Merriam-Webster English Language Learners Definition:
a person who is different from other people in an appealing or interesting way: not like others: new, different, and appealing
This is a big week at Roycemore. The last week of classes for the 2018-19 school year. There are many celebrations of accomplishments for the year, including our Lower School Culmination Night, Middle School Awards & 8th Grade Graduation and the 102nd Commencement Exercises to recognize the graduating Class of 2019.
Over the weekend I was writing my remarks for a tribute to our seniors at graduation. It is a very personal tribute where every student is recognized in some way and honored for the contributions they have made during their journey as a Roycemore Griffin. As I pondered over their many achievements, talents and the variety of paths that lie ahead of them, I was reminded of what a unique and special place Roycemore is.
We have 27 seniors, five of them who have been together at Roycemore since kindergarten or earlier. They are heading off to 24 colleges in 15 different states, from Maine to Oregon, and from North Carolina to Michigan. They will be attending large public institutions, small private colleges, art schools, tech schools and Ivy League institutions. They’ll be pursuing everything from art and design to engineering, medicine to meteorology. And on the side, they will likely continue some of the activities they enjoyed in high school, from theater to martial arts, from tutoring young children, to pursuing photography. This diverse group of individuals–indeed ORIGINALS– has found beauty in their diversity and strength and joy in their uniqueness.
I have reflected often on what makes Roycemore unique and why the students who attend school at Roycemore thrive in our environment. I believe much can be owed to our small size, that there is a closeness between teacher and student allowing students to be truly known and supported in an individual way. The small size also allows our students to pursue many different activities. Eight of our seniors were three-sport athletes, two of those eight were four-sport athletes! How is this possible? Well, our very flexible and adaptable soccer and cross country coaches, who both coach fall sports, work together to accommodate all athletes who want to participate in both soccer and cross country! Of the eight that were three-sport athletes, they also ALL participated in our signature tumbling program! But that’s not all, six of those eight, either performed in the play or musical, or play an instrument. And that’s not all, two of those six are members of the National Honor Society and one was a National Merit Commended Scholar. The aspect of all of this that makes it unique, is that our students have FUN! They participate in many activities, they want to do well and perform well, but they do so without much of the kind of external pressure that you often find in college-prep schools. Now they work hard, no doubt. You have to work hard to do all of the activities that many of them do and, for some of them, also take classes at Northwestern University through Roycemore’s partnership with NU. But that pressure is pressure they give themselves, not to each other. In fact, they encourage each other. And they know how to have good, clean fun– even the week before AP exams! I know because I watched an impromptu volleyball game among these exact students the Friday before APs where they were filling in time while waiting for their opponents to arrive. Everyone got into the game, even a parent and the team manager! It’s a delight to see and I have only just scratched the surface of the unique and amazing qualities of this class. On Thursday at 4 pm, we will have a complete tribute to them at the 102nd commencement exercises for Roycemore in the Joseph Becker Gymnasium. All are invited to celebrate our newest Originals, the class of 2019!