Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 21, 2012
Bay School graduates six students “to their world”
Clockwise, from left: The six graduates of Bay School’s class of 2012 “will leave a wake behind them,” said director Khalif Williams at the Bay School commencement on June 13. Graduates Leif Lyon-Miller, Will Entwisle, Abigail Frost, Hunter Morris, Olivia Bruno, and Karina Steenberg. The student body gathers for the graduates’ processional.
by Anne Berleant
The number six holds great importance, director Khalif Williams told the families and friends who packed Emlen Hall for the Bay School commencement ceremony on June13.
A building block has six sides; a flute has six holes; and a guitar has six strings. Insects, “the most common body architecture on the planet,” have six legs; honeycomb chambers have six sides. Six “is a sum of its factors,” Williams said, and then asked: “How many degrees [are there] of separation?”
He pointed to the six chairs on the stage.
“Tonight is the separation of our students to their world,” Williams said.
Olivia Hillevi Bruno, William McConnell Entwisle, Abigail Katherine Frost, Leif Ocean Lyon-Miller, Hunter Ann Morris and Karina Rose Steenberg “will leave a wake behind them,” Williams said, like all school alumni, from whom “we feel the ripples of their lives, here, still.”
The graduating students proceeded to the stage to join the entire student body in song.
Williams recognized Jan Emlen, the founder of the school, who stood up from the audience to strong applause, and gave thanks to Jack Frost, serving his final term as board trustee. “He allowed us to accomplish a great deal in a short amount of time,” Williams said.
Teacher Ian Chittenden noted that the families of the graduates, with no younger siblings enrolled in the school, “leave us entirely.”
Tradition at Bay School commencements calls for one graduating student to introduce another, and for each to speak of his or her Bay School experience.
Leif Ocean Lyon-Miller said he was surprised by the school, “not because no one uses markers or that we sing all the time,” but because of the teachers. “Asking a good question is thought to be an important part of learning,” Lyon-Miller said.
Then, in round-robin style, they thanked their teachers and parents by name, and their mothers in particular through a recitation of “The Lanyard,” by Billy Collins, which includes the lines: “Here are thousands of meals, she said,/and here is clothing and a good education./And here is your lanyard, I replied/which I made with a little help from a counselor.”