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It's (Almost) Time for Commencement

It's (Almost) Time for Commencement

In just a few days, the Class of 2023 will celebrate Commencement under the giant tent that went up on Thorndike Field. While students have been immersed in final exams during the last week of school, there have also been plenty of moments of celebration — for all students — as the 2022–23 school year comes to a close. 

Seniors and postgraduates celebrated Class of 2023 Day on May 12, gathering, shovels in hand, for the traditional planting of a class tree, a legacy maple next to Holbrook Hall. “You all have impressed me a great deal with how you have come together as a class and how you have been there for one another this year,” Head of School Brian Hargrove said during the ceremony. 

As alumni, members of the Class of 2023 will return to their class tree during NMH Reunion. It’s also a favorite site for families to take graduation day photos.

After the tree planting, members of the Class of 2023 received their NMH Alumni Association pins, which were handed out by current faculty and staff who are also alumni. The ceremony concluded with students singing a rousing rendition of the school song, “Jerusalem,” accompanied by seniors Sofia David on saxophone and Peter Luo on cello.

Then, students picked up their yearbooks under the pavilion on Beveridge Bowl. There were lots of smiles as students gathered in small groups on the lawn in front of Schauffler Library to flip through the pages of the Gemini and sign each other’s books. Later that day, the Class of 2023 was treated to an ice cream truck and a slip-and-slide.

“Sitting in a circle with my friends and looking at past school events, reading senior quotes, laughing at funny moments together, and talking about our memories was a special way to reflect on our accomplishments and allow us to take these memories forward,” Meena Relyea-Strawn said. “It makes me think about all of the belonging I have found at NMH and how I want to take that forward with me wherever I go.”

Students marked another milestone at the Moving-up Ceremony on May 15. The annual tradition is an opportunity for all students to celebrate and look forward to what’s ahead — including their new seating sections at all-school meetings, with the Class of 2023 processing out of Memorial Chapel to make room for the Class of 2024 to claim the coveted spots in the front rows. As part of the event each year, students honor two adults at NMH who have had “transforming effects on students” with the Student Choice Awards. This year, the awards went to math teacher Dominic Zhang and performing arts teacher Craig Sandford.

In recent days and weeks, there have also been final music, dance, and theater performances, as well as athletic competitions. On May 12, athletes and coaches were recognized at the spring athletics banquet. On May 16, the school community was invited to the all-school picnic at Memorial Grove.

A few more celebrations stand between students and their diplomas, including the Recognition Assembly on May 19, which will include remarks by valedictorian Sasha Kracauer, and the Baccalaureate service on May 20, with a speech by salutatorian Oma Tasie-Amadi. The Chateau Dance, NMH’s prom, will be also held on May 19. Class of 2023 families and guests are invited and encouraged to attend to both the Recognition Assembly and Baccalaureate, as well as to a photo reception from 5:30 to 6:30 pm before The Chateau Dance — the bluff to the east of the chapel steps is a beautiful place for pre-dance photos. Families and guests are also invited to a Commencement eve dinner and dessert reception, as well as a lunch after the Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21. 

On the morning of their graduation, members of the Class of 2023 will have the chance to take part in a particularly special tradition at NMH: Students who are willing to get up at dawn can join Associate Head of School Charlie Tierney and teacher Greg Leeds to climb the tower to the top of Memorial Chapel for the chance to watch their last sunrise as NMH students.

Amid the celebrations and final moments, seniors and postgraduates have been stopping by NMH’s laundry building to pick up their graduation caps and gowns from staff member Kathy Schroeder, who spent about three weeks hand-steaming each of the 219 graduates’ black gowns.

“Congratulations!” she greets each student, quickly adding, “When you get this back to your dorm, hang it up right away so it doesn’t wrinkle!”

Families of former NMH graduates have shared a few additional tips for the families and guests of this year’s graduates: 

  • Take part in all the activities open to families during Commencement weekend. Even if your student says you do not need to go, savor the time on campus.
  • Wear flat or wedge shoes — you will be walking on grass quite a bit and it can be quite damp.
  • Visit the NMH School Store and the NMH Farm Store.
  • Encourage or help your student to pack up their dorm room.
  • The Recognition Assembly, the Baccalaureate Service, and Commencement will be livestreamed — share the livestream with family and friends who cannot attend in person. 
  • Relax and enjoy the ceremony — there will be a professional photographer taking pictures of your student accepting their diploma and posing at the bottom of the stage. Check out NMH Flickr for photos.


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