Class of 2018 Celebrated at Commencement

The Ellis School celebrated the wide-ranging achievements of the Class of 2018 at Commencement on June 7, 2018. A passionate and diverse group of 37 students, the Class of 2018 was recognized for their commitment to academics and for their many contributions as scholars, athletes, artists, daughters, and friends. In the fall, the Class of 2018 will attend 27 distinct institutions in 24 different states.
Ellis families, faculty, trustees, and friends watched with pride as the class processed through the Courtyard, in the traditional white hats, and sat along the breezeway in anticipation of receiving their diplomas. Head of School Macon Finley opened the ceremony by thanking the support networks that have cheered on the Class of 2018 and noted how appropriate it was for the ceremony to be held in the Courtyard—the center of the School, the center of all three divisions, and the center of many student conversations over snack, lunch, and between classes. Mrs. Finley also thanked the Ellis community for welcoming her so warmly to the School in her inaugural year at Ellis and noted how she will always remember this year’s graduating class as her first set of Ellis seniors.

Following Mrs. Finley’s welcome, Student Council President Ally HASSOUN delivered the 2018 Class Tribute. Ally reflected on her ten years at Ellis, the teachers who supported her and her class along the way, and her all-girls education. “Throughout my time at Ellis, many people have asked me about the all girls experience, and what it means to me. It is because of this all girls environment that I am the energetic, outgoing person that I am today.”

Senior Class President Noa REITER was next to the podium to deliver the Class of 2018 Appreciation. Noa spoke about how Ellis teachers have stretched the role of educator beyond its traditional parameters and thanked them for teaching her class abstract languages like kindness, goofiness, accountability, exploration, and acceptance. “I have witnessed my teachers time and time again go out of their way to learn with us, laugh with us, council us, and care for us. Their willingness to be themselves around us, quirky and rough around the edges, has allowed us to be fully ourselves in class, in the halls, and beyond the walls of Ellis."

Carnegie Mellon University professor and award-winning game designer Jessica Hammer, Ph.D. then delivered the 2018 commencement address. She gave students the “game designers blessing” which included three parts: knowing the rules, breaking the rules, and making your own rules. “To break the rules, you will need wisdom and judgment, so that you can know when breaking the rules is necessary and when it is merely self-serving. And you will also need the courage to face the consequences. So, look around at your friends and family who are here today. These are the people who will help you cultivate wisdom, judgment, and courage, and who will stick with you when rule-breaking becomes necessary.”

Her empowering messages to forge your own path, face consequences with courage, and be responsible with power were met with roaring applause from the Class of 2018 and the Ellis community. Following Jessica’s speech, diplomas were distributed, the alma mater was sung, and the Class of 2018 was officially announced as graduates of The Ellis School.

To close the ceremony, Assistant Head of School Lauren Laschon directly addressed the graduating class. She opened with a quote from Fred Rogers, “my hope for all of us is that ‘the miles we go before we sleep’ will be filled with all the feelings that come from deep caring—delight, sadness, joy, wisdom—and that in all the endings of our life, we will be able to see the new beginnings.”

She then told the class that at Ellis—they’ve felt all the feelings of deep caring, and that she hoped as they embarked on this next stage of their life that they would all continue to be filled with delight, joy, and wisdom and that the sadness they experience will never be more than they can handle. She urged the class to look at this ending as a new beginning and closed with “to all of the beautiful people of the Class of 2018, our love, our thanks, and our best wishes.”

The Ellis community applauds the Class of 2018 as they make bold decisions about their future, blaze new trails, and chase their dreams. Please join us in congratulating these exceptional young women on their graduation from The Ellis School. We look forward to welcoming them into the next chapter of an Ellis education—the Ellis alumnae network!