On June 7, Lowell graduated the Class of 2019. The ceremony in the gym featured speeches by all the graduates and performances by the Concert Band conducted by Mike Woods and two additional student bands, Zio and Cherry Rose, directed by Brian Weber. Tracy Ballard and Ava Gorman presented very generous gifts from the class and parents to Lowell’s endowment funds. Head of School Debbie Gibbs, Middle School Director Kavan Yee, Board Chair Marcie Bane, 8th Grade Delta Coaches, and 6th and 7th grade students joined faculty and family to send the graduates off in style.
In his speech, Kavan described the Class of 2019 this way: “From the moment they entered this school, each student has used their voice to ‘help their communities and to right the wrongs they see in the world.’”
Kavan and Debbie highlighted just a few of the efforts of this “resourceful and dedicated” class:
Every day, they supported each other and celebrated each other’s accomplishments in the classroom.
They lobbied to add toaster ovens to the cafeteria—and then held a bake sale that funded the purchase of three, one of which they designated for vegans.
They made over 10,000 individual clay tiles and used them to create murals for the stairwells of activists who influenced or were influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King.
Beyond Lowell’s campus, they distributed water bottles to the homeless and advocated for free mental health care for kids in foster care.
And there were many more examples of the graduate’s action-oriented mindset reflected in the students’ own carefully crafted speeches. They expressed their gratitude, wonder, and joy, and they described instances of their persistence, determination, humor, and independence.
Address to the Graduates
Humanities Coordinator Natalie Stapert—who was chosen by the students to deliver the graduation address—reflected on the power of metaphor, love, and writing your way to “a new life.” Her remarks gave yet another perspective—quieter but no less dramatic—on the journey of the Class of 2019:
A few minutes ago, we sang that Garden Song again—the one we sing at every graduation and almost every gathering—and all your parents and many of your teachers cried…The garden song is not about growing flowers in someone’s backyard. It’s about you, and it’s about us.
You see, for all the time that you have been at Lowell, your parents, your teachers, and all the people who are a part of this wonderful place have been working hard to cultivate a garden of experiences in which you could grow. We made a place that was colorful and joyful and inspiring and safe. Then, we put you in this Lowell garden and watched and waited. When we sing that song, it brings back the memories of your time in the Lowell garden, like:
When we took you camping, and you were afraid because you’d never heard the wind at night before.
When we took you sledding, and you wished for a sled big enough to hold all of you at once.
When we put you onstage to be el sol, la luna, las estrellas, una llama, y un alpaca.
When we arranged an author visit, and you confidently informed the author, “I am a writer, too.”
When you brought Oreos to share on your birthdays.
When you won the soccer tournament, the basketball tournament, and the track meet.
When you came back to school with new glasses and new braces, and new brothers and sisters, new moms and dads.
When you broke ankles, arms, wrists, and legs the day before the big event.
When you couldn’t find the homework you swore you finished.
When, with a paradox of trepidation and confidence, you came out to us.
Every crocodile tear.
We remember. When we sing that song, we remember you, growing together in our garden.