Launching Into New Beginnings

As we drove to school on one of the last days of the school year, my daughter remarked to me that she felt like the first day of school was not that long ago. When I completed second grade, I don’t remember feeling like the school years passed by quite as quickly as they do now! As Head of the Upper School, it continues to amaze me just how fast the school year goes, and also how quickly students move through their four years of Upper School; the end of each phase is always bittersweet.
As I look forward to the summer, it is exciting to think about all of the students moving on, whether it be to the next grade level or off to college. It is remarkable to see how much girls learn over the course of each school year and how much they grow between the months of September and June.

Last August, the grade 9 students entered the Upper School full of anticipation for how their year would transpire. They felt nervous about making new friends and wondered how the grade 10, 11, and 12 students would welcome them into the fold. Over lunch at the conclusion of the year, those same grade 9 students were relieved to share that “everyone is really welcoming” and that their friends in other grades, particularly their big sisters, have been really helpful to them in making the transition from Middle to Upper school. On the last CoLab day of the year, grade 9 students presented final projects as a culmination of their work in Voice and Vision. Following their presentations, a few of the faculty remarked that “they are ready to be sophomores.” And while their transition from being the oldest in the Middle School to the youngest in the Upper School wasn’t always smooth or easy, the growth in their self-assuredness was evident in their presentations, and it is clear they are now ready to move on to the next phase of Upper School life.

The sophomores and juniors have demonstrated similar growth over the course of the year. Where the grade 10 students challenged their senior big sisters in the fall, they were able to laugh together over their disagreements this spring. They look forward to becoming big sisters in the fall as the Class of 2023 enters the Upper School. Likewise, the juniors are poised to move into their role as seniors in the fall. Sitting in their new auditorium seats during mini-courses, their excitement is palpable as they look forward to being the leaders in the Upper School.

We had many opportunities to celebrate the seniors in the closing month of school as we send them off to college at the conclusion of the summer. Beginning on college decision day and through many tear-filled ceremonies, including Commencement, the seniors have demonstrated how sad they are to say goodbye to each other and to Ellis, even though they know they are well-prepared for their launch into the world.

At the start of the school year, I encouraged the students to carry their joy from summer into the fall and to continue to make time for the activities they enjoy most. I hope that as you start your summer you find time for the things that you bring you joy and that you look back fondly over the last year. I look forward to seeing the returning students in the fall and the alumnae when they have time to visit campus. I hope you savor the long days of summer as well as time with family and friends.