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2024 Lower School Closing Ceremony

June 10, 2024—Processing to Pachelbel’s Canon and holding a single white rose tied with a red ribbon, Class IV students made their entrance to the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater for the 34th annual Lower School Closing Ceremony. The event marks the end of the school year and is particularly meaningful for eighth grade students as they finish their time in the Lower School.

“This ceremony is about reflection, looking at a year of accomplishments and next steps or new beginnings,” said Head of School Sharon Jones Phinney. In her remarks, Ms. Phinney likened the educational experience to a journey, “you can only take so much luggage with you.” She implored students to “think about what you intend to bring with you and what you want to—or even need to—leave behind,” and then pack it in a suitcase to be opened before the first day of school in the fall.

Head of School Sarah Pelmas shared words of wisdom with the Lower School as well, touching on connections and how important they are, “for literally everything in the rest of your life.” She explained, “when you can look for patterns and parallels, when you can see the connections woven throughout the world we live in—well, it’s a richer, more exciting life, isn’t it?” With best wishes for the years ahead, Ms. Pelmas shared, “as you head into high school, I hope you will form new connections, try new activities and meet new people that way, share your own quirky world with others and ask about their quirky world in return.”

After remarks from Ms. Pelmas, Class IV stepped on to the risers to sing “Slipping Through my Fingers” by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderrson accompanied by Head of Performing Arts Felicia Brady-Lopez on piano. A fitting choice, lyrics such as “Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning / Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile” and “She keeps on growing / Slipping through my fingers all the time,” hit close to home and had some families in the audience getting emotional.

Selected by classmates, the Class of 2028 speaker was Bailey Hall ’28, who reflected on the deep sense of connection and community between the 60 students in Class IV. Recalling a class retreat, she invited “Takawanda's presence into the atmosphere.” Meaning “we are many,” Takawanda is the name of a tree the class met on a retreat when a trip leader hugged the tree, “an experience at Winsor; one we will never forget,” said Hall, who explained, “Takawanda has become a big part of the bonding of our grade…she showed us how to become closer to each other by giving all of us something to laugh about together.”

Students have been together for somewhere between two to four years and Hall noted, “We have learned how to collaborate, give the absolute best compliments, and how to give each other a hand when we need it the most.” Calling the Class of 2028 her best friends, Hall quoted American singer songwriter SZA and said, “I have an abundant amount of love in my life, and I’m grateful for that.”

Making joint remarks, Class IV Coordinators Emily Moran and Josh Constant spoke about their years with the Class of 2028. Their words of wisdom encouraged students to “think ahead, don’t forget to laugh…and make room for the unexpected—often, the best learning and growth comes from places you don’t expect.” Ms. Moran and Mr. Constant announced each Class IV student and Ms. Pelmas and Ms. Phinney conferred the certificates to applause. 

In closing, the newly introduced Class IV Council Head Ani Andersen ’29 rang Miss Winsor’s bell ceremoniously closing the school year. Along with Class IV Council Head Isha Vachhani ’29, together they will ring the bell to open the school year in September. 

The recessional, “Unwritten,” offered words of wisdom from Natash Bedingfield—“Live your life with arms wide open / Today is where your book begins / The rest is still unwritten”—an apropos send off for the Class of 2028 who are at the very beginning of their high school careers.