Traditions are the heart of a school like ours; meaningful events that tie us all together year to year. One of my greatest pleasures is the tradition of graduation day. The day is built on many parts, beginning when the teachers gather to create a poster about each of the graduates; the 5th graders prepare to honor the sixth graders at the annual breakfast; the breakfast itself where families enjoy hearing each graduate honored by the teachers; and finally the actual graduation ceremony itself with the video of the graduates and the honor of gifting the traditional baskets to each child. This year, I will have had the pleasure of honoring 118 graduates over my nine years as the Head of Wilmington Montessori School. Two of them have been my own sons – Brian and Gregory.
Perhaps this day is so important to me because it represents all that we stand for as a school community. It is truly about the children but also about the families who have worked so closely with the teachers to raise them to be the confident young people we are all proud of. There will be many more proud moments in the lives of these young people and their families – graduation from high school and college to name a few. However, for each of these children, Wilmington Montessori is their foundation, some of them having been in the school since they were a year old. Each of them knows that Wilmington Montessori is a unique school where strong relationships between teachers, friends, and families will always keep them connected.
This is a day to enjoy who these children have become and to wonder where the paths ahead will lead them. Maria Montessori understood that children need to truly be children if they are to become strong adults. Our students have been given the gift of childhood. As a result they are young people who are inquisitive about the world, who seek challenges for themselves, and who know that they can not only talk about problems, but are empowered to do something about those problems. They are not afraid to try out new ideas. They have learned to be true to themselves and to respect each other’s choices. We know from the graduates before them, that it is these gifts - empowerment, respect, and the confidence to be true to themselves - that differentiates these children from other children. It is what allows them to look at problems from many angles, explore other’s viewpoints, and creatively imagine solutions to challenges; skills that are time and again being identified as the skills of our future.
Graduation is a day of celebration for the graduates and their families as well as the entire school community. I hope that you will join us in the gym on June 4th to become a part of the graduate tradition. We have much to be proud of.