Commencement is a time to celebrate at any institution, but when it is your first commencement, the celebration is uniquely exuberant. Our inaugural event began with breakfast and robing at the Cooper Square campus. From there a sea of blue caps and gowns – graduating seniors, the entire faculty, administrators and guests processed north to Grace Church, accompanied by the High School Jazz Ensemble. The ceremony itself was punctuated with beautiful music from student choirs, speeches both heartfelt and humorous, and nostalgic moments between classmates. David Brooks ’75 capped the event with an inspiring graduation address.
The Class of 2016 Medal, created this day and to be awarded at future commencements, was given this one time to the entire class, as a token of appreciation for their leadership in creating the High School Division of Grace Church School. In future years, the award will be given to students who demonstrate a commitment to Character, Community and Service. The medal was also given to former Board of Trustees Chair Doug Evans, former Trustee Sally Hines, Division Head Hugo Mahabir, and Dean of the Class of 2016, MiChelle Carpenter. The Alumni Prize, awarded to a student “who embodies the ethos of the school and dedication to the character and value of the GCS community, as an ethical person, a caring classmate and an exemplary scholar,” was given jointly to Electra Carzis and Felix Ma.
Excerpt from Winston Simone ‘16, Senior Class Leader
This was the high school’s 4th year, and it's pretty amazing to think that what started as a little school house at 46 Cooper Square would be able to accomplish so much. At first, there was only one grade, one building and 10 teachers in downtown Manhattan. Mr. Davison had a vision that one day a construction site would yield the result we have today. As we end senior year, the 64 of us here today will be forever united as the first graduating class. We were so often referred to as “guinea pigs,” but we were much more than that. We were students who took on the lofty task of building a school that we could all be proud of. Today the class of 2016 has left an indelible mark on this institution, but we are not finished yet. We will carry this class and school with us in all our endeavors.
Excerpt from Camille Ollivierre ‘16
Dear Class of 2016,
Each of us, whether we arrived in 9th grade or later, walked into those heavy, glass doors, anxious, afraid, and yet, comfortable with the idea of discomfort. Comfortable with the idea of the unknown, of taking risks, and of change. We ran around these hallways, climbed up these endless stairs, sat in these cold classrooms, but most importantly we built this high school, our home, brick by metaphorical brick, together.
Thank you for being my peers, my friends, and my family. I will forever be grateful for the memories that we’ve shared for the past four, or fourteen, years together. I will miss you all.
David Brooks ’75 delivered a warm and thoughtful commencement address in which he recounted found memories of his days at Grace and offered advice for how to make the most of the journey that lies ahead of the graduates.