Senior Sendoff 2019

BVR Class of 2019

Congratulations to the Class of 2019! 

The annual Senior Sendoff Assembly celebrates the end of classes for seniors and the start of Senior Experiences. From faculty speeches to student performances to the college wall installation, it’s a bittersweet morning of reflection and celebration.

This year’s faculty speakers were Danielle da Silva, Erika Charles, and Dave Ingenthron. Check out their inspirational speeches below.

Speakers at the Senior Sendoff

Danielle da Silva

My first day at Beaver was your first day at Beaver, too. (At least, those of you who started in 6th grade.) I remember walking into the building and thinking “everyone looks so tiny,”” while knowing how fast you would grow. My older daughter was a few months old at the time, and by the time you were in 9th grade, my younger child had been born, so I’ve been in this position to watch you grow alongside my own children (in many cases, you have as well — I apologize on their behalf for the singing along at the choral concerts – their rendition of High Hopes left a lot to be desired).

On the whole, all 85 of you have been far easier to manage than my two. In the entirety of the past seven years, I can only recall two moments when you have been upset enough as a group to collectively gasp in horror. The first was during the PSAT in 10th grade, when we read the instructions that required you to write out a certifying sentence in cursive. The second was when, as juniors during the college counseling classes, you realized you wouldn’t be able to read your recommendation letters.

So, I’ve written one for you as a class, using bits and pieces from your actual letters. Don’t try to guess, but parts of all of you are in there. Here it goes:

The class of 2019 plays all the instruments. They sing all the songs. When they take notes, they often annotate them with beautiful drawings. When they speak, it is often with joy, vigor, and passion. They lack bravado and are kind and thoughtful listeners. They are fashion designers, industrial designers, and botanists. Every one of them has written an original research paper on a topic of their own choosing, and every one of them will remember this process and product for the rest of their lives. Then can hold their own in any social situation, and are often the life of the party. But they are also introverts, cuddled in one of the many seating options, head in a book, face lit by the blue light of a screen. Sometimes, they are both of these things at once. They have a sense of fun and a voice. They make movies and perform poems, though some take the pictures and words in their head and share them only in two-dimensions, with pen and paper. They become other people on stage in a way that seems effortless and dazzling. They scoop ice cream, serve bagels, ring up purchases, are camp counselors. Little kids love them, and they are ready mentors, showing by both their actions and their words a path to model. Having grown up in the shadow of two horrific school shootings, they haven’t bowed. Instead, they walked out, wrote songs, organized, made beautiful and powerful things in the face of a system that sometimes seems set up to hurt them. They don’t stop fighting the good fight, even as they’ve dealt with loss and fear and hardship. They may be limping and injured but they still side on the sidelines to manage, to lead, and to cheer. One of them always has a Clif bar, should any of the other of them be hungry.

They aren’t good at everything. Fire drills are not a skill. Also, parking. (I put that in there before today, but thank you for proving my point.) But still, multiple faculty members describe the class of 2019 as “dreamy.” They are reflective, wise, and capable of accepting their own mistakes and those of others.

At the end of Toy Story 3 (sorry for the plot spoiler, but we’re not talking Endgame here, you’ve had time to see it. I’d also recommend you don’t go home and watch this movie right now, especially not with anyone else around, unless you enjoy lots of ugly crying with your family) the toys end up on a conveyor belt, slowly making their way toward an incinerator. It’s a harrowing scene, though you know in your heart they will end up rescued and safe. But they don’t know that, and even in the face of a terrifying unknown their instinct is to hold hands, band together, be a cohesive group right up until the end. The Class of 2019 is like this. They might not all be friends, but when things get real, they understand instinctively how to be part of a group, how to care about each other as individuals, and how to recognize their collective strength.

We could not possibly recommend them to you with more enthusiasm.

Erika Charles

Class of 2019, I started working at Beaver 4.5 years ago so you are the first class that I have seen all through high school and this year marks the end of my first experience as an advisor. So today feels particularly bittersweet for me as I adjust to life at Beaver without your class.

Sitting in the front foyer I often see and hear many things from students but you are one of the first groups to come to my desk and have conversations with me. You’ve shared frustration with 10 page papers, excitement about school trips, philosophical quandaries about the world, and goofy jokes. We’ve discussed how challenging the college process can be but how you were feeling positive and hopeful.

You are a grade that is hard working, motivated, empathic, and has never been afraid to question why. You’re always looking looking for answers, seeking the deeper truth and looking to be well informed. Each day that we’ve spoken I’ve felt like I’ve learned more about you as individuals but I’ve also learned about myself. I have found a greater quest for knowledge thanks to you.

I have loved being a first time advisor with your grade and getting to know you all. Over the last few months many of you have expressed excitement and nervousness about this new stage in your life. Not knowing what to expect but excited about all the experiences you’ll have. I know it may seem daunting but I’ve seen your class tackle many challenges and while it’s been scary you have always been willing to try new things and have given it your all.

At last week’s senior art show, I told my advisees that I hoped they were proud of everything they had accomplished and I hope the rest of you are as well. Your grade has many academic and leadership accomplishments but more than that you have become great young adults. I will miss our conversations about everything from the news and sports teams (New England and Midwest) to what happened in the newest Avenger movie. You will be greatly missed here but I’m so excited to see what you will do after you leave and how you’ll shape the world.

Just remember to come back and stop by the front desk and let me know what’s going on.

Dave Ingenthron

A quick Beaver trivia question:

What was the color of the carpet in the Bibliotech? Do we even remember the Bibliotech?

Seems long ago, you were all 9th graders …

The school has changed in many ways since you all have been here, and changed by you. I want to personally thank you all for bringing your positivity, plasticity, patience, and courage. You are what drives this place, drives the faculty and staff, and drives the change.

Okay, here we go, I’m going to do the thing where I read a quote and then tie it all in at the end.

This is called Zugunruhe by the artist Rachel Berwick:

“Zugunruhe is the term used to describe the restlessness and agitation that birds exhibit prior to migration. The phenomenon of zugunruhe was first identified and named by the German ornithologist, Gustav Kramer in 1949. He had created a birdcage with a glass floor in which he placed migratory birds. Through the glass floor he watched the birds’ increased agitation during times of migration. What he was witnessing was their need to go, their desire to migrate: zugunruhe.”

Seniors, it is time to leave, you feel it, you know it, it is real.  As the next month speeds by you’ll hear yourselves saying, “I am going to stop by Beaver, or I am going back to Beaver, or there goes my school”, as you drive by on your way somewhere, it will sound like you have left this place. You’ll begin to feel more like a visitor, less like a resident, you’ll wonder more about the place, and wonder how the place will change without you, it will, but remember it will change on a path influenced by you.

The school changed you and you all changed it, and this can’t be taken away.

You have opened doors for each other, for the faculty and staff, for future students, and now, a larger door is opening for you.

You will enter into a much larger bird cage, one that you all will be more responsible for. We hope that we have taught you to think and care for it.

Just in case you need a reminder here are some things you can do:

Clean up after yourselves.

Try to make less trash, and when you do, put it in the trash can, and put recyclables in the recycle bin.

Do the little things, like try not to drop food in the space between the serving dish and your plate.

Use all your senses, spend time outside, use your hands, dig in the dirt, dig in the sand, your hands are allies to your mind.

Look at how things are made, look at why things were made.

Look at the people around you, ask how they are doing, and what they are thinking about, ask if they want to work on something with you.

Look to help someone, let someone help you.

And look at yourselves, ask yourself how you are doing, and how you got where you are.

And when it is time to change, change

And when it is time to fly, fly

But keep to a bird migration pattern, and fly back here once in a while, the door will be open.

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