The following tribute was given by Head of School, Adrianne Finley Odell, at the 101st commencement exercises on June 8, 2018.
And now, a tribute to the Roycemore Class of 2018. In my first year as Head of School, I feel fortunate to have had a group of seniors that has so much talent, so much compassion, possesses extraordinary creative and athletic abilities, and also—connectedness. This class of 23 graduates, will be attending 20 different colleges and universities in 15 states and one will be doing a GAP year! Leanne has been at Roycemore since Kindergarten, Alice moved from England to become a Griffin in 6th grade! Ellen came in 7th, Yunhan in 8th and the rest in high school. This class has musicians with tuba-playing Ben performing with the Elgin Youth Symphony, singer-songwriter- Alanis; and Kevin C. who delights us with his piano playing. Yunhan plays both piano and snare drum. Jenny plays bass and piano. Rebecca charms us with her exquisite vocals and Ry captivates us with his performance on the cello!
Our seniors volunteer and serve. The local library has benefited from the volunteerism of Alanis. Michael L. has worked in a soup kitchen. Our young EDP children love having Yunhan come to play with them. Lauren ensures the elderly can participate in church services through her volunteerism running the livestream for her church. Young children learn Mandarin in a local program thanks to Lily, Yunhan and Frank. And Ellen and Yunhan have led community service activities for all of our Griffins this year.
JST had students doing all kinds of activities, however Ellie, Lauren, Rebecca, Gisel, Alice, Ellen, Andrea and Jenny got to know each other in a whole new way through their travels to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands— an experience that is surely burned in their memory.
The class of 2018 has amazing artistic talents. Haddie is an accomplished potter. Jenny excels at creative writing and drawing. Frank likes to design rockets and airplanes. Michael X. planned to pursue science until he discovered a love for art and design and will attend art school. He, Rayanne, and Frank were recognized by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in the 2018 Congressional Art Competition.
We have athletes of distinction such as Leanne, Haddie, Michael L., Kevin C, Ry and Ben, Tatum and Jenny. Our seniors also loved working with Mrs. Wunder to tumble- including Alice, Leanne, Lauren, Kevin C., Ry, Ben, Ellen and Alanis. Kevin C., Alanis, Rebecca, Ellen, Ry, Alice, Andrea and Lauren learned that they loved to perform on stage this year in Les Mis and/ or Three Musketeers.
You’d think that our busy seniors had enough on their plate but several of them also held jobs in addition to all of these activities. Alice worked at the Little Beans Cafe while Gisel held a job at a Pizza shop. Lauren worked at an Insurance Agency and Leanne gave instruction in Tae Kwon Do. Ellen worked with a foreign language book distributor. MANY also earned extra money babysitting during the year. Other activities also engaged our students outside of the classroom. Haddie loves cooking and Tatum has her own baking business. Michael L. trades stocks and has started a business while also obtaining his pilot’s license this year. Ben studied frog embryos in a lab at Northwestern and Alanis is writing a book! Gisel, both Kevin’s, and Yunhan laughed together and learned to dance to K-Pop! These students have learned how to balance many demands on their time!
And the Class of 2018 is a class of scholars with Yunhan, Ry and Alanis leading the National Honor Society; Ben, Yunhan and Andrea providing leadership to the Scholastic Bowl team; and of course Ben Hurley being recognized as a National Merit Finalist and Scholar. And if you have any question as to the caliber of this class, take note… our 23 seniors were offered an impressive $4.4 million in scholarships over the next four years for college.
Clearly, this is a remarkable group of young people. You have been changed by your time here at Roycemore, and we have been changed by you. Your influence is felt throughout our school and we are better for it! Today, we celebrate YOU. We are proud of you, not just for your achievements, but for the special people you are and the impact you have had on us all. Congratulations Class of 2018!