Rites of Passage: Lower and Middle School Final Assemblies
Rites of Passage: Lower and Middle School Final Assemblies

Princeton Day School families and friends gathered to proudly celebrate the 2018-19 school year last week, particularly to recognize the 4th and 8th grade classes that are "graduating" to the Middle and Upper Schools, respectively.

On Tuesday, June 4, the Lower School was in the spotlight at the Lisa McGraw '44 Skating Rink, for the first festive event in a week of celebrations that was capped by Friday's Commencement exercises. Head of School Paul Stellato remarked, "Yours are the growing shoulders on which we stand to peer into the future; yours are the curiosity and expectation that flow upstream to nurture the Middle and Upper Schools. Yours is the joy we strive so hard to capture in everything we do ... and so it is right to begin with you."

Stellato saluted the Lower School faculty, particularly four teachers who are leaving PDS––Radhika Bhatia, Erik Hove, Gabrielle Kyriakides, and Alexa Maher––and thanked Alesia Klein, who concludes her four year tenure as Lower School Head and will teach math in the Middle School beginning this fall.

"Alesia Klein," Stellato said, "has been inspired by the lives of the children she has served. It is no wonder they are so drawn to her, for children know the real thing when they see it."

The Lower School performed a musical program of old favorites as well as new surprises, from Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to Despacito, and of course, Panther Hat. The Fourth Grade shined with a medley of songs from their Superetta.

The following day, it was time for the Middle School to be recognized. Head of School Paul Stellato applauded the kindness, maturity, scholarship and engagement of the students, especially the 8th Grade:

"Our Middle School has never been larger, stronger, surer, healthier, more robust, or more welcoming than it is now. These things are true because of you ... (To the Eighth Grade) Active, engaged, inspired, you have taken very seriously your responsibilities as leaders of our Middle School, demonstrating commitment not only to yourselves but to your peers, your teachers, and Princeton Day School. You have carried yourselves proudly and surely."

Stellato also thanked three Middle School teachers who are departing PDS: Cindy Peifer, Paula Koerte, and Maria Delgado.

Middle School Head Renée Price delivered an inspiring address that recounted many of the highlights of the 2018-19 academic year, and called upon Middle School students to consider three questions: What are you ready for? What do you value? Who do you serve? Within the framework of these three questions, she acknowledged the achievements of the Middle School this year, and underscored the values students have exhibited, such as curiosity, empathy, humility, leadership and courage. "And then," she concluded, "as if all at once, abracadabra: you are ready for Upper School. It is right and good that these uncanny words punctuated the scenes of your 8th Grade Musical":

Right before your eyes
Marvel, as magic is on display
Right before your eyes
All might seem tragic, but then it's okay
Poof! A new surprise,
Right before your eyes.