At the end of a typical school year, we honor and celebrate our sixth-year graduates and their families on campus with a graduation ceremony and after party—lovely speeches, delicious food, laughter, tears and lots and lots of Fitz’s root beer. This year the pandemic forced us to change our plans and get creative. Graduating families came in their cars to watch a parade put on by our community and a screening of their prerecorded speeches, all the while maintaining a safe distance (and yes, there was root beer!).
While we did put on a pretty magnificent social-distanced ceremony (if we do say so ourselves), we think the graduates deserve to be celebrated just a little bit more. This summer we’ll highlight each of our sixth-year graduates on the blog. You’ll meet some of the best people we know, children we love and have watched grow and develop into thoughtful, funny, curious, exciting and vibrant young people. And you’ll get to watch their graduation speeches! Today, we’ll meet Oliver.
Oliver is kind, passionate and never afraid to speak their mind. The classroom won’t be the same without them. Upper Elementary fourth-year student
Villa di Maria: Introduce yourself! Tell us something you think everyone should know about you.
Oliver: My name is Oliver and I am a 6th-year graduate of Villa di Maria. I have been going to this school for 9 years and I am sad to be leaving.
VdM: What are your hobbies and interests? What do you like to do for fun?
Oliver: I really like to read, cook, and roller skate.
VdM: Do you have a favorite book or movie (or both)? What is it and why?
Oliver: Right now my favorite book is Fablehaven because I really like adventure and plot twists and that 5-book series is full of them! My favorite movie right now would have to be the 2 Maleficent movies. I really like them because it shows how misunderstood and not evil she really is! (I really suggest that you watch it!)
VdM: Tell us something about yourself that you are proud of.
Oliver: I am proud to have been elected to the UN closing bureau on the topic of the Advancement of Women.
VdM: How old were you when you started at Villa di Maria?
Oliver: I was three years old when I first started at Villa. One of my favorite memories is when my best friend and I would race each other to the playground every day after lunch.
VdM: Let’s talk about this school year… how do you feel about closing out your last year at Villa di Maria with distance learning?
Oliver:I feel like distance learning has really cut off a bond between me and my teachers that would have flourished towards the end of the year and I am heartbroken that it had to happen like this.
VdM: What do you miss most about being on campus?
Oliver: I really just miss the feel of the environment that all of the other students and teachers make and I think that’s what I miss most.
VdM: What’s next for you? Where will you be going to middle school?
Oliver: The path to the future is really uncertain but I have gotten into a school in Milwaukee called Maryland Avenue Montessori and I am excited to start there!
VdM: What is something you’re most excited about going into your new school? Is there anything you’re not excited about?
Oliver: I am really excited to move on to new Math works especially more Algebra. Something I am not excited about would be the possibility of starting the school year off online.
VdM: Last but not least, you graduated from Villa di Maria!! How are you going to celebrate this summer?
Oliver: There isn’t much celebrating that I can do this summer because we are all quarantined but I will try my best to be happy.
Thank you, Oliver! It is truly bittersweet to say good bye. Villa di Maria will never be the same without you, but we know you are headed into a fantastic future. We are so proud to call you a VdM alum and we will miss you.
And now… Oliver’s graduation speech:
Photos courtesy of Oliver’s family and Melinda Smith.