On Wednesday, June 10, fifty-eight Grade 8 and 9 graduates accepted their diplomas, along with handshakes and hugs from longtime Head of School Larry Griffin, during Shore Country Day School’s Closing Ceremonies at Howard Gymnasium.
Said an emotional Griffin during his address to the assembled audience of family members, alumni, trustees, and parents of alumni, “It is always difficult to say good-bye. Cherish these days and memories; you have formed bonds with classmates that may last a lifetime, and you have formed relationships with your teachers that transcend time.”
Graduation Student Speaker Owen Rourke-Nicholas, a Grade 9 high honors achiever and varsity baseball competitor whose younger sister, Chloe, graduated with him as an eighth grader, also spoke of connections. “Alumni frequently return for concerts, plays, and even this graduation,” he said. “This community is what is most important to me, and I hope the future eighth and seventh graders in the room carry on this aspect of Shore.”
Rourke-Nicholas attempted to define what makes Shore students, and the Shore community, unique, coining the term “Shoreinian.”
“Shoreinian, adjective, meaning ‘like a Shore student.’ Shore students are curious and go out and find out something they are interested in. I know a student who, … when he has a moment to spare during the day, looks up things that interest him, from the Loch Ness monster to different types of poisons. He is Shoreinian.”
Continued Rourke-Nicholas, “I knew another student who was very good at drawing fish. He knew facts about nearly every species in the North Shore. I challenged him. I gave him the name of a false fish and asked him if he knew about it. Rather than saying no and giving up, I watched him spend an entire study hall trying to learn about it. I came clean after a few minutes, but he said he wanted to keep looking because he was having fun learning. He was Shoreinian. I hope to be Shoreinian for the rest of my life, and to pass this trait on to my kids.”
Head of School Griffin recounted highlights of Rourke-Nicholas’s character and school career, as he did for each and every one of the 58 graduates. These carefully crafted tributes from Griffin, a hallmark of Shore’s Closing Ceremonies, were complemented by other traditions, some traceable to Shore’s founding in 1936. Invited to present roses to their parents, graduates broke ranks during the event to walk into the audience to share a moment with family, and some longtime Shore community members were acknowledged with bouquets.
Head of School Griffin looked ahead in his closing advice to graduates. “You live in one of the most remarkable times for communication in the history of mankind. Technologies change as quickly as they are adopted. You are maturing in a time when information is shared instantaneously, and every digital reference to you becomes a part of your biography. … When I Google you ten years from now, I want to see the celebratory moments in your life yet to come. I want to read about your accomplishments and your contributions to service of others. I want to be as proud of you in 2025 as I am of you today as you proudly graduate from Shore.”
Following Griffin’s address, the moving ceremony concluded with the traditional benediction, sung beautifully by the graduates, who were joined by many alumni and faculty and staff singers present in the audience. Earlier, eighth and ninth grade students had performed a graduation song of their own choosing, paying tribute to Shore’s vibrant culture of music, drama, and public performance. As graduates recessed, they each leaped to slap a painted hand above the gymnasium doorway, receiving a symbolic “high-five” from graduates before them.
Students and their families then gathered for congratulations from faculty, who shared reminiscences and well wishes for next fall and beyond. A number of this year’s eighth grade graduates will return in September for Shore’s signature ninth grade program, which offers a level of individualized study and experiential learning that is unavailable elsewhere on the North Shore. Graduating ninth grade and many eighth grade students move on to high schools and college preparatory schools including: Brooks School, The Governor’s Academy, Middlesex School, Milton Academy, Phillips Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, Pingree School, St. John’s Preparatory School, and St. Mark’s School.