The Class of 2018 graduated on Friday, June 8. This year's class of 52 was the largest class ever to graduate from The Philadelphia School.
Despite the record number of graduates (the previous largest class had 38 students), we preserved the beloved traditions that distinguish a TPS graduation ceremony from all others! After each 8th grader gave a speech or performed a song or instrumental piece, the graduating class was joined by the kindergarten students and sang "Make New Friends" in rounds. Our youngest and littlest learners, the preschoolers, closed the ceremony, handing paper flowers they had made to the graduates as they prepared for their raucous recessional.
We will add more photos in the next few days, as well as a video of the ceremony. Here are a few of the speeches written and poignantly delivered by our graduating 8th graders.
Opening Night by Bo M.
Opening night of Shakespeare. The Tempest. There was pandemonium backstage - we were scrambling around for props and final costume pieces and running through lines to make sure everything was perfect. I sat and watched from my entrance, reviewing my monologue, thinking to myself, “this is it, this is it.”
In the middle of Act 2, Scene 1, Queen Alonsa was mid-scene when suddenly the stage lights flickered. They turned off, then on, then off – each time triggering faces of surprise on Queen Alonsa and her troops.
The stage lights went off for good, but the actors remained in character. Our director, Brooke, turned the house lights on and instructed the actors to continue. Panic ran through my bones. What is going to happen? How can we continue? Before I could figure anything out, Will was onstage, crawling under the gabardine. This was my cue; I was on. After taking three big breaths, I confidently smiled to myself and entered the scene. I almost faltered, almost missed it, almost ruined it. But I didn’t. I said all my lines as they were supposed to be said, and so did everyone else. When the final curtain closed, I realized that the light going out wasn't a curse but a blessing, pushing us to do our best.
Helping Us Navigate by Taylor F. & Maya G.
Maya: This school is a place full of great opportunities and lots of memorable experiences. Through the years, we have met all types of people who have helped us navigate this community successfully.
Taylor: While applying to high schools, we felt stressed, but we had our teacher Ashley to rely on. Relatable and kind, Ashley has a loving personality that makes us feel as though we can survive one more day of school. She’s a person whom we know we can turn to, let it all out, and not be judged. Not only is she kind, she’s also helpful. For the reminders and schedules she wrote on her board every morning to the help she gave us with high school applications and the tips she gave us to study for admission tests, we couldn’t appreciate her enough.
Maya: Then there are times when we didn’t always feel comfortable because we are the minority in this school. Melanie, our 7th grade teacher and our mentor, helped us tremendously in feeling more comfortable. She helped us feel seen as black in a white community by being there to talk to. Melanie was always there for the two of us when we had any problems. She is extremely funny, smart, caring, and strong. We can never express how thankful we are for having an adult in our school who always had our back and was always there for us.
Taylor: There are times that we just want to let go, be goofy, and forget about the work that we have. In those moments we turn to the sixth grade bunch. They are always there to have a funny conversation with, talk about what edge control works for our hair, and what our future life goals are. We can’t express how great it is to have spent a lot of time at TPS with you guys. So Ruby, Sarah, Taylor, Jade, Telise, and Symone, we appreciate you guys so much and all of the good times and memories that have been created because of you.
Maya: Not only will we miss our 6th grade friends, we’ll miss the support of special teachers, including Kim, Katrina, Tiziana, Bart, Claudette, Giovana, Cecilia, Bernadette, Abram, and Nikè. We love you, guys.