Roycemore was lucky to have two very bright and articulate students speak at the Middle School Graduation last week. With poise and humor, they made us laugh and cry while they reflected on their time here at Roycemore and what it is like to be a Middle School Griffin.
Keira: I’m gonna take a guess and say that I’m not the only person who was wondering if I could ever be up on this stage. It’s been 4 years… full of excitement, drama, and learning. We have grown so much since we were the newbies of middle school. Literally, I started off as a 56-inch chubby-cheeked kid with 1,000 questions, and now I’m a 65-inch teen … with 1,000 questions.
Marko: The entire world has changed over these years, and so have we. We lived through a controversial presidency, a pandemic we are still battling, and so much more. But we too have become better than we were, from procrastinating little 5th graders who didn’t know how grades worked, to the mature soon-to-be high school students we are today.
Keira: I still can’t find a perfect way to describe the connection between us. This year was quite a crazy one. Coming from last year, I don’t think any of us knew what to expect!
Marko: The things this class has been through, we have endured together. And, unsurprisingly, we came out better than we were before.
Keira: I want to thank this class for not giving up on each other and continuing to persist through tough times,
Marko: From virtually watching Mr. Stanley with a lizard on his shoulder, to actually seeing him in person. It was a huge adjustment. Our Eighth-grade class does many incredible things both in and outside of school.
Keira: Our class includes skaters, soccer players, musicians, dancers, artists, swimmers, boy scouts, martial artists, political junkies, book worms, TikTok connoisseurs, and anime lovers.
Marko: Students in our class speak many languages and their families come from all over the world. Despite our differences, we are one. Despite our distances, we are one. I remember hearing the news on March 13th that we were going remote – what did that even mean? – It was a really hard time. At first it was a “2-week trial”. Then it evolved into so much more. There now was a worldwide pandemic, and everyone had to adjust.
Keira: Many of our relationships have sprouted because of the distance we spent away from each other. The bickering and side chat didn’t happen on Zoom. We learned that life wasn’t the same without each other.
Marko: Roycemore has been a place of joy, humor, and love. I remember in lower school going to Sunset Park on the last day of school. It was carefree, and we could let go of all of our worries and celebrate with our friends. Thinking about it now makes me miss the time when we were so excited to do things away from school — but together.
Keira: In middle school we became more complacent. Sleeping in was more exciting than a field trip to a park. Now that I am older, and I have lived through COVID, I think I can speak for everyone in saying that the seventh and eighth grade Shakespeare trip to Northwestern was something we were ALL excited about. We loved being with our teachers BUT also enjoyed that they gave us independent time to just hang out with our friends.
Marko: Roycemore has also been messy and unpredictable – in a good way. Sometimes the days didn’t go the way we wanted them to. Sometimes it was out of our control, and sometimes we, the middle school students, were the cause of the chaos. Our teachers are THE EXPERTS at pivoting and making things work out in the end. You can throw anything at them, from dysfunctional technology to a pandemic to adolescent hormones, and they still make it work.
Keira: I can’t believe they still like us!
Keira: School can be scary. We have switched from being terrified of the Carnival haunted house and needing upper schoolers to guide us through, to now being with those upper schoolers in their cohort.
Marko: Roycemore’s middle school has changed. It has grown in size. Our teachers work together more often and our classes have become more interdisciplinary.
Keira: We have missed Reading Buddies with the lower schoolers and RAPS with the upper schoolers. We hope that the interconnectedness and relationships with students younger and older not just come back – but grow.
Marko: And most of all, Roycemore is us. The 8th Grade Class of 2021. We are each individuals who contribute to this school in our own ways. We’d like to commemorate everyone in this graduating class, starting with some new students who have joined this year.
Keira and Marko…
Leo has been our most elusive classmate this year. We already know that you’re an incredible artist, writer, and LGBTQ+ advocate. While we haven’t met you in person this year, we are super excited to learn more about you and your passions in upper school.
With his wise cracking jokes and his witty remarks, Lachlan has become one of the people we rely on in the class. He’s also really good in science and deepens the conversation every time we talk in humanities. I know he will continue to achieve in Beacon in the next coming years.
Eleanore just joined us this year—amidst a pandemic. After working with her in many classes, I appreciate that she loves to express herself and her opinions. She’s a very strong writer, and I’ve learned a lot from our shared experiences.
Otto, also known as the MOOSE, has “scootered” into this class and into our lives since he joined last year. Although a bit quiet, you can always depend on him to make you laugh. Science Wednesdays have been a highlight this year because of his inspirational dino facts. I am so glad we will get to experience high school together.
Emma has a gift of loyalty and empathy towards others. Her personality is so warm! My first memory with Emma goes all the way back to her shadow day when we were building our Rube Goldberg machines with Mr. Tain in Science class. My group was able to complete the assignment because Emma was there to help us. That’s the power of teamwork!
James is one of the funniest people I know. From draining half court shots when I’m guarding him, to showing me funny videos and joking all the time. He is an elite athlete and a great writer, and I couldn’t imagine this class without him.
Kees has a sense of humor that will never get old. He could get a dead silent room to brighten up within just 5 minutes. I’m scared for upper school, but knowing that Kees will be there helps me know that everyone will have at least 1 friend. Kees, you are amazing, and I’m so glad that we get to share the opportunity of being Eisner scholars together.
Nika, I met you in swimming and was thrilled when you decided to come to Roycemore, and I am glad that we are finishing eighth-grade together. You are really smart, and I am told that you have incredible style. You are one of nicest people in our class, and everyone looks up to you. I’m happy you chose Roycemore for middle school.
Even after knowing Isabella for almost 2 years, she continues to impress. She sings, plays guitar, acts, and is a talented writer. If you ever need a book recommendation, ask Isabella, because she is one of the most voracious readers I know. I’m glad that we will be transitioning into high school together.
May has a strong presence and a kind heart. Even though she doesn’t talk a lot, you can always tell that she is listening and processing everything that everyone says. She’s really dedicated as a friend, and as a student. We will miss her in the years to come!
Lucy is the person you want to laugh around. She marches to the beat of her own drum. LITERALLY. Her passion as a musician is very special, and her artistic choices are fabulous. I hope upper school brings us even closer!
Keira, my graduation speech partner, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to write it with. She is one of the hardest working and smartest people in this class. She is also a solid performer, and I am grateful to be sharing the stage with this Eisner scholar and friend.
Marko, right back at ya. You just joined our class this year, but you’ve also been HERE since the very beginning. You are a hardworking student and a highly motivated learner. Your transition to joining us was smooth, thanks to the mixed grade classes. Afterall, WE ALREADY KNEW YA!
Dave has grown a lot over the course of this year, personality wise at least. He’s funny, smart, and knows how to land a joke. Dave is a talented, hard worker with a slight obsession for Star Wars. I’m glad we will be sharing a high school experience and am able to call him a friend.
Aidan is always mixing sarcasm and brain power into his jokes. He never fails to make me laugh. Sometimes I feel like he has “psychic super powers.” When he asks a question in class, it’s like he’s read my mind. Thanks for being my “OK” math buddy!” // I enjoyed sharing classes with you, and I hope we can grow loser.
Jack is a person you can always rely on to be there for you. We all appreciated being invited to your Bar Mitzvah, and many of us got to celebrate with you. Jack is a super hard working student and a great listener. This class wouldn’t have been the same without you.
Alina is competitive—for school and skating. I’d like to call us best friends, but I think our relationship resembles something more like sisters. Alina, I think you underestimate yourself, you certainly underestimate how incredible your classmates think you are.
Hamza is the tallest person in our class, and my greatest wonder about him is how many pairs of shoes he outgrew this year? You were a great friend to me when I was a scared fifth grader being introduced into the world of Middle School, and you still are today. I am so glad that I will be sharing my high school experience with my good friend and Eisner scholar.
Lily was my first official friend at Roycemore. Similar to me, she is also a lifer here. Our class started middle school with me, Lily and Alina as only three girls in 5th grade. As our class grew larger, our friendship grew stronger. I can’t wait to see you bring that wonderful spunk to ETHS.
Conor has been sort of my “buddy” this year, as we have both had the same strange schedules and same classes. I wouldn’t want to have spent this inordinate amount of time with anyone else. I guess Conor has also been my “buddy” this year too. A full conversation wouldn’t hurt, hmm? At least we have four more years to work on person-to-person communication.
In Lower School, I always thought of Jano as the cool kid with the cool hair who I looked up to. He’s one of toughest people – Did you know he has been hanging around muscle cars longer than he’s been able to walk? He’s an amazing artist, and a really deep thinker. I’m honored to have been his friend for 4 years. I know you’ll show em’ who’s boss in ETHS next year.
Marko: The Roycemore community is full of amazing people that we will never forget– including teachers and classmates who have helped us to grow and mature into the people we are today.
Keira: Thank you to Mrs. Greene for never ever accepting our excuses in science. Mrs. Wunder, thank you for making tumbling the best part of my day. Ms. Griffin, thanks for guiding us through assignments when we needed assistance.
And thanks Ms. Hecht, for teaching us art lessons that were creative and fun. To Ms. Milner, for cheering me up after I freaked out over that 98% on a test. Mr. Tain, for not yelling at Alina and me when we dropped two glass beakers during the water filtration project.
Marko: We can’t forget Mr. Stanley. Thank you so much for being our cool middle school teacher who is awesome at playing the guitar.
And thank you, Ms. Finley-Odell, for keeping this school together. You have influenced our middle school so much, and We truly appreciate all the help you have given us.
Thank you Mrs. Floro for directing our middle school this year.
We also want to thank all the teachers who we are still getting to know this year. Thank you Mr. Mahlan, Coach Chanan, Coach Long, Ms. Erb, Ms. Redmann, Mrs. Leavitt, Ms. Sommers, Ms. Hilda, and Mr. Rivera. We hope that every future middle school student has a wonderful experience just like we did.
And finally, Ms. Wilson and Ms. Milner again! I exclusively want to thank you for helping Marko and me to work on this speech. You summarized our conversations, gave us ideas on topics, and even helped us improve with presentation skills. We could never have gotten this far without you!
And to you. The parents. Thank you for valuing our education, and seeing us as individuals. You sought out this incredible opportunity, and gave your all to support us.
We’ve been through a lot. But that is not going to stop us from being the good people we aspire to be.
Together: Thank you, and Good afternoon.