One word to describe the Class of 2024 is resilient. “This year has been turbulent enough to tell you that we’ve changed,” said Grade 8 Speaker, MaKiyah Turner-Hicks ’24 at today’s virtual Moving Up 仪式, “but I want to shed light on the fact that we’ve done even more than that: we’ve developed.”
Today, the Class of 2024 graduated from 中学 in a virtual Moving Up 仪式. In a traditional setting, Grade 8 would have stood in Chapel and “moved up” to 上学校, 按年级依次进行, shifting physically to new seats. Like so many other events, the Poly tradition looked different this year with students and their families “attending” via Zoom. The students stood wherever they were celebrating with their family and moved up a grade.
共享 仪式 through a Zoom link allowed family and 朋友 from far and wide to celebrate together. 中学校长 Andre Del Valle P’29, 33个受欢迎的家庭, 朋友, and faculty to Moving Up noting 2020 was “full of challenges.” He offered the Class of 2024 some advice and words of encouragement. 永远要心存感激. “找到你的人,并从中学习, 他说, and reminded that some people tell you what you want to hear and others want you need to hear. “Don’t be afraid to try something new. Move out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.” Del Valle said, “The world is changing around you. This country is taking a cold look at itself… We have left a lot of work for you. Be the best person you can be.”
After a musical interlude by Poly’s Grade 8 Guitar class, who performed “Stand by Me” with vocals by The Tower Singers, the Grade 8 Speaker was introduced. In her moving speech, MaKiyah Turner-Hicks reflected on challenges faced on numerous fronts. She recalled teachers and students who have left the 中学, 并说, “我, 这是字面上的意思, not in a grade with the same people that I was in the 6th grade when I came to Poly. 我觉得这很酷.”
Although she may still be shy, the student who entertained us with her lively performance of Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream confidently told us, “Poly has changed since I’ve come here. That change was prompted by racial stigma, 大流行的, by mental health emergencies, and worldwide activist movements, but that change was positive and it doesn’t replace Poly’s identity; it improves it. That’s a sign of evolution, 这就是变化, however it was brought on, prompted the creation of affinity groups for people of different religious backgrounds, 性别, and racial identities…” She continued, “If I could see you all right now, I would be able to see how much you developed. I would be able to show you how much you developed. I would see musicians, doctors, artists, fashion designers, activists, and athletes. And no, I’m not talking about your potential. I’m talking about what I’ve seen… You all have so much to be proud of,玛基亚说, as she recounted the talents of her amazing classmates before saying “a simple virtual goodbye.”
中学 math teacher Stephen Bates presented a slideshow of the Class of 2024 throughout 中学 before 中学 Deans Amie Bui P’28, 亚当Bisceglia, 和01年的彼得·索托, P‘31 congratulated the class and wished them well and, after a faculty slideshow of congratulations, it was time for the 中学 to move up. Del Valle asked the eighth graders to stand wherever they were and proclaimed them promoted to 上学校. He led the clapping as he did this in turn for each 中学 grade.
Head of School Audrius Barzdukas P’20 offered the closing remarks, congratulating the students, 但是提醒他们, “You didn’t do it alone,” and asking them to thank teachers, 教练, 和父母. He wished the Class of 2024 well as they begin a “lifelong adventure and love affair with learning” and reminded them to read. Barzdukas told them he can’t wait to see them. “We are getting school ready for your return.”
To conclude the 仪式, Grade 5 students sang the Poly Song. Watch the full Moving Up 仪式.