Graduation is the culmination of each student’s journey through The Studio School, and a celebration of the group of students that emerges. What is so wonderful to witness is the creativity, the inquiry, and the transformation of how each and every child, no matter how many years they have been at Studio, discovers all that is inside of them.
There was no brighter light than the beaming smiles of our entire community on Wednesday evening, as we celebrated the end of a remarkable year at the graduation of The Studio School Class of 2023. All our students, families, teachers, Board members, alumni, and friends, were deeply moved as we listened to our six graduates reflect on their journeys with poise and confidence, sharing the pivotal experiences that shaped them as students, friends, and human beings. As one parent said, "The maturity and self-awareness of the graduates are astounding. What a different world we would have if everyone could experience a Studio School education."
The three performances, by our All-School Chorus, Middle School Chorus, and by our shining stars, the 8th graders, echoed the hope, joy, love, and light we have all ushered in this year. The collective words of Ms. Mamis, Ms. Wenegrat, Ms. Rotter, Ms. Bennett, and Ms. Mabey captured how transformative The Studio School Approach is for each child and their family. With robust cheers and applause, the ceremony concluded with the traditional conferring of diplomas.
“There is much to celebrate as we endeavor to educate a generation of human beings who are well-balanced and embrace the incredible challenges of our world today with thought, ingenuity, creativity, and great determination. Each of us has contributed in so many ways to the lives of our children. Together, we continue to show how to create meaningful and lasting change in ourselves, in our relationships, and in our world. To know and have a relationship with each and every student, their families, and their teachers is a privilege. Ubuntu, meaning "I am because we are", comes from the Zulu and means that "a person is a person through other people." It is indeed our relationships with one another, and our individual contributions of soul, heart, and mind that have created the living, thriving being that is Studio.”
“It wasn’t until I came to Studio that I learned how to embrace all of the feelings that live within myself. I used to be like those Ancient Greek drama masks that are half dark or half light. I was happy or sad - energized or fatigued - present or on another planet - but during my time here, I have learned how to embrace the inbetween. I mean, we can all agree, there is no great play or novel without shades of complexity!”
“By the final page of The Good Earth, the main character’s life comes to an end and his legacy is at stake. As I stand here before you, I’m really proud of the legacy I’m leaving behind at Studio. I hope I am remembered in small moments throughout time, whether it’s a student reading my pieces in Silhouettes, or when someone takes out one of the hundreds of novels I loved in the Library. I want to be remembered as someone who grew to learn, and learned to grow, and underneath the surface, I always cared.”
“It’s interesting how, as I grew, the next steps in my learning became intimidating. From writing a sentence, to a paragraph, to three paragraphs, to an essay, to now this speech, I have met each challenge head on.
In English this year, we had assignments to read passages or poems by authors like Ernest Hemingway or Maya Angelou, and then write a reflection, picking an element of style that they used. I’ve taken inspiration from their unique writing styles while finding my own. I have been writing a lot of poems, so I wanted to add one to this speech.
My stream traveled through the forest,
Flowing and flowing.
It started before it could even remember.
It thickened and grew longer, traversing through the lively forest of New York City, traveling through different neighborhoods, sometimes hitting a dam.
This stream had been helped by other streams and occurrences - but now, it has to learn how to go by itself, with less and less assistance.
High School is the start of it, the beginning.
That stream, the one that goes and grows, is me.”
“The truth is, I’ve had many experiences here at Studio that have all helped shape me into who I am right now. When I was four, I could have never imagined myself having a solo in Chorus, speaking comfortably in a group setting with my classmates and with Ms. Rotter in Tutorial, or even playing an evil character in our Studio Players Production. I’ve grown from a cautious, observant child to a young woman who knows her mind, her worth, how she functions in any crowd, who she was, who she wants to be, and most of all, knows her heart. I’d like to thank every person who has helped make me that young woman.”
“An education from the inside out. What does that mean? Well, after eleven years at The Studio School, I think I might’ve found the answer. The approach that Studio takes to helping us grow is centered around how we learn, how we interact with others, and how we work. This is not to say that there's less of a focus on learning, it’s quite the opposite, in fact. The teachers find out what’s going on inside of us and use it to find the best way to help us learn about ourselves and the world. Ultimately, each student gets help with what they need to grow, and this impacts everyone in this amazing community, especially through the shared experiences like our school plays, Multicultural Festivals, Feasts, and Gatherings. I will forever cherish the time that I’ve had with you all here.”
“Studio offered the perfect balance of academic rigor, intellectual stimulation, and individual attention. Our son was held in the loving arms of a community that allowed him to appreciate himself once again. When it came time for Alex to leave, he was recommended and joyfully accepted to his high school of choice.”
“Studio provided me with an incredible work ethic and pride in my work. This was invaluable for me when starting a high school that had a very heavy workload. Studio allowed me to push through my work and do it to the best of my ability. I did it for myself, not for the grade.”