The below speech was given by Senior Class President Noa REITER '18 at the Commencement Ceremony on June 7, 2018.
Almost a month ago to the day, I found myself standing in a neatly trimmed garden, tearing up a piece of whole grain bread to feed five wildly clucking chickens. Classmates of mine did the same, as they moved their eyes, half amused, half confused from the pecking chickens at their feet, to the impressive hen house that stood in front of them. We watched as our Spanish teacher emerged from the hen house, goofy smile on his face, to tell us more about his feathered friends. Bellies and hearts full from the enchiladas we had shared at his dining room table, we listened to one of his many tales as the grins on our faces grew.
Carnegie Mellon University professor and award-winning game designer Jessica Hammer, Ph.D. delivered the below speech at The Ellis School's Commencement Ceremony on June 7, 2018.
Good evening everyone, and thank you so much for inviting me to speak to you tonight. Congratulations to the Class of 2018! Congratulations as well to your family and friends. I’m sure they are all very proud of you tonight.
The below speech was given by Student Council President Ally HASSOUN '18 at the Commencement Ceremony on June 7, 2018.
Good evening and welcome. I have had the honor and privilege of serving as Upper School Student Council president for the 2017-2018 school year. Even though I have had all year to plan for this very moment, I never knew how hard it would be. Saying goodbye to a place I have been able to call home for the past 10 years is something I really don’t know how to do properly, this is where I’ve grown up, and it is all I’ve known. However, it is something I must now do, and something we all must now face because things are changing and we are all going on to new journeys.
It’s hard for me to believe that the school year is drawing to a close already. It feels like only yesterday I was meeting many of you and your daughters as we started the school year together. I am deeply grateful for the many ways in which you have helped me feel so quickly at home at Ellis, and the warmth with which you have welcomed me, and I couldn’t be more excited about our future here together.
I’ve spent a lot of time this year listening—to students, faculty and staff, parents, alumnae—as a way of gaining a clear understanding of what we value as a community, what we are doing well, and opportunities for becoming an even more remarkable school. Many thanks to those of you who attended one of the community conversations we hosted last fall, or who completed the brief survey of parents we distributed early in the year. Today, I want to share some of the highlights of that feedback and some of the steps we are taking at The Ellis School in response.
This is a particularly busy and exciting time in the flow of the school year, as students and faculty begin to wrap up projects and prepare for final assessments, as spring athletic teams hurtle through their seasons, as we build toward the culmination of our school-wide community service project celebration on May 25, and as the Ellis Parent Association volunteers plan their remaining activities for the year. It is a time of year when I feel deeply grateful for all the adults at school and at home who both challenge and nurture our girls, and who work so hard to make Ellis such a special community.
For parents and educators, the new growth of spring often triggers us noticing how much the children in our lives have blossomed, sometimes without us even realizing it. Ellis girls have grown and flourished in so many ways this year. I hope you’ll enjoy the stories in this newsletter that celebrate some of that growth.
When I was getting to know Ellis as a candidate for the Head of School position, one of the aspects of the school that was tremendously compelling—and personally important to me—was the School's commitment to diversity. Our website states this:
As I mentioned in my last GreenSheet, I am spending a great deal of time this year listening and learning about our school community in hopes of understanding what students, parents, faculty, staff, alumnae and supporters care about, wish we would do differently, and never want to change. When I asked parents to describe why they chose Ellis for their daughters, almost every parent talked about the strength of our academic program, and the benefits of an all-girls education. It can be challenging in a pre-kindergarten through grade 12 community for parents to have a sense of what is happening in different parts of the school, and I want to be sure you get a chance to see the richness in the Ellis academic experience that I am lucky enough to witness every day.