Shore's 86th Closing Exercises

Shore celebrated the accomplishments of eighth grade graduates on Thursday, June 8, at the 86th annual Closing Exercises. 

As the students gathered on the steps of the Winslow Building holding and wearing flowers for their traditional class photo, the sky became increasingly ominous. By the time families, friends, faculty, and staff filled the seats in the tent sprawling the athletic field, the rain had begun. When the eighth graders processed into the tent, the drizzle had turned into a downpour. 

Despite the rain, the excitement and desire to honor and celebrate students' accomplishments overpowered the storm. 

In her welcoming remarks, Head of School Clair Ward said how the annual closing exercises not only acknowledge the hard work of students but “their very full journey on their way to this moment as they anticipate taking the next step toward all that they can be.”

Ward then addressed the graduates, encouraging them to let Shore’s Community Code and Equity & Inclusion Commitment serve as their compass in knowing what is right and just. “If you are kind, true, respectful, open, and dependable, you will in fact be not only your best, you will be the best of Shore,” said Ward. “If you are committed to being your authentic self, making space for others to be authentic, and confronting bias when any of that is not possible, you will continue to make us proud.”

Ward then welcomed Vice President of the Board of Trustees, Blake Liggio, to the podium to congratulate the graduating students and deliver a message on behalf of the Board.

“You are the ones who embraced your learning in the classroom, supported your peers on the field and on the stage, and found opportunities to practice Shore’s Community Code throughout the years,” said Liggio. “We are proud of your successes and are confident that the schools to which you are headed see themselves as lucky to have you.”

Liggio congratulated the graduates' families and expressed appreciation for their “partnership and commitment to supporting your students in the ways that make today possible.”

Ward and Head of Upper School Oliver Hay joined Liggio at the podium for the conferral of the eighth grade diplomas*. When students were called up, they stood next to Ward as she made comments about them, their character, and their time at Shore. 

After each student received their diploma, they were asked to stand and the graduated class was officially presented. The ninth grade students who had graduated earlier in the day received a round of applause in honor of their graduation and accomplishments. 

Next, students presented a red rose to their families to signify the school’s appreciation for their commitment to a Shore education, and devotion to its philosophy. 

“It has been a community partnership that has brought our graduates to this point, and the most influential relationship in this partnership is between the family and the child,” Ward said as families were honored. “We offer our deepest gratitude for all you have done to support and encourage these amazing kids through this challenging, yet joyous year.”

Liggio returned to the podium to specially recognize the family whose final graduate represents the most cumulative number of years at Shore, as tradition holds. The Driscoll family was honored for 21 years as their child, Ben Driscoll, graduated. After Liggio thanked Tara and Jamus Driscoll for their family’s commitment to Shore, Ben brought the presentation bouquet to his family.  

In her closing remarks, Ward told the audience about the time she and the Shore Administrative Team spent studying Positive Intelligence; the idea to make sure that one is looking at life through the lens of what is positive about one's experience, and resisting the urge to look at things negatively or with judgment.

Ward went on to share a fable about a man who lived on a farm with his son and horse. Throughout the story, various difficult and joyous moments arise in the farmer's life. In all of the circumstances, despite the expected thoughts and emotions, the farmer's response was always ‘Who’s to say what is good and what is bad.’

“When difficult moments strike, it is helpful to consider this fable by saying ‘Who’s to say what is good and what is bad?’ Or you can ask yourself, ‘Where is the gift?’” said Ward. “If there is one thing that I know we all wish for you, it is that you find a way to be present in the moments of your life without the distraction of wondering how it could be different or better.”

Ward urged the graduates to think of the ceremony as a gift representing the final moments together as a class before heading in different directions, and as a final opportunity among all of the teachers who cared for them and nurtured them during their time at Shore.

“Savor this moment, because once you stand up, you will be officially in a new chapter. It will be fabulous, but you will be saying goodbye to this one. Be present in this moment and consider the gift of your final minutes in these chairs, among an adoring crowd that loves and supports you,” said Ward. “If you commit to always finding the gift in any situation, you will train your mind and your heart to look at life through the lens of what is possible. This is our simple wish for you today – always find the gift.”

Ward thanked the graduates on behalf of their teachers for the privilege of being guides and coaches, and walking beside them through their journey at Shore. “Know that this will always be your home and that you will always be a class that finished the year in complete and utter fulfillment of our mission.”

Faculty, staff, and administrators were asked to stand to be acknowledged for their dedication to and support of the graduates throughout their journey at Shore. “Getting our graduates to this moment is a task that takes more than 90 employees and each of them knows exactly why we are here,” said Ward. “Thank you for your work ethic, your passion for Shore, and your commitment to our students.”

As A Capella students, faculty members, and alumni sang the benediction to close the ceremony, the sun was shining brightly over Shore’s campus.

The graduates recessed to the Howard Gym and were met by bright reflections of themselves in the puddles of rain that had collected on the Greentop. Upon entering the gym, students were greeted by their teachers in a receiving line, giving each a moment of gratitude and celebration. When the students passed through the back doors, they each gave a high five to one of the painted hands around the door. 

This symbolic gesture is reserved for Shore eighth grade graduates. “When you touch the hand, you take a last touch of Shore and you leave a last touch of yourself,” Ward said of the tradition. “From this point on, you are forever members of the larger, extended Shore family.”

Upon exiting, students were met by family, friends, classmates, and loved ones who had gathered on the Greentop to congratulate and celebrate them. Group photos were taken, goodbyes were said, and well-wishes were exchanged.

* This year’s Grade 8 Shore Graduates are: Logan Steven Arredondo, Kaelyn Anne Bagenstose, James Phillip Ball, Sophia Marissa Bonacorso, Addison Reece Booth, Henry Mark Card, Charlotte Breckenridge Crawford, Phoebe Loomis Crawford, Annabelle Curley, Tien Thuy Do, Beatrix Louise Doeringer, Benjamin Coyle Driscoll, Zane Michael Eskandar, Kaitlyn Lucey Ferry, Catherine Isabel Foster, Samuel Hastings Foster, Olivia Anne Gates, Nixie Beatrice Gerdes, Isabella Morel Gould, Grayson Barnes Harden, Maya Elise Hinrichsen, Nathaniel Lucas Jackson, Tennyson Ozzie Kagan, Elissa Nicole Karametsopoulos, Luke Harris LeBlond, Charlie Rose Lindner, Willem Emmett Mandel, Iz Siena Marks, Gavin Teel Marsella, Brooks Allerton Marshall, Jaelyn Allyse Masterson, Anna Marguerite Pervier, Lam Tung Pham, Alexandra Mary Porter, Ruby Michelle Poulo, Anne Elizabeth Roberts, Sophie Bilek Schlueter, Maia Ernestina Schor, Lucas Simoneau Scully, Lauren Olivia Tavares, Luke Philip Vaccaro, Roman Carlos Verde, and Alexandra Phillips Williamson

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.
The School admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, or any other status protected by applicable law, and extends to them all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, or any other status protected by applicable law in the administration of its admissions, scholarships, and loans, and its educational, athletic, and other programs.