Brooks welcomed its first normal slate of graduation ceremonies since 2019 this spring, as students, faculty, families and the wider Brooks community gathered on campus to recognize the achievements of the class of 2022.
The May 29 Lawn Ceremony gave the school a chance to honor students with arts, athletics, academic and general school prizes, while the May 30 Prize Day, saw the 96 members of the graduating class receive their Brooks diplomas. Each of the ceremonies, held in a large tent overlooking the school's central fields and Lake Cochichewick, hosted a full and vibrant audience. The energy was palpable; the mood jubilant; and even the weather cooperated with a pair of glorious spring days.
Head of School John Packard greeted Lawn Ceremony attendees by sharing his pride in the class of 2022 as it shouldered the goal "to keep being Brooks School" despite the necessary restrictions that the COVID-19 pandemic forced on the school. "While I certainly trend in the direction of always feeling a deep pride in our school, the work our community has done together through these pandemic-altered years to keep being Brooks School has left me especially proud," he said. "This class of 2022 has played a lead role in that effort, and celebrating their many contributions will be a lot of fun."
Over the course of Lawn Ceremony, three student speakers gave speeches that reflected the importance of the arts, athletics and academics at Brooks. Tri Nguyen '22 reflected on the ways in which he found comfort in photography following the turbulence of returning home to Vietnam at the beginning of the pandemic.
Kate Coughlin '22 spoke about the lessons she learned from playing sports and contributing to her teams in any way possible. Monica Mukherjee '22 centered her speech on learning to enjoy the Brooks experience beyond its academic rigor.
John Packard then awarded general school prizes before students headed to Boo Hoo Service — a student-led Chapel service that gives the student body one final chance to spend time together. Once the service was over, sixth-formers lined Chapel Walk in a receiving line to bid farewell to the faculty, the younger forms and, finally, each other.
The next morning, the soon-to-be graduates met for breakfast and to receive their rosettes and Brooks shield patches in the waiting room of the new admissions building. A Prize Day Chapel service followed, and then the Prize Day ceremony began under the tent at mid-morning.
John Packard began his remarks by talking about the ways in which parents and the school's faculty had guided the graduates to this point. Then, he conferred faculty emeritus honors on three departing faculty who have been pillars for the school through the years: Deb Davies, Leigh Perkins '81 and John McVeigh.
Turning the focus of the day on the graduating students, Packard remembered that the academic year began with an outdoor Chapel service that carried a theme of intentional community. The class of 2022, he said, rose to the challenge. "They have been community builders when we needed them to be more than ever, and it is important that they know they made a difference during a time when we were often disjointed and searching for ways to find one another," he declared. "Yet, this group worked at it and as we move from this year to next, we do so grateful for what they have contributed to their school's journey out of isolation and into a new normal of some sort that still lies ahead."
Before sixth-form speaker Shu "Franklin" Dong '22 took the podium with a moving speech about all the ways in which he found love and belonging at Brooks — and Packard awarded diplomas as well as special prizes to Dong, Lucy Adams '22 and Amy Del Cid '22 — the head of school expressed his confidence in the class of 2022's presence in the future.
"They will run at problems desperately in need of their energy and smarts and want to realize solutions," the educator elaborated. "They care about community and will engage in making communities they are a part of stronger and more inclusive. They will be unstoppable as they go, and how proud we will be of the difference they make."
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Building the Beloved Community
When students report to campus this fall, they will be greeted by a new dean of diversity, equity and inclusion: Reverend Terri Ofori.
Shining a Light on Spring Activities
Coaches bestowed afternoon activities and athletics honors during our awards ceremony shortly before graduation.
The Wilder is Back
Four students performed in the school's annual speaking prize contest but only one, Molet Otieno '23, was declared this year's winner.