Skip To Main Content

Class of 2024 Connects Over Traditions and Fun

Class of 2024 Connects Over Traditions and Fun

May marks the closing of the academic year at NMH. The calendar is packed with events designed to commemorate the year, honor traditions, and have fun. Last Friday’s Senior Day offered the Class of 2024 a day to reflect, relax, and celebrate their accomplishments as they participated in several time-honored traditions. 

delphi Lyra speaks at the ceremoniaa tree planting

As in years past, the proceedings commenced with a tree-planting ceremony. A morning blanket of clouds fortuitously parted as students, faculty, and staff surrounded a young beech tree and a patch of earth that had been prepared for the event. 

“We reside in such an amazing place,” Head of School Brian Hargrove said in a welcoming speech. “As you think about the thousands of trees on this campus, I want you to reflect on this idea: We all benefit from the shade of those trees that others planted before. Today, in a very real way, we pay it forward.” He encouraged the students to “find purpose in your potential” and to reflect on their responsibilities as they go forward. “You emerge out of this place as citizens, scholars, and leaders ready to go out and disrupt with intentionality and to do good work,” he said. “That's the challenge, and that's the charge.”

Brian H Hargrove speaks at 2024 tree planting

School archivist Peter Weis ’78 explained that the tree-planting tradition dates back to 1886 and that until Northfield and Mount Herman were founded the land had been farmed and was devoid of trees. “Tree-planting has long been one of our most important ceremonial activities and was a staple of the work program,” he said. Many generations of students have funded and planted trees on Arbor Days and at other ceremonies since the school’s founding, he said.

Delphi Lyra ’24 told the story of Memorial Grove Lawn, a spot near the entrance to campus where 69 trees were planted for students who left school to fight in World War II, never to return. “Choose to remember,” Lyra said. “By remembering, by honoring, we recognize our connectedness to a larger legacy and the sacrifices of others.”

NMH Fund Associate Director Lydia Weis ’80 offered some remarks before helping NMH staff and faculty to distribute Alumni Association pins. “You have now joined the nearly 30,000 Northfield Mount Hermon alumni worldwide,” she said to the students. “As this chapter at NMH comes to a close, a new chapter begins. We hope you will continue to share your journey with NMH friends, old and new, for many years to come. Wear your NMH pin with pride, and please remember to keep in touch. We wish you all the best for a happy, successful, and fulfilling future.” 

a student shovels soil to plant a tree

Tidiane Thiam ’24 was this year’s Spade Orator. Each year, a graduating senior offers a few words at the tree-planting ceremony and passes the spade to a rising senior in a symbolic gesture of hard work and growth for the coming year. 

As he held the ceremonial spade, Thiam offered these words of appreciation: “As we're approaching the end of the school year and participating in all these fancy traditions, I've thought of [how] hard work also can look like saying goodbye to your closest friends and people who've shared a lot with over the years. I want to say thank you to every person and every teacher who's been supportive, in front of the scenes and behind.” 

Students then took turns shoveling their own small bit of soil to plant the beech. 

After the ceremony, the seniors received their yearbooks, played lawn games, and enjoyed live music as well as Mexican food and ice cream served from food trucks.

“I feel like I was just a freshman,” Will Johnson ’24 said as he was waiting in line for tacos. “We love that there's a day to commemorate all of the memories that we've had … and to form more.” The tree planting was his favorite part of the day. “[It’s] something I’ll remember,” he said. “Especially since it's right outside of my bedroom window.”

More News