responsibility. As of today, it is officially yours.”
Graduates, joined by alumni, faculty, and staff singers in the audience, concluded the Closing Exercises with the traditional benediction, and as students recessed, they each leaped to high-five a painted hand above the gymnasium doorway, receiving “a last touch of Shore, and leaving Shore with a last touch of you,” as Ward explained.
Students and their families then gathered outside for congratulations from faculty, who shared reminiscences and well wishes for next fall and beyond. Thirteen eighth grade graduates will return to Shore in the fall to be part of the school’s unique ninth grade program. Graduating ninth grade and eighth grade students will move on to top high schools and college preparatory schools including Brooks School, The Governor’s Academy, Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, Lawrence Academy, Marblehead High School, Middlesex School, Miss Porter's School, Pingree School, Phillips Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Tabor Academy, among others.
Ninth grade graduates of the Class of 2019 were: Melina Abatjoglou, Paulina Arce, Rikit Bansal, Ivan Betancourt, Erynn Bowe, Aidan Davie, Sophia DiNanno, Jeremiah Edokpa, Charles Faldi, Camryn Georges, Madeline Hammond, Camilla Johnson, Amelia Mallon, Anja Meaney, Hope Nardone, Alanna Olson, Christopher Pelletier, Sarah Pollock, Walker Thorne, Grace Toran, Cameron White, Audrey Zion, and Lauren Zion.
Eighth grade graduates of the Class of 2020 were: Sylvie Archer, Arihaan Barua, Alexandra Benchoff, Arden Berg, Sean Blundin, Evan Bocchino, Caroline Brennan, Liam Card, Raphael Clark, Meghan Collins, Thomas Davis, Ethan Driscoll, Ashley DuKatz, Ava Finn, Arthur Flammia, Brooke Georges, Evan Gerdes, Eloise Goedkoop, Mason Graham, Samuel Haley, Lauren Hamm, Devan Hernandez, Margaret Hoffman, Maxwell Hoffman, Mackenzie Holian, Alicia Horrocks, Lily Iler, Christopher Kagan, Jane Kelley, Elizabeth Kemp, Elizabeth Kennedy, Julia Kennedy, Matthew Lappin, Benjamin Liptak, Michael Makowski, Lucy Marshall, Maris Moody, Samuel Moore, Grace Mullaney, Grace Murphy, Benjamin Nissenbaum, Fallon O’Connor, Aman Patel, Gian Perullo, Zarenna Sawyer, Anna Smith, Evan Smith, William Smith, Logan Styles, Phoebe Thorne, Camila Torres, Zora Warren, Eden Welch, Ella Williams, Kennedy Wilson, Leverett Wilson, and Othar Zaldastani.