Commencement Exercises honor the Class of 2017.
Graduation day—with all its pomp and circumstance—is a day you never forget. Seniors look forward to it all year, parents ready themselves for bittersweet emotions, teachers and administrators worry over every last detail and alumni reminisce on their own senior year memories.
The MICDS community celebrated the School’s 158th Commencement Exercise for the 159 members of the Class of 2017 on May 14 in the McDonnell Athletic Center. Head of Upper School Scott Small and 2017 Class Dean Chris Ludbrook proudly presented the candidates for graduation, while Head of School Lisa Lyle and MICDS Board Chair Bill Polk ’74 awarded the diplomas.
“ These proud adults will leave the world in awe. Just watch them.”
Ms. Lyle welcomed graduates and guests and recognized the diverse and wonderful talents of the Class of 2017. She reminded attendees that this class consists of passionate readers and poets, gifted vocalists and historians, bench researchers, robot enthusiasts, remarkable student-athletes and more. They modeled civic engagement around polarizing topics through the tagline “Converse to Comprehend Not Convince,” volunteered in Peruvian clinics, broke in McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall, played the first games in the new Ron Holtman Stadium and transported us with the Sound of Music. Most importantly, she said, “You have developed relationships with your peers and your teachers that will serve you well for a lifetime.”
Bill Polk instilled a strong sense of pride for an MICDS education and also encouraged the graduates to continue to make a difference in the world. “Think big. Take a risk. Embrace the struggle and remember nothing great ever comes from a lot of easy days. Include, collaborate, give back and make sure you have some good laughs along the way.”
In keeping with tradition, the Class of 2017 chose one faculty member, JK-12 History and Social Studies Department Chair Carla Federman, and one classmate, Haad Zahid, to speak at commencement. Class Valedictorian Isabella Fox and Salutatorian Nikki Kasal offered remarks during Senior Night on May 12 (p. 12).
Sharing the story of William Sloane Coffin Jr., a young, white, upper-class chaplain at Yale University who traveled south to participate in the Freedom Riders movement during the Civil Rights era, Federman touched on his tireless efforts and bravery. Paralleling his story to the Class of 2017—and the way Coffin used language and dialogue in the hundreds of letters he wrote in response to critics—Federman stressed, “What we say, how we choose to say it and who we choose to say it to—that all matters.” Federman also noted Coffin’s privilege and the way he used it for good. She said, “Segregation and discrimination weren’t impacting him. He did it because they weren’t impacting him, and because it is incumbent on us as citizens, both of America and the world, to look beyond ourselves.”
Student Speaker Haad Zahid expressed pride in his fellow classmates as newfound adults. “It would seem that being an adult isn’t some merit-based title you get when you pay your bills for the first time, or something that you magically become when you live 365 days 18 times over. No. It is helping others where you have failed, using what you have learned to impact those you care about and accepting that you are not all-knowing and will continue to fail and learn. These proud adults will leave the world in awe, just watch them.”
To conclude the ceremony, MICDS Alumni Association President Jake McDonald ’98 formally welcomed graduates as the School’s newest additions to the MICDS alumni network, more than 8,100 members proud.
Surely, this year’s graduation ceremony will not be forgotten. Congratulations, Class of 2017!
See where the class of 2017 is now! View, print or share the 2017 matriculation list.