Grade 9 Ceremony Celebrates Light of Knowledge

On June 7, during an intimate evening ceremony in the Trustey Family Theatre, the 14 members of Shore’s ninth grade Class of 2022 were graduated in front of their families. “Celebrating the Light of Knowledge,” as the event is known, featured the students as star speakers alongside their faculty advisors, Head of Upper School Gustavo Carrera, and Head of School Clair Ward.

The evening began in Shore’s ninth grade dining room, where the students received white roses before posing together for a group photo on the steps of the historic Winslow Building. They then walked to the Center for Creativity, where their families had gathered.

The ceremony commenced with a recording of the traditional graduation processional, “Pomp and Circumstance,” after which Gustavo Carrera welcomed attendees. “Tonight’s ceremony is inspired by the words of Margaret Fuller,” said Carrera. “‘If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.’ Margaret Fuller, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, believed in the transformative impact of education. But Fuller also knew that the knowledge that we gain from our education is more than just expertise. It is about the character we build, a process that starts at school but continues for the rest of our lives.” Carrera spoke of Fuller’s career, first as an educator and writer who advocated for women, and later in Europe as part of the struggle against autocracy. Fuller used the light of her knowledge to stand for what is good and right.”

He continued, “There is no doubt that learning illuminates the mind and enhances perspective—it has been our pleasure to watch tonight’s graduates growing and illuminating their view of the world. We know that this will serve them well as they take the next steps in their journey.”

Clair Ward then invited the graduates each to walk to the podium, lighting their own taper from the glowing blue Shore candle in the center of a table on stage before standing beside their ninth grade advisor. “Because we place such a high value on the relationship between the student and their advisor, the advisors will come to the podium to share their thoughts and their wishes for each of our graduates,” Ward said. 

After advisors finished their remarks about each student—which often reflected years of getting to know their advisees throughout their career in the Upper School—the graduates received their ninth grade honor cord and diploma.

Then it was time for each of the ninth graders to return individually to the podium to share words they had prepared for the ceremony.

“This year has been instrumental to my development as a person, and I am eternally grateful for that,” began Shane Cardarelli. “I’ve blossomed like a flower in spring, and now I look out on an exceedingly bright future.”

The themes of gratitude and celebration flowed throughout the students’ remarks to their families and teachers.

“Ten years ago,” said Jude Eskandar, “I met most of the people sitting here on stage with me tonight. Ten years ago, Barack Obama was still president. Ten years ago, only the iPhone 4 had been released. Ten years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. But from ten years ago to today, I don’t regret a single moment.”

Logan Fairbrother said, “Thank you, Shore, for the past 10 years. I am very excited to start my new journey.”

“How far we’ve all come—a decade in the making,” noted Andrew Gould, “all leading to this moment, where we spread our wings and move onwards into life. For most of us, this has been our home for the majority of our lives. Many of our friends originated in these buildings—this school. So it is with mixed emotions that I say goodbye. Goodbye to all my teachers, who have shaped the person I am today. Goodbye to my friends, who I loved so dearly. And goodbye to myself, for as I prepare to leave Shore, I can’t help feeling that I am leaving a part of me behind. Thank you all for the told and untold impact you have had.”

When Clair Ward returned to the stage, she continued a Shore tradition by inviting the graduates to distribute red roses to their families. “The roses signify our appreciation and respect for your devotion to Shore and its philosophy. It has been our partnership that has brought our graduates to this point. We offer our deepest gratitude for all you have done to support and encourage these amazing kids through this challenging yet joyous year.”

The students were surprised by a video collection of congratulations from Shore employees, who offered their well wishes, and then it was time for Ward to deliver her closing remarks.

“In many cultural and religious traditions, light is the symbol of peace, enlightenment, prosperity, and the ability of good to prevail over evil. In the Hindu tradition light burns not for itself, but to remind all of us of the most important values it represents. In Buddhism, light is the ultimate reality, and leads one toward nirvana, the ultimate state. Many aspects of Chinese culture celebrate light as a symbol of joy and good fortune. And now Shore is using light to celebrate your personal growth and knowledge. I’m sure I don’t have to illuminate how symbolic it is that tonight’s ceremony begins and ends with a focus on light.”

Ward continued, “Much like we look to the light of the stars for guidance and inspiration, we hope you will look to Shore, the foundation of your educational development. Know that the Shore you see now reflects the fact that you were here. It is our hope that you will always see yourselves in Shore as you remember your moments of growth, your moments of challenge, and your moments of joy. On behalf of your teachers, I want to thank you for the privilege of being your guides and your coaches. Thank you for the lessons you have taught us along the way, and know that this will always be your home.”

Ward concluded, “When you leave this ceremony you will take your lit candle of knowledge with you. While the flame itself might extinguish, the knowledge, the perspective, and the care that you have received at Shore never will. The Shore candle will burn brightly for you until you return. In the meantime, we ask that you foster your minds and your hearts. Your ability to grow from here is no longer our responsibility; it is yours. Use what you have been given here to make the world a better place. Use what you have learned here to bring the Shore Community Code to the larger world community.”

It was then time for the recessional music, Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten,” during which the graduates took their lit candles and carried them outside to the Learning Garden to meet their families. There the students, family members, and employees mingled, hugged, and snapped photos until the evening light began to fade.

The Class of 2022 is: Shane Cardarelli, Angus Clark, Luka Clark, Mai Do, Jude Eskandar, Logan Fairbrother, Hugh Foster, William Goedkoop, Andrew Gould, William Iler, Hal Johnson, Lila Mallon, Drew Mullaney, and Henry Sumner.
    • Photo by Alyse Gause

Shore Country Day School

545 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA 01915
(978) 927-1700
Shore Country Day School’s mission is to provide an education that inspires a love of learning and encourages children to embrace academic challenge. We seek to build character, cultivate creativity, and value diversity as we help our children become healthy, compassionate citizens of the world.
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