Celebrating the Class of 2016
The WMS Class of 2016 (Left to Right)
Top Row: Maggie Lober, Stephanie Anderson, Ava Walsh, Marina Gannon, Charlotte Davey, Aniyah Barnett, Aaron Washington
Bottom Row: Kathyrn Farabaugh, Marissa Lane, Finola Mimnagh, Analisa Nichols, Daniel Ropars

Friday was a proud day for the Wilmington Montessori School community as we celebrated the graduation of the 12 members of the Class of 2016. 

The morning began with a breakfast for the graduates, their families, WMS teachers and staff. Parent volunteers, along with fourth- and fifth-grade students, decorated the Great Room, baked muffins and served the food. Head of School 
Lisa Lalama shared opening remarks, reflecting on the accomplishments of the graduates as a group as well as their strengths as individuals.
 
"What I've noticed, as you've spent your past few years in the 9-12 Program becoming leaders in the school, is that you are unique. Each of you brings something to the table and something that is different from your friends and family," Lisa said. "You don't settle for an answer. You wonder why and you look for more. You create your learning. Yes, you have these marvelous teachers, parents, grandparents, coaches and others to guide you, but you create your own learning. You seek knowledge. You yearn for what is possible. You look for more. You are not willing to settle. And it is through these actions that you continue to learn and grow."

Following Lisa's speech, Assistant Head of School Laurie Orsic presented special certificates to the graduates, describing their unique gifts and interests, which were carefully identified by the 9-12 teachers. Specials teachers also recognized each graduate by sharing lists of each child's distinguishing traits as they gave them the personalized graduation posters.
    
Allie Looney, Class of 2004
After breakfast, 9-12 students spent time signing each other's memory books before it was time for the sixth-graders to head to the gym for the graduation ceremony. Once the graduates entered the gym, Lisa introduced this year's graduation speaker, Allie Looney, who graduated from WMS in 2004. Allie recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master's degree in Integrated Product Design and, along with a team of classmates, was awarded a $50,000 grant to bring her capstone project to fruition. Read the full text of her speech here and look for a full article about Allie in our alumni newsletter, coming later this summer.
 
The annual tradition of watching a slide show of memories of each graduate throughout the years brought forth both laughter and tears from the graduates and their guests. The members of the class of 2016 were then invited onto the stage for another WMS tradition - sharing the poems they wrote, entitled "Where I'm From." Each poem was different, but reflected similar sentiments - the child's gratitude to their families and their love for WMS. These poems will be compiled into a book that is placed in the admissions waiting room - be sure to check them out next time you're in the building. 

"I'm from my time spent here at WMS,
everything I've ever known,
but only a chapter of my life.
Leaving I get ready to turn the page,
to enter the rest of my life.
I will grow,
but even as the book of my life fills
I will forever cherish my time here.
Unlike a message in the sand,
my WMS chapter will forever be there
as I see what chapters lie ahead."
- Marina Gannon 

"I am from WMS, from walking into a new school in
first grade and immediately being asked to be
someone's friend...
To skipping through the doors,
greeting everyone at the front desk."
- Aniyah Barnett 

"But most importantly, I'm from a place with a loving community and environment, where kids are encouraged to be themselves. I'm from WMS."
- Marissa Lane

"I'm from WMS,
from excited for summer, to dreading my final day here.
from the toddler room all the way through the 9-12s.
I'm from assistance by comforting smiles,
To telling jokes and making those smiles.
I'm from thinking math was too easy,
To nervousness on my assessment.
I'm from the hundreds board
To Khan Academy, and many word problems."
- Daniel Ropars 

"There are all types of stories in this world.
happy,
sad,
and magical.
Thank you Wilmington Montessori
This has been a truly magical adventure."
- Ava Walsh
 
Along with sharing their poems, Marina Gannon and Ava Walsh spoke about their sixth-grade trip to New York, where they visited the United Nations and attended the Global Citizenship Action Project (GCAP) conference with Montessori middle-schoolers from around the world. Aniyah Barnett and Kathryn Farabaugh told the audience about their efforts to raise funds and awareness for the non-governmental organization Room to Read. Through Spirit Week, a raffle and other donations, the class of 2016 raised more than $1,350 for Room to Read this year. 
 
Then, the big moment arrived - the presentation of diplomas!

As the ceremony drew to a close, friends and family members selected by the class of 2016 came to the stage to bring the graduates bags full of fun gifts for the graduates, who were then ready to celebrate!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this memorable day happen! We look forward to staying in touch with our graduates and finding out what the future holds for each of them.
 
Tomorrow's Leaders
WMS's newest graduates will be attending a variety of private and public middle schools, including the following:
  • PRIED: Program for Rigor and Innovation in Education
  • P.S. DuPont Middle School - Gifted Program
  • Springer Middle School 

  • Talley Middle School
  • The Grayson School
  • The Tatnall School
  • Ursuline Academy
  • Wilmington Friends School
Stay Connected
At WMS, alumni and their families are an important part of our community! Please stay in touch by emailing your news to alumni@wmsde.org, and watch your mail this summer for WMS's new alumni newsletter!
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