We’re starting to say goodbye to the Class of 2024

Apr 12 2024

We’re starting to say goodbye to the Class of 2024

“It is when we are in transition that we are most completely alive.”
-William Bridges

Students posing group shot

Class of 2024 on Valentine’s Day 2023

A few weeks ago, we began the process of saying goodbye to seniors as they prepare to leave Keystone and move on to college. On a lovely Monday evening, seniors donned their graduation robes, their mortarboards, and their National Honor stoles and posed for pictures on the front porch of Founders Hall. In many cases, parents helped their children adjust their robes and hats.

Having gone through something similar with our own children, I could relate to the emotional maelstrom children and parents experience as they begin this transition. We’re proud of all our children have accomplished, and we’re excited for them; however, we also realize that we’re approaching the end of one phase of our lives and commencing another.

Parents and students will ride this emotional rollercoaster many times in the next few months. Events like Prom, College Admissions Day, Senior Dinner and others culminate with Graduation, and each one reminds parents that time is fleeting. On some days, children can’t wait to leave; on others, they are frightened at the thought of leaving home. Similarly, at times, parents will wish for one more year with their children; at other times, they’re more than ready for their children to get going. By the end of the summer, everyone may feel it’s time. There’s an old adage that “by the time children are ready to go, parents are ready for them to leave.”

Director of College Counseling Sara Christiansen and Counselor Dr. Erica Shapiro commenced senior year with a parent meeting where they discussed the things to look out for in this period of ups and downs. In the last couple of years, the school has provided parents with an excellent book, “Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years” by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Levy Treeger. This may be the best book available in helping parents navigate the road to college.

As with their predecessors, the members of the Class of 2024 have been accepted to the country’s finest colleges and universities, and they are more than well-prepared to take on whatever comes their way. Again and again, alumni tell faculty/staff at Keystone how ready they were for the challenges of college. While this is good to know, each child and parent must experience this change for the first time, and all of the preparation in the world cannot eliminate the combination of feelings that result.

In the same way that prospective parents may have all read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and listened to advice on bringing up children, there’s only so much we can do to prepare ourselves for parenting. Like other things in life, it’s something you cannot truly understand until you’re actually doing it.

Similarly for our students. They attend alumni day annually, they read the guidebooks, take the virtual and real tours, and they may talk with current students at the college they have chosen to attend. Nevertheless, they must have their own first times, whether it’s sleeping in a dorm with a snoring roommate, sitting in their first 8:00 AM college lecture class, going with friends to their first college party, and many other collegiate rites of passage.

Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed lunch with seniors in small groups. Some of these students have been at Keystone since kindergarten and some joined as recently as this year. To encourage honesty and a free-flowing exchange, we agree that our conversation stays in the room, so I can’t get into specifics. What I can say is that these seniors offer thoughtful insights filled with affirmation and constructive criticism that will truly help us become a better school, and delightful conversations that I will cherish long after they graduate.

Our graduating seniors are more than ready for college. They are astute, their thought processes are sophisticated and well-reasoned, they engage in dialogue, and they have a skill all too absent in today’s world-they listen well and they disagree in a respectful and civil fashion. The college communities the members of the Class of 2024 join will be richer and more dynamic for their presence. We will miss these outstanding young adults, but we can be happy for them and count our blessings that we had this time with them.

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