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Class of 2019 Graduates with 'Tools' for Success
Posted 06/19/2019 10:36AM

“What feels like the end is often the beginning.”

This Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences Class of 2019 motto set the tone for the eighth grade graduation ceremony held June 12, 2019. The joyful celebration was attended by students, faculty, alumni, family, and friends of Barnesville as the School marked its 50th anniversary year and graduated its first alumni legacy.

Four of this year’s 22 graduates started attending Barnesville in preschool, and two more started in kindergarten. Each so-called “lifer” presented their parents with flowers to plant in their gardens at home -- a long-standing Barnesville tradition.

Head of School Susanne Johnson shared student reflections about their time at Barnesville, saying, “When asked what Barnesville has taught you, your comments echoed the core character values that we work to instill on a daily basis: to be kind, confident, creative, and to be your unique self.” She concluded, “As you walk through the gym doors one last time today, I want you to know that you are undeniably ready for high school.”

As an example of that readiness, Mrs. Johnson introduced Chris Semancik, a Barnesville “lifer” from the Class of 2015 and the tenth alumni to speak at graduation. Chris recently graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, receiving the distinguished Jeffrey L. Jones Medal. While at Prep, Chris played Varsity Basketball and J.V. Soccer, sang with the chorus and The Prep Singers, and was President of the school’s environmental club. He is passionate about science, statistics, writing, and social justice and will attend Tufts University, where he anticipates majoring in Biology and eventually pursuing a career in public health or epidemiology.

Chris challenged the Class of 2019 to, “try new things and be open to meeting new people who may have interests different from yours.” He gave practical advice about picking friends wisely and using social media responsibly, “And always remember that genuine, face-to-face relationships with people, from family to friends to teachers, is the best form of social media.”

“Speaking from experience, I know that Barnesville has provided you with all the tools you’ll need to blaze a successful path through high school. Tools like an excellent education, the courage to go after your goals, open-mindedness, integrity, and a good work ethic will help you carve out your high school experience and to sculpt who you will become at the end of your four years. These are things you’ll need going forward and as Barnesville graduates, I know each and every one of you has them in your toolbox.”

Each graduate then stepped up to the podium to deliver a speech about their Barnesville experience, recalling teachers, friends, and classes that influenced their growth and prepared them for the transition to high school. The speeches are the culmination of years of reflective writing and public speaking opportunities.

Before the final set of speeches, Middle School students Ceci, Juliana, Kendall, Navene, and Sarah sang “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)” from the musical Hairspray.

Annual awards were presented to the following students:

  • Kupferberg Cup Award, for a 4th grader selected by the faculty who displays great character and leadership potential – Chiara C.

  • Board of Directors Award, for outstanding writing of the 8th grade required research paper  – Lucy W.

  • Jaralyn Hough Award, selected by fellow 8th grade students as a person of outstanding character – Chris J.

  • Sue King History Award, for demonstrated passion and aptitude for history – Charlie M.

  • Thompson Butz Award, selected by the entire faculty and staff to recognize outstanding citizenship – Lucy W.

Students crossed the stage to receive their graduation certificates, shaking hands with the Head of School.

Barnesville Class of 2019 Graduates will now move on to the following high schools:

  • Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

  • Clarksburg High School, APPS Program

  • Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (2)

  • Friends Meeting School

  • Middletown High School

  • Mount de Sales Academy

  • Poolesville High School (1), Humanities Magnet Program (2)

  • Richard Montgomery High School

  • St. Andrew's Episcopal School (5)

  • Saint John’s Catholic Prep (2)

  • Saint James School (3)

  • Whittle School & Studios

The Class of 2019 departed as alumni while students in the audience sang The Barnesville School Song: “As our loves go on, as the years go by, we will fondly look back on the days at The Barnesville School, where we learn to grow and share in so many different ways.”

Not to be forgotten, The Class of 2019 left behind multiple gifts: a sign above the gymnasium that reads, “Home of the Bears,” a Gaga ball pit on the playground, and a water bottle refilling station proposed by the Student Council.

Photos of the graduation celebration are on Facebook.

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.

An independent private school in
Montgomery County, Maryland
offering innovative preschool
through 8th grade programs.

Barnesville School

21830 Peach Tree Road
PO Box 404
Barnesville, MD 20838

p: 301.972.0341
f: 301.972.4076


We offer a vigorous academic program for students as well as engaging, hands-on learning experiences.


Our positive, supportive learning environment promotes imagination, exploration, personal growth, and achievement.

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