The Studio School


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.


At The Studio School, Graduation is a transformative moment for each 8th grader to reflect on how they have integrated who they are with what they’ve learned. 

Our entire school community comes together as we honor this occasion, with the formal presentation of speeches by every graduate, sharing their unique journey as students. It is inspiring to witness the creativity and inquiry of how each child writes and delivers their speech with authenticity, self-acceptance, and a depth of understanding. 

Year after year, our graduates show how they are prepared for the next step in their academic life with a strong sense of who they are, a mastery of how to learn, and a keen awareness of what it means to be a constructive and collaborative member of a group. They go forth in this ever-changing and diverse world with compassion and a sense of responsibility, making a strong impact on all those around them.

Studio students, families, faculty and staff, Board members, alumni, and friends joined together to celebrate an extraordinary year in our community and the graduation of the Class of 2024!

As the eighth graders stepped on stage, the collective joy and pride felt in the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space was palpable, as was the support and enthusiasm from our community Zooming in from our live stream at Studio and across the globe! Together, we listened to each graduate reflect on their journey, sharing the pivotal experiences that have shaped them as students, friends, and human beings. Their authenticity, grace, and confidence moved us all.

The collective words of Ms. Rotter, Mr. Cavoli, Ms. Bennett, Mr. Holt, and Dr. Jones captured the profound impact of The Studio School Approach on students, parents, and teachers, and the two musical performances—one by our graduating eighth graders and the other by the Middle School Chorus—resounded with the themes of connection, hope, and possibility that have defined the year. Amidst cheers and applause, the ceremony culminated with the traditional conferring of diplomas.

Returning to the school, we all gathered for a celebratory reception. The graduates stood behind their beautiful cakes, baked by students ages 5-12 with the teachers, and blew out one candle for each year they spent at Studio. We concluded the celebration with disco dancing à la Studio!

Speech Highlights

Ms. Rotter

Ms. Rotter

Head of School

“This is a school where you find your voice and are understood.”

“Good evening everyone! Welcome to The Studio School’s Graduation Ceremony of 2024. This is OUR Studio, filled with ideas, thoughts, feelings, and possibilities. We have a place to work within the structure of knowledge, concepts, and values, with freedom of thought and appropriate expression. While some of these visions and feelings can be such a nuisance, they help us know we are alive and we are on a path of profound and far-reaching learning and growth.

This is a school where you find your voice and are understood. This is a school where you discover you are neither alone nor the only one, and you learn about the give and take of relationships and friendships. To witness the process: the meltdowns and frustrations, the standstills and the triumphs, the authenticity and the beauty, is very humbling. I am in awe of the original, thoughtful expressions of your hearts and minds. I am impressed by how each of you have come to value your work, your relationships, and what it means to be a thinking and feeling human being.

At this point in your lives, the seeds have been planted and the concepts rooted, and years from now, whether it be in high school, college, or beyond, when you are out making your way in the world, personally and professionally, I know you will draw on the education you received at Studio, and connect with others in the constructive and clever ways you have shown.”

Mr. Cavoli

Treasurer, Board of Trustees

“We know that the sky's the limit for every one of you because you’ve been educated by the best.”

“The children that come to Studio are authentic and inquisitive, and become very engaged learners over their time here. The families that choose to send their kids here are similarly curious, intelligent, and creative. It has been a gift to be part of the Board of Trustees and help steward the School’s mission. It’s been even more of a gift for me and my wife, Julie, to watch our three sons, one who is graduating tonight, grow into independent, kind young men who love to learn, and who know how to manage themselves and work in groups.

Tonight, we are here to celebrate you, the eight 8th-grade students who are about to end your time at the School and continue your education at various high schools. The Board of Trustees wishes you all the best as you continue your educational journey. We know that the sky's the limit for every one of you. And we know that because you’ve been educated by the best.”

Ms. Bennett

Head of Middle School

“I’ve seen you break through barriers, reflect on your intentions and impact, and emerge more driven, insightful, and self-aware.”

"I have to say, it’s been incredible to appreciate all of the years and the growth that unfolds from birth to the moment in life we are here, celebrating tonight. I cherish being an educator at The Studio School and working closely with all of you—parents, teachers, and, of course, the children—on this winding road between childhood and emerging adulthood. Time and again, I've witnessed the importance of students embracing this period of change, recognizing that every interaction, conversation, assignment, and project holds the power to deepen their thinking, question assumptions, develop their own ideas and arguments, persist, and problem-solve, all while fostering connections with themselves and others.

Linus, Morning-Star, Julian, Payson, Thomas, Daniel, Chloe, and Rodney, it has been a profound gift to witness your growth. Throughout this year, I've seen each of you break through your own barriers, reflect on your intentions and impact, and emerge more driven, insightful, and self-aware. As you move on to high school, remember that you carry the strength, wisdom, and courage you've cultivated here. Your time at Studio has equipped you with the tools to confront challenges, celebrate successes, and pursue your dreams with passion and resilience."

Mr. Holt & Dr. Jones

Parents of Graduates

“The teachers at Studio have an uncanny ability to cut through the gray matter and see everything crystal clear.”

“Together, we are honored to represent the proud parents of the Class of 2024 with a gift to the Graduate Fund. While this gift to the school is a financial gift, it carries with it a deep appreciation and unending gratitude for Ms. Rotter, the school that she has helmed for 39 years, the educational philosophy she has nurtured and shaped so carefully and exquisitely, the deeply caring and attentive teachers and staff she has made such an extensive part of all of our lives to support us, parents, on every possible level. We want to recognize how Studio gives us, as parents, an education from the inside out. The relationship between teacher and parent has been so important to our growth. The teachers at Studio have an uncanny ability of cutting through the gray matter and making everything crystal clear. This support and guidance is not on an educational level, it’s on every level.”


“There's beauty in getting older and pain in leaving a place pivotal to my growth.”

“I’m going to miss being in a place that has allowed me to be myself, and pushed me to figure out who that person really is. I never understood all of the conversations, self-reflection, and talking, until I began to work on this speech. Those conversations were so important in helping me know myself as I move forward into my future.

Life is filled with both beauty and pain. There is beauty in me moving on and getting older, and the pain is in leaving a place that has been pivotal to my growth. The only thing bringing me comfort in this moment is knowing that all that I’ve learned is coming with me.”

Morning-Star will be attending Rudolf Steiner in the fall.


“I can't wait to continue to feed the fire of my mind.”

“At Studio, I learned to see the adventure of working and I discovered that my mind and intellect are unique. When I approach a new project, my first step is to let my thoughts wander. I sit back, and my mind, in lightning speed, shuffles through different ideas, one leading to the next. At some point, a lightning bulb goes off, as I make connections and my ideas sharpen. If there’s a new concept I’m learning, I will pour my whole heart into it and won't stop until I am satisfied with a high enough level of knowledge and skill. Throughout my time here, this has led me to create original and thoughtful pieces in any of the classes I participate in, whether 3D-modeling a new project, building a computer for Tech Savvy, reverse foiling an algebra problem, writing an analytic essay or strategizing in a game of Catan. I can't wait to continue to feed the fire of my mind and go on to apply it to higher-level courses in academics and art in high school. When I care about something, I put my soul into it, and my determination propels me forward.”

Julian will be attending The Packer Collegiate Institute in the fall.


“I’ve loved assignments that don’t require us to find one specific answer.”

“We live in an interesting world now, don’t we? People have such strong ideas and opinions. As I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed that others can have a really difficult time accepting that we can each have different views. I think this is one of the gifts of having grown up attending The Studio School. I’ve loved that the assignments we are given often don’t require us to find one specific answer. Instead, we are asked to articulate the way we, as individuals, see it and engage in conversations. We’re taught how to listen and respect one another, especially in Tutorial classes. Even though I felt like I was an archeologist deciphering hieroglyphics sometimes, Ms. Rotter’s open-ended questions, paired with clear instructions in her assignments, challenged me to formulate my own ideas.

Thinking back on it, all of the teachers I’ve had throughout my time here have been the foundation of my intellectual accomplishments. As a 14-year-old, I can look back and see how each one wanted what was best for me. Sometimes this meant pushing me past what I thought was my best work, as they knew what I was truly capable of when I didn’t.”

Payson will be attending Morristown-Beard School in the fall.


“I went from caring about finishing an assignment to prioritizing quality over quantity.”

“As I entered middle school, I went from just caring about finishing an assignment, to engaging and wanting to produce the best product I could, prioritizing quality over quantity. In the past, I had quickly written my assignments without planning or brainstorming. I had not been open to accepting help and wanted to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. However, at some point, I realized that I couldn’t do it all on my own, and there’s nothing I hate more than not knowing how to do something. So, I began asking for help. To be honest, I felt relieved. I saw how taking in constructive criticism and taking time on my work produced a more finished polished product that had thought and care.

In 7th grade English class, we were working on analyzing authors' writing styles and I realized that every person has a style, and now I had to find mine. I kept writing, thinking about my word choice, and the more I revised each draft, my ideas became more clear. By the end of the year, I felt like I had found my style, and since it was unique to me, there was no way to measure it against anyone else’s.”

Thomas will be attending Fordham Preparatory School in the fall.


“I will never take for granted having a place, like Studio, that feels like home.”

“Life is like a racetrack. It has twists and turns. Some turns are long sweeping corners, some are hairpins, others chicanes, or bus stops, some are straightaways, and sometimes, there are crashes, failures, and penalties. My journey in life has been like traveling on a track and I’m just now on the 14th lap of however many there will be for me. Along the way, I've been able to speed along and I’ve had to stop and think like a driver at a pit stop. I’ve had successes and failures, I’ve had moments where I feel like I’ve done something to be disqualified, and moments where I’ve crossed the line to a waving checkered flag.

Recently, I was asked what would happen if I stopped racing. I think I’d have to fully face and process everything happening inside and outside of me. The hardest part of writing this speech has been letting myself do this. If I keep on racing, maybe I don’t have to. There’s of course satisfaction that I’m progressing, and moving up in the ranks of life, and then there’s the loss that I won’t see all of you again every day. No matter how hard life is, or how frustrating things become, I will never take for granted having a place, like Studio, that feels like home. I hope all of us in this audience continue to find places we cherish.”

Daniel will be attending Léman Preparatory School Manhattan in the fall.


“I’ll always be in the process of finding out who I am, who I want to be, and who I will be.”

“I hate the process of getting there. There: it could be a solution for a math problem, a finished script, a completed drawing, or an end to a story- getting “there”, no matter what it is, is the hardest part. It’s kind of like trying to draw a map of a place you don’t know. It can be difficult, tedious, or sometimes downright infuriating, but most of the time, the end product is worth it to go through all the trouble. However, the process of my eleven years at Studio didn’t just give me the final product, it gave me so many lessons and memories, friends, and experiences along with it.

In this process, I’ve found ways to keep pushing, and keep working until it gets to where I need it to be. I’ve learned how to work with all kinds of people, with all kinds of ideas and dreams and thoughts, just like me. I’ve somehow made it through middle school, and I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I think I am. I’ll always be in a process. Finding out who I am, who I want to be, and who I will be, will never truly end. Or, well, it will but you know what I mean. But right now? The process of my time at Studio is over. It took 11 years, 11 years of learning and growing and dreaming and waiting, but I am here.”

Chloe will be attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art, & Performing Arts in the fall.


“Every challenge is an invitation to build something extraordinary.”

“When I look back on my time at Studio, I see more than just the classroom and workbooks; I see a playground for the mind, a place where curiosity is celebrated, and where every challenge is an invitation to build something extraordinary. What started as a love of Legos in elementary school evolved into a passion for trigonometry. My interest in writing stories has grown into being an avid reader of Steinbeck and Twain. I’ve grown from a keen observer of the world to someone deeply fascinated by astronomy and the possibilities beyond our universe. Most of all, I’ve come to realize that I can learn almost anything I desire if I set my mind to it.

As I prepare to bid farewell to familiar faces and routines, I carry with me the lessons learned and the memories cherished. They serve as the foundation upon which I will build new relationships and navigate unfamiliar territories. While the road ahead may be uncertain, I am approaching it with optimism and the knowledge that I am capable of forming meaningful connections and creating a supportive community wherever I go.”

Rodney will be attending Léman Preparatory School Manhattan in the fall.

The Class of 2024 were accepted to:
Brooklyn Friends School
Brooklyn Technical High School*
Calhoun School
Gill St. Bernard's School**
Grace Church School
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts*
Fordham Preparatory School
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
High School of Art and Design
Léman Manhattan Preparatory School
Loyola School
Morristown-Beard School**
Rudolf Steiner School
The Packer Collegiate Institute
Trevor Day School
United Nations International School

*Specialized Public School in New York City
**Independent School in New Jersey


“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.”