- Middle School
The 34 members of the Class of 2018 were celebrated for their unique qualities and individual and collective contributions to the community during The Country School's 2018 commencement ceremony in June. In keeping with school tradition, teachers read personal tributes to each student, seeking to encapsulate their time on campus—whether it was for ten years, as in the case of the “Lifers,” or six months, as it was for Allan L., an international student from China who spent the second half of his 8th Grade year at TCS.
The class of 2018 was unique in every way. One of the largest classes ever to graduate from The Country School, with a student body made up of three sets of twins and ten Lifers (or students who spent PreK-8th Grade on campus), the Class of 2018 will be remembered for years to come. Catherine A., one of the 8th Grade graduation speakers, summed up her class and her TCS experience in one word: “Crazy.”
Citing the Steve Jobs quotation she and her classmates chose for their class banner (see photo at right)—The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do—Catherine said it “perfectly describes my time at The Country School. TCS teaches its students to be crazy, but in a good way.”
She went on to describe some of the “craziness” she encountered during her years on campus, starting with her 1st Grade art class, where she discovered that all the erasers had been removed from the pencils. “This is crazy, I thought, because it’s art class - you’re bound to make mistakes, and you’ll need an eraser to correct them.” Eventually, though, she realized there was a purpose to the madness. “Mr. Acheson’s thinking was that without an eraser, we would learn that you can’t just undo mistakes and that you have to just work with them. His crazy eraser-less pencils taught me this important lesson.”
Other “craziness” ensued, such as convincing teachers and administrators when they were in 4th Grade that they, too, should have an overnight outdoor adventure, just like the older students, an action which resulted in the 4th Grade, on-campus Tent-In tradition. Or there was the inside-the-gym bounce house her class wanted to erect during a rainy Country Stock. “’You’re crazy,’ she recalled math teacher and advisor Bob McGee saying. ‘In my 20+ years of teaching, nobody has ever put a bounce house in the gym.’” However, the teachers “fully supported our crazy idea, and knowing just how hard we had all worked … agreed to our plan. We learned how to turn a vision into reality with dedication and planning no matter how crazy people think it is.”
Catherine concluded her speech with a message of gratitude and a hope that the “craziness” will continue. “Through all of this craziness, I've learned to make mistakes, dream big, work hard, and fully commit,” she said. “As my years at TCS come to an end, I want to thank my classmates and teachers for the amazingly insane eight years I’ve had at TCS, and wish you all many crazy years to come.”
Other student speakers, Maggie C., Celia D., Viraj D., Conor S., and Christopher M. (pictured below), delivered entertaining and inspiring speeches, thanking The Country School for the lessons they had learned and wishing their classmates and community well in the years ahead. For a video of Maggie's talk, click here.
Vicki Wepler, general music and choral music director, delivered the commencement speech, urging members of the class of 2018 to do one thing: Stay Connected. “Going to the Country School for any amount of time means that all of you have now been forever written into the same metaphorical TCS book, one that has existed for over 60 years,” Mrs. Wepler said. “Each of us has “our own individual life books too,” she said, “and just like the most beloved novels that we wish would never end, the story of each one of your lives gets to keep being written, day by day, year by year. It doesn’t end today. Please keep writing your own stories, share them with us, and recognize that STAYING CONNECTED to each other and to this school will help keep those stories and memories alive.
“So please, STAY CONNECTED to each other, to this place, to all of us, and most importantly, to yourself. Be proud of who you are, and go forth and share your amazing selves with the broader world, embracing the unknown future with confidence, while knowing the safety of TCS “will never fade away” (no matter what they tell you…). Congratulations to the incomparable class of 2018...you will NEVER be forgotten, and you’re all welcome back ANY time!”
Come fall, the incomparable members of the Class of 2018 will be branching out to an array of schools across the Northeast, including: Avon Old Farms (2), Cheshire Academy (1), Choate Rosemary Hall (2), Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School (1), Daniel Hand High School (10), Gould Academy (1), Groton School (1), Hopkins (2), Hotchkiss (1), Lauralton Hall (1), Loomis Chaffee (2), Milton Academy (1), Miss Porter’s (1), Notre Dame (1), Old Saybrook High School (1), Pomfret School (1), Proctor Academy (1), Taft (1), Williams (1), Xavier (1).
They will take with them their “craziness,” their talents, and their passions, and they will be sorely missed. We do hope, however, that they will STAY CONNECTED.