Lower School Closing Ceremony 2019

Good morning students, teachers, parents, and friends, and welcome to the Lower School Closing Ceremony. It’s hard to believe, but summer will be here in just a couple of hours. It was another terrific year in the Lower School. Highlights include Peace Day, the Reading Rodeo, Field Day, our Wednesday Town Meetings, fourth grade C.H.O.W., learning about the salt marshes, the second grade Mommy and Me Tea, and the list goes on-and-on. I want to thank all of the students for an amazing year, and thanks to the teachers for your hard work and professionalism each and every day. Additionally, thanks to all of the parents out there for sharing your children with us at Gill. It takes commitment and sacrifice to send your children to a school such as GSB; fourth graders, please stand and acknowledge your parents on this special day.
Not only are we here to celebrate the end of the school year, but we are also here to give special recognition to our fourth graders. Moving from the Lower School to the Middle School is super exciting, and in part to recognize this moment each fourth grader will receive a book titled Imagine!. This unique book has no words—only pictures. From what I can tell by interpreting the pictures, it’s a story of a young boy in New York City who one day visited a museum that he had previously passed many times. While inside the museum, the paintings and drawings bring his imagination alive, sparking his own creativity. The story as is about adventuring into the unknown and finding an interest where you least expect it.

The power of a book without words is that it’s up to you to study the illustrations and add your own words. You will each interpret the story differently, creating your own journey through the pictures. As fourth graders preparing to move into Middle School, I encourage each of you to write your own story. Transitioning to Middle School is indeed a change, but never be afraid to step into the story and be your own author. Fourth grade: the Middle School awaits your creativity, your energy, and your courage. You are more than prepared for this next stage, so have the confidence to create a story that makes a positive difference. Congratulations to each and every one of you, and we look forward to seeing you in the hallways and classrooms as middle schoolers.

Before we move forward in our program, I would like to take a brief moment to recognize three very special educators who are retiring at the end of this academic year.

After 20+ years of teaching music at GSB in both the Lower and Middle Schools (and countless concerts), Mrs. Leigh Seibert is moving to Maine to experience new adventures—please stand and be recognized Mrs. Seibert.

Also after 20-some years at Gill, Mrs. Janet MacDonald is moving to Maryland. Mrs. MacDonald taught in both the Lower and Middle Schools during her career, and we will certainly miss her next year. A special congratulations to Mrs. MacDonald for receiving the Gill St. Bernard’s Teaching Chair of Excellence, which was presented at Commencement this past Sunday. Please stand and be recognized Mrs. MacDonald.

After spending five years with us—and over 40 years in education--Ms. Ginny Ladd will be moving on from GSB and spending more time with her grandchildren here in New Jersey. It was a special year this year as Ms. Ladd served as the Assistant Director of the Lower School. Among other things, we will greatly miss her lessons on manners, and we hope that she visits our Lower School often. Please stand and be recognized Ms. Ladd.

I want to wish each of you a fantastic summer. Summer is a time of freedom, fun, and food. Enjoy all that the season has to offer, and don’t forget to find time for lots of reading (and perhaps some math). Thanks for a wonderful school year, and we’ll see you in September.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful, and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.