Almaden Country Day School, a preschool through eighth grade independent school, graduated 43 eighth graders on Thursday, June 7, on campus in Almaden Valley.
After the pledge of allegiance led by student Miranda Beard, Head of school Dr. Olaf Jorgenson addressed the graduates and their families with some words about the difference between the ubiquitous “internet minute” and the “ACDS minute” sounding a clarion call to “make all their minutes really count.” Matthew Affinito, this year’s speech contest winner, validated Dr. Jorgenson’s advice by recounting the ways he and his class have been making the most of their “minutes” in classes, extracurricular activities, field trips, as well as their opportunities to mentor, contribute to their community, and build relationships. “But this has been no ordinary schooling experience. It has taught us about community and caring for others. It has taught us camaraderie. It has taught us to consider dissenting opinions and try to understand other points of view. We all have a solid foundation, let’s try to remember what we have learned as we go out and try to make our future.”
A unique and special graduation tradition, each graduate composed and offered tributes to every teacher who had taught them through their academic journey. The teachers also shared their favorite memories and highlighted the special qualities about each student in this especially intimate graduation ceremony. The school's graduation traditions also include a song sung by the Apple Tree-o, comprised of three faculty members. The song, "Wherever You Go," tells the students that parting is inevitable, that their teachers hope they achieve their dreams and carry what they learn with them "wherever they go."
"If they have a choice between an internet minute and a minute spent making a difference in the here and now, as they have in their time at ACDS, I hope they choose the latter. This is the life of life," mused Dr. Jorgenson. In the spirit of these ideals, Almaden Country Day School also gave a "Founder's Award" to a child who most wholly represents the ideals of kindness, service and joy, as originally established by Almaden Country Day School founder, Mrs. Nan Hunter. This year, Miles Olsen received the award presented by Mrs. Michelle Ahlgren, elementary school faculty member.
The new graduates will transition to a variety of public and private high schools in the fall. Head of Middle School Jeremy Adams cheers the class of 2018 on. “They are poised and ready to change the world for the better!”