The Davis Academy celebrated a major milestone on May 30 as it recognized its 20th eighth-grade graduating class. The Class of 2019 consisted of 62 students, of which 43 are members of Davis’ Emet Society, meaning they have attended since at least kindergarten.
In a night full of inside jokes, reminiscing and laughter, Head of School Amy Shafron gave the opening remarks, noting that nine years ago, when many of these students were beginning their journey at Davis, she too had just stepped into her current position.
“When you walked through the door to kindergarten, I too felt like a newbie,” she said. “Fast forward nine years later, we celebrate the journey we have shared together from beginning to end.”
After joining the eighth-grade class on their recent trip to Israel, Shafron remembered some of the highlights from their trip, along with some of the more amusing moments.
“Here we are, back from our big trip, photos shared, laundry put away, memories solidified,” she said, “and yes, diplomas signed.”
Drew Frank, principal and associate head of school, took the stage next, and reflected on some of his favorite moments with the class.
“Tonight we celebrate the academic, personal, spiritual, creative, musical, and sometimes comical aspects and achievements of an exceptional group of students,” he said. “All of these experiences offered me a glimpse into the amazing young men and women you already are and the fabulous leaders of our community you are destined to become.”
While 2019’s class was the latest to graduate, a representative from one of the school’s earlier classes was also in attendance. Arielle Scherz from the Class of 2003 was the alumna speaker, discussing some of the changes the school has seen and some lessons that she keeps with her from Davis.
“As hard as it may be to believe, 16 years ago at this time, I was sitting in your place,” she said. “While my memories are so clear, I had trouble relating back to my 13- or 14-year-old self. … What would I say that would make an impact on my younger self?”
Her advice for herself and for the graduates in attendance was quite simple.
“Say ‘yes,’” she emphasized. “Say ‘yes’ often. Say ‘yes’ to the opportunity to make a new friend. Say ‘yes’ to trying difficult things. Say ‘yes’ to new experiences and say ‘yes’ to the situation that takes you out of your comfort zone.”
Scherz added that experiences, even those that might seem challenging during the graduates’ time at Davis, might help them more than they realize in the future. She referenced her brother’s experience of landing a job in the financial sector, thanks, in part, to his Hebrew knowledge from his time at Davis.
A student video presentation featured each graduate alongside a photo of them as a young child, interspersed with their answers to questions about their time at Davis.
Among the questions: “How would you describe your grade in one word?”
Four students answered that question with: energetic, spirited and loud, prompting laughs from the family in attendance, and as diplomas were handed out, there was little doubt that the class of 2019 cheered each other on with the same volume, energy and spirit for which they were known.