2022 Class IV Lower School Closing Ceremony

Monday, June 6, 2022—The Winsor School community celebrated Class IV students during the school’s 32nd annual Lower School Closing Ceremony. Faculty, staff, students and their families gathered in the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater as the event was live-streamed to a broader audience at home.

Lower School Head Sharon Jones Phinney opened the ceremony by reflecting on the uncertainty of life back in the fall when we could not gather so freely because of safety protocols. “I am so glad that we were able to maintain a semblance of normalcy when it seemed like nothing would be normal again,” she reflected. “And here we are having what seems like a normal closing ceremony.” 

Ms. Phinney introduced Head of School Sarah Pelmas who echoed the feeling of relief having our community back together again. Ms. Pelmas addressed the Lower School students and imparted two pieces of advice as they move into their next chapters. The first: “Celebrate each other every day the way you do in your yearbook photos.” Ms. Pelmas pointed out that most of the photos on the Class IV pages are group shots. The quotes from Dolly Parton, Albert Einstein, and Milton Berle are from three of the nicest, smartest, and funniest people. Nice, smart, and funny are three traits that are the best things you “could ever hope to be called.”

Her second piece of advice: “Love unreservedly and in full view of everyone.” So much sorrow in this world is attached to being embarrassed about “who we are and what we love.” 

Lower School Council Heads Talia Dwyer ‘26 and Lauren Folker ‘26 took the stage for the transfer of Lower School leadership. They thanked their council reps, faculty, and Ms. Phinney for “putting up with our late email responses and always making time for us.” They also thanked History Faculty Josh Constant for his “encouragement and support…whenever either of us needed a helping hand.” Next they turned to the class of 2026 and to say how much they appreciated “the loud cheering every time we started a speech.” Talia and Lauren handed the reins over to new council leaders Anaisha Mallik ’27 and Bonnie Shao ’27 who offered goodbyes to five beloved teachers who are leaving at the end of the school year. 

Class IV performed a moving and memorable rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up” before Eden Kelly ‘26 took the stage to acknowledge the challenges the class faced collectively. “Together we have endured unthinkable disasters that none of us believed we would go through in our lifetimes,” she stated. “We braved COVID and online school together in Class II and hybrid school again in Class III.” She then added a bit of light with “we mourned the devastating loss of the toaster in Class III.”

Incoming Class VIII President Olivia Sarkis ’23 welcomed students to the Upper School with learnings from her own freshman year. Olivia remembered signing up for too many clubs, and running frantically from meeting to meeting. Even though it was a scheduling nightmare, through this experimentation, she was able to find her true passions. 

Ms. Pelmas then conferred the annual awards to the Lower School winners including the Brooks Prizes for Poetry Reading in Classes IV and V and the two-part Clare Cutler ’62 Memorial Prize for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts.

Before awarding the Class IV certificates, Class Coordinators Josh Constant and Maren Kelsey congratulated the students for navigating challenges that no one could have anticipated. “You had four different schedules in four years, have been asked to be on camera on Zoom before nine in the morning, and that's just the beginning of it.” Because of these challenges, it also means that these students entered this year as “leaders in our Lower School community without having many examples of how others have held this position before you.”

Ms. Phinney shared a few words to send students off into summer, which built on the theme of “bloom where you are planted.” She explained that for many, parents may have selected the school for you or perhaps you were not selected for the team or club you so wanted. When landing somewhere different or unexpected, show the world what you are made of and rise. “The bloom is your positivity, the bloom is the kindness you show, the bloom is your willingness to give someone the benefit of the doubt,” Ms. Phinney shared. 

To close the ceremony, new Lower School Council Heads Anaisha Mallik ’27 and Bonnie Shao ’27 rang Miss Winsor’s bell to officially close the school year. The students left the theater to the music by Jaret Reddick’s “Today Is Gonna Be a Great Day.”

View the photo gallery
Watch the recording.