“As you bid this very special place farewell, be grateful and give thanks, because the best way to say goodbye is to say thank you.”
Those words of advice were shared by Aimee Egwudobi, Class of 2014, in her graduation address to the Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences Class of 2018. On June 13, students, faculty, family, alumni, and friends gathered in the School’s gymnasium to celebrate eighth grade graduation. The idea of “thanks” echoed throughout the ceremony.
Head of School Susanne Johnson shared reflections from the eighth grade class, “When asked what you will always be thankful for, you listed your teachers,” she said. “When asked what Barnesville gave you, you responded without hesitation saying: opportunities, confidence, an amazing school experience, friendships, and a community that feels like family.”
Mrs. Johnson then introduced Aimee, a recent graduate of Saint James boarding school in Hagerstown who will be attending Barnard College of Columbia University in the fall. She and her twin sister attended Barnesville for first through eighth grade.
Aimee shared stories and gave thanks for her experiences at Barnesville that she said shaped her success. A failed first run at student council, running from rather than toward lacrosse balls that she ultimately dropped, and bit parts in school musicals were all experiences she said ultimately gave her the confidence and determination in high school to be the student activities club leader, a two-sport varsity captain, head dance choreographer, and the senior head of her school’s chapel choir.
“I am still grateful and thankful for those at Barnesville who laid the foundation for my future successes and my privileged position today,” she said.
The soon-to-be graduates then each had the opportunity to reflect back on their time at Barnesville, standing at the podium to share memories and give thanks to teachers and friends who shaped their Barnesville experience.
“Barnesville taught me to do my best, be kind, and be a leader,” said Jack B. who will be attending Georgetown Preparatory School for high school.
Dyllan T. who will be attending Our Lady of Good Counsel shared, “One thing I learned is that practice creates confidence and confidence empowers you.” She concluded, “My hope for the Class of 2018 is for us to celebrate new beginnings, start new chapters in our lives, and remember how much Barnesville prepared us. This is not goodbye. I will see all of you later. Thank you!”
Each speaker stood under a banner illustrating a quote chosen by the class: "Chase your dreams, but always know the road that'll lead you home again."
Five of this year’s 18 graduates attended Barnesville since pre-kindergarten: Grace B., Della C., Sean D.,Jessica R., and Serena T. Each so-called “lifer” presented their parents with flowers to plant in their gardens at home -- a longstanding Barnesville tradition.
Middle School students Nina R., Juliana B., Katherine G., Zahria B. Ceci S., and Kendall D. sang “Wherever I Go” before the final set of remarks.
Annual awards were also presented to the following students:
Kupferberg Cup Award, for a 4th grader selected by the faculty who displays great character and leadership potential – Elizabeth T.
Board of Directors Award, for outstanding writing of the 8th grade required research paper – Sophia F. and Grace B.
Jaralyn Hough Award, selected by fellow 8th grade students as a person of outstanding character – Jordan T.
Sue King History Award, for demonstrated passion and aptitude for history – Jack B.
Thompson Butz Award, selected by the entire faculty and staff to recognize outstanding citizenship – Jordan T.
Caroline Butz presented the Thompson Butz award, re-connecting with students in what would have been her graduating class, having attended Barnesville for pre-k through second grade before her family relocated to South Carolina. Many other former students returned to campus for the ceremony to visit with friends and teachers.
Students crossed the stage to receive their graduation certificates, shaking hands with the Head of School and Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Barnesville Class of 2018 Graduates will now move on to the following high schools:
Clarksburg High School
Georgetown Preparatory School
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (5)
Friends Meeting School (2)
Poolesville High School (1), Global Ecology Magnet Program (2)
St. Andrew's Episcopal School (3)
St. John’s Catholic Prep (2)
The Class of 2018 departed as graduates with fellow students singing The Barnesville School Song.
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment. Our 30-acre campus is our extended classroom, and we integrate nature into everyday learning. Barnesville is certified as a Maryland Green School by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, demonstrating achievement in curriculum and instruction, community partnerships, and best management practices.