Middle School Closing Ceremony

By Andrew Fletcher June 6, 2024

Led by the traditional bagpiping of Middle School Assistant Director Tony Breen, BB&N’s Class of 2028 processed into the final stop of their Middle School career this June for their Middle School Closing Ceremony. Director Mary Dolbear warmly welcomed the students and attendees, noting the joy she felt at being able to have everyone gather together one last time before addressing the students directly.

“Middle School is a time of trial and error where you’re stuck in the in between,” she noted. “But you’ve survived, you’ve done it, congratulations! Think about who you were on September 6, 2022 when you began here, and look at where you are now. It is often not until much later that many of us notice the growth that took place in Middle School. That’s the magic of this place. You may not realize it now, but your core values and skills have already taken root…we are so proud of you.”

Head of School Dr. Jennifer Price then took her turn lauding the class, specifically pointing out the impressive consistency with which they upheld many of BB&N’s core values such as “inquiry,” “belonging,” and “kindness.”  “I have seen first-hand how you have supported one another and been leaders at our Middle School as you have set the tone for the entire campus. As you all move onto your summer vacation approximately an hour from now, I ask that you remember the importance of these values, and of course along the way, have some fun this summer.”

The ceremony continued with a beautiful singing duet of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” performed by Sabrine Said ’28 and Siran Arakelian ’28 before the student-chosen faculty speaker, math teacher Gus Means, addressed the audience.

In a speech both funny and sincere, Means imparted to the students the importance of “learning how to live.” Drawing off of his own experience as a young professional joining the teaching ranks years ago, he noted how prior to that he had chosen the safe, known path in his life. “I had to learn how to live…to jump in with both feet and take chances,” Means said. “The focus is on trying to discover new interests, and the only way to do that is by taking that first stab at something new. If you start this now, and continue it throughout your life, you’ll hopefully find yourself at my old age with a myriad of hobbies, passions, and the feeling of truly living.”

Following Means, student speakers Kevin Guttierrez ’28 and Liya Tilahun ’28 offered their thoughts to classmates. Guttierrez spoke about being shy as a new seventh grader at BB&N, before the caring community at Sparks street brought him out of his shell.  “When was the last time you did something you didn’t think you could do, something that seemed impossible?” Guttierrez asked his classmates. “Two years ago, standing up here today would have seemed impossible to me… If I was able to overcome adversity and succeed, then you can do it too. There is no limit to what you can achieve.”

In her speech, Tilahun also reminisced about her start at BB&N as an eighth grader this school year. “I was afraid to feel lonely,” she recalled. “But our class is filled with not only geniuses, but with truly kind people. On my first day I remember students who went out of their way to say ‘hi’ or show me where the bathroom was.” Tilahun noted that since that first day, she’s never felt alone at BB&N and expressed her pride in what the class had accomplished. “We’ve grown stronger together, pushing not only ourselves, but each other to see it through.”

The ceremony closed with the presentation of certificates, before the (now former) BB&N eighth graders joined their families and friends to celebrate, smiling and ready for the next challenge.