We could not be more proud of our sixth years and all the work they’ve accomplished to arrive at graduation! The sixth-year graduation ceremony is always a mix of joy and tears as we celebrate the beautiful students who have called Villa di Maria their home for years, while also saying goodbye to these special folks we’ve come to love. Today we’ll share a glimpse into this most special event at VdM, the honoring and celebration of our graduates as they move on to their next stage of learning and development.
Traditionally, graduation opens with an address by their guide, Ms. Rebecca. This year Rebecca framed the event in terms of “superpowers” the students possessed. She shared how each individual used their special powers for the good of VdM to improve our community during their time here. She called on them to continue to develop and carry these superpowers into their next endeavors.
The highlight of the ceremony is the presentation of the students’ speeches. Upper Elementary guides offer editing assistance during the writing process, but the words and ideas come authentically from the students. Each sixth year is asked to describe their journey at VdM in terms of the metaphor that best frames their experience and describes their unique strengths and weaknesses during their time at VdM. This year students chose metaphors such as video gaming, the journey of the hero in a novel, cooking, and many more!
It is a treat to hear the unique style and expression in each speech, revealing the personality of the speaker. Many students shared about the challenges the pandemic brought into their lives, as they had to learn from home for a portion of their career at VdM. As the VdM community takes in these speeches, we bask in amazement at how far each child has come in their self-awareness, emotional intelligence, writing ability and confidence to speak with such poise in front of a large crowd. Each sixth-year student spoke with an eloquence and calm beyond their years!
Next come the fifth-year dedications—fifth-year students share their own short speeches about the graduates. Many of the fifth- and sixth-year students have long and meaningful friendships that go back to their shared time in the Children’s House. During the dedication speeches, the fifth years share their memories about their older classmates with humor, fondness and admiration.
After speeches comes the photo slideshow of each graduate from infancy to present day. Many “awws” were heard as the crowd enjoyed cute baby photos of the now-12-year-olds standing before them.
Finally, diplomas are awarded by the Head of School. Handshakes, hugs and high fives are shared by their teachers and fellow graduates as tears and applause flow from the audience.
As we say goodbye to some of our favorite people, we do so with great joy and pride, knowing they will carry their unique superpowers and growing self-assuredness into the world with them to make it a better place. Thank you, graduates, for how you have shaped and led our community at VdM this year. We look forward to seeing your faces again and hearing of new adventures when you come back to visit!!