When I leave the office for the final time on June 30, I will have 36 years of memories to take with me. That includes 36 first days of school, 36 commencements, and 36 years of watching girls transform into resilient, ambitious, and adventurous young women. It includes so many Heritage Days, Holiday Bazaars, Upper School proms and dances, and celebrations of student, faculty, and institutional accomplishments. However, most importantly, my memories include 36 years full of love, laughter, and learning.
The below speech was given by Student Council President Abigail STUBENHOFER ’17 at the Commencement Ceremony on June 8, 2017.
Good evening, everyone. Today I am honored to speak on behalf of our Ellis community. I have wanted to give this speech since the first grade, when our class was given these white graduation hats and looked at old photographs of the Ellis commencement. It is hard to believe that 12 years later I am standing here wearing one of these hats, giving this speech. I had one year to prepare for this moment but I did not anticipate just how hard it would be to say, “Goodbye. Thank you. I love you.”
The below speech was given by Class President Pallavi MULUK ’17 at the Commencement Ceremony on June 8, 2017.
In the last few months, during the mountain of reflection that college applications require and extended periods of time that a third term high school senior inevitably spends trying to avoid real responsibilities, I’ve often found myself wondering what my life would have been like if I hadn’t come to Ellis 6 years ago.
Dean of Students Ashley Dotson delivered the below speech at the Senior Luncheon on March 12, 2017 at The University Club.
Good afternoon, seniors, sophomores, families, and faculty. It’s an honor to be here celebrating the class of 2017. I’d like to thank the seniors for inviting me to deliver the faculty address today, despite their awareness of my intense fear of public speaking. However, I suppose their choice was a natural one, given that I spent two years as their English teacher, and in my humble opinion, nothing brings people together like a rousing literary discussion.
Looking back on this past year as Lower School Interim Head, my mind is flooded with tons of great memories. It’s been a very rich year full of learning and growing. I’ve enjoyed watching our youngest learners grasp the concepts upon which they will build their love of learning. I couldn’t be more proud of our Lower School girls for all of their fundraising efforts to support causes in the community. I am filled with joy when I see girls work together with their buddy class on a project and in mixed class groups most recently during our Poem in Your Pocket celebration. I’m impressed by the leadership grade 4 students have shown whether on stage as leads of the winter musical Seussical Kids or during their Capstone Wax Museum presentations.
The month of May in the Middle School is filled with the excitement of class trips, the challenge of studying for final exams and wrapping up class activities, and the anticipation of closing exercises and summer vacation. In the next few weeks, we will honor students in grades 5–8 for their achievements and leadership in Middle School Student Council, class offices, athletics, and clubs during our recognition assembly on June 5. On June 6, we will celebrate the end of a successful Middle School experience with our 37 grade 8 students. During the ceremony, each grade will “move up” to their new seats in the auditorium, leaving space for the rising grade 4 students we will welcome to the Middle School in August.
Throughout their senior year, students often live simultaneously in two moments, both present day and future. This has become even more apparent in recent weeks as the students approached decision day on May 1; they were preparing for AP exams, thinking about what to wear for commencement in June, and making the big decision about where to attend college in the fall.
You have completed your exams, turned in your final papers, and received your grades for the semester. Your name was called and you happily walked across the stage to receive your high school diploma. You are now preparing for the next big adventure in your life: attending college.
Recently I attended our school’s traditional senior luncheon event, which, to my mind, was scheduled oddly and conspicuously in March. Don’t these girls have two plus months of school remaining?, I wondered to myself. Get back to being students; there’ll be plenty of time for all the pomp and circumstance of graduation! However, as I enjoyed the festivities and took in the spectacle of what was to be my first ever graduating senior class as a college counseling professional, I found myself deeply and indelibly moved by the experience.
On Friday, February 24, students in grades 9–11 participated in an annual curriculum round robin, during which department chairs and faculty members talked with students about choosing courses for the 2017–2018 school year. In the Upper School, we have expanded our elective program in addition to adding two new Advanced Placement courses. As we look to be strategic and intentional about the education of girls, we continue to re-envision the academic program at Ellis, providing a more robust course of study, enhancing our interdisciplinary offerings, and redefining education for young women in a global society.