On the cool, early-summer evening of Monday, June 3, the GDS Middle School celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2023. In this penultimate ceremony on MacArthur Boulevard before the move to our new unified home on Davenport Street, all of the 8th grade students were honored, for their time spent in these hallways (some from pre-K/K) and their shared experiences as a class.
Five voices from the 8th grade class shared their thoughts on this big move in their lives.
Class speaker Jaia Wilensky spoke of the grade’s shared experiences that have made them a family, a family that will support them through the next four years in High School: “Use the community that you have and will continue to foster to help you through hard times.”
Wesley Brubaker brought some humor to the evening with his speech that touched on some of the special moments that shaped this class through every year. “Now I would say the bonds we’ve formed will last a lifetime, but that’s just not true. I will most likely forget you all, at some point in my life, but that’s just the circle, the circle of liiiiiiife!!!”
Sadie Foer spoke of the legacy the Class of 2023 will leave behind and said, “I’m leaving nine years of my life behind. But I’m not truly leaving, the younger me still lives in these walls among my old teachers and younger buddies. I continue to live here through my legacy.”
Edith Carey said, “Besides being a holding pen for rowdy children, as my mother put it, middle school does have a purpose. It’s a place where we have room to become ourselves, without it having a lasting effect on our lives. We can try new things, and not be afraid of failure. I tried dance in 6th grade. And failed horribly. But we don’t need to talk about that. But I also started set design in 7th grade, and it didn’t fail horribly!”
Ethan Wolin thanked his teachers, parents, and fellow students and noted how much change he has seen in himself since he started in pre-kindergarten: “GDS has also helped us find and expand our interests. GDS took us all the way from our first grade author’s brunch—at which my story was about a mild skiing accident—to writing our constitutional issue papers this year. GDS took me from singing the frog song in the Passover assembly in Pre-K to singing solos in the musical and cabaret. And, GDS took me from dreading going to PE every day of Lower School to joining the cross-country and track teams and discovering a lifelong sport. I’m certain all of my classmates have their own examples of how GDS has helped them grow.”
The ceremony also highlighted those students with other connections to the School, whether as children of GDS staff members or children of alumni. As a group, children of faculty and staff enumerated the ways being a child of a GDS worker has its ups and downs, but ultimately, is a unique experience that they appreciate. Children of alums talked about the importance of the legacy they share with their parents, the experiences they can compare, and the connection between themselves and their parents that has deepened because of their multi-generational affiliation to the School.
Middle School Principal Debby Previna shared that this class has a “dear place in [her] heart”: “You are ‘my’ cohort. We entered into Middle School together, most of you as sixth graders and me as your school Principal...You are my special class because we entered the unfamiliar together.”
She also noted that when she is asked what has defined this class, her answer cannot be limited to just a few words, because they embrace their uniqueness. “What I see is not a prototype of an 8th grader. I see diversity. I see a group of 8th graders each with their own distinct characteristics.” And later: “As you move on to high school and beyond, I want you to remember that your uniqueness is your superpower.”
Ava Blum, Katie Keeley, and Susan Chuqing Lin presented the class gift: a new pingpong table for the MS lounge. (Never fear, it will make the journey to Tenleytown with us all in 2020.)
Eighth grade advisor and grade level coordinator Brooke Houghton was proud of all of the student speakers. “I’ve known this group of students for years,” she said. “They’re a wonderful group, full of energy and good ideas. They are also a very grateful group, and they just warm my heart.”
As students exited the gym to head home and then off to their 8th grade trip to Camp Arrowhead, I’m a Believer was played (by Smashmouth from the Shrek soundtrack), this class’s 5th grade dance assembly song. Class of 2023, we’re believers in you!
Georgetown Day School is a coed, preK-12, non-sectarian private school in Washington, DC with small class sizes and a diverse school community. Our comprehensive, innovative curriculum includes hands-on learning, honors and AP classes, as well as advanced-level math and STEM courses. An education is not just college prep and SAT scores. GDS teachers focus on providing the best education for each child, from elementary grades through high school. The school performing arts program includes theater, dance, and music. The athletics program offers competitive sports for student athletes, including cross-country, track, soccer, lacrosse, and crew/rowing. With our strong commitment to financial aid, an independent school tuition is affordable.