Laughter and tears punctuated the Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences Graduation Ceremony as each of the 15 graduating eighth graders gave a two-minute speech during the proceedings that took place on June 12.
The speeches are a Barnesville tradition and the culmination of the students’ years of learning the art of public speaking, one of the cornerstones of a Barnesville education.
Before the speeches began, the ceremony was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by an Invocation from Father Kevin O’Reilly. Head of School John Huber gave the Welcome Address, opening his speech by advising the students to “Get outside. Go outside.”
“Not now, hold on – let’s wait to finish graduation first,” he continued. “But as often as you can, be outside. You will be happier and healthier for it. I can’t promise you will be wealthier, but you will at least avoid spending money on game upgrades and online shopping while you’re outside and away from a screen. Use your summer to do something fun outside, and find a new activity to help draw you out. Perhaps bicycling, or badminton, or croquet. Whatever way you find to entice you to experience nature directly, do it.” (Read the full address.)
Nicole Prokopchak ’10, an accomplished Equestrian and recent graduate of St. John’s Catholic Prep, gave the Graduation Address, speaking directly to the eighth graders about success.
“Graduates,” she implored, “please take this piece of advice with you off to high school because it is vital to every aspect of life. There is no real “shortcut” to success in life. Success comes from trial and error, for it was the hardest for me to accept that I had to overcome the adversity of failure in order to succeed. I promise that even though there will be bumps in the road, the destination is worth it.”
The eighth grade Graduation Addresses then commenced with five students delivering their speeches. They recalled their favorite memories form their years at Barnesville and thanked the many people who shared their journeys and helped them find their ways.
The second and third graders performed When You Wish Upon a Star, with solos sung by two second graders, and then the 10 remaining graduates presented their addresses.
Two eighth graders then sang a beautiful rendition of Miley Cyrus’ I’ll Always Remember You, before the awards portion of the ceremony began, which included a new award this year, the Jaralyn Hough Award. This award was created in memory of Jaralyn Hough, Barnesville’s Head of School from 1984-2006. The award was given to an eighth grader who exemplifies joy, support and excellence. The recipient was selected by his peers.
The presentation of the graduation certificates concluded the ceremony. Students crossed the stage to receive their certificate from Head of School John Huber. They ascended the stage as students and exited as alumni.
Our graduates will now move on to the following high schools:
- Madeira School
- Miss Porter’s School
- Our Lady of Good Council High School
- Poolesville High School Global Ecology Magnet
- Poolesville High School Independent Study
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal High School
- St. James School
- The Siena School