On Friday afternoon, the Senior School Closing Ceremonies were held, marking the official end of the school year for the Grade 9-11 students. Among the ceremony highlights is the reflections – student representatives from each grade who get up and talk about what the school year has been like for their grade.
Below, we proudly share insightful, humorous and thoughtful reflections from our student speakers in Grade 9, Grade 10 and Grade 11.
by Radha Raina and Olly Parkinson
At the beginning of the year each of us Grade 9s were fresh out of Middle School. Some of us had never sat through an exam before. Some of us had never had mixed-gender classes or boarding students at our schools. The point is we all had something new going on for us and everybody had to find the courage and the spirit to deal with the change. I found new circles of friends and discovered how to be OK being alone.
Last year I would have said, “Oh yes, my grade represents Courage, Honesty, Leadership, Respect and Service.” This year, I’m proud to say our grade has represented compassion, curiosity, thankfulness, diversity and confidence. This year people have pushed past their boundaries and explored what it means to be themselves. Be it starting a rock band, getting a personal best in track, or performing well in the Pascal math contest – we are all champions.
This year I had a lot of questions. I wondered about things both large and small. I wondered what next year’s plans were going to be. I also wondered about how people had the commitment to withstand the whole 30 Hour Famine. I wondered what the musical would be and how I could take part in it. I thought about how I could get involved in sports this past year. For me, and a lot of others, this year has been like taking a passenger seat and doing the mapping. This year has answered so many of my questions and I’m glad I can say I have so many more.
Coming to the Senior School was not a piece of cake. Trying to navigate yourself around this school is not an easy thing to do but after a while you settle in and figure out your way around. I’m in Grade 9 – I admit I don’t know everything. One thing I do know is that people rarely find out who they are at such a young age. All the things we do at SMUS just help us on our path to self-discovery.
by Aysha Emmerson, Tony Liu and Samina Makhanbetazhiyeva
Today we’re officially finishing our Grade 10 year, which has provided us with rich experiences and preparation for life. Through the many opportunities SMUS offers, each of us has embarked on endeavors that have taught about who we are and what we value. We learned lessons that will last as long as we will.
Grade 10 is a special time: You’ve already had a year to get used to high school, but the pressures of applying to universities hasn’t really been placed on our shoulders yet. There are many opportunities at this school to do things that you may never have a chance to ever do again.
Coming to SMUS was a great opportunity for me in many aspects: academics, service, leadership, networking and more. The number of opportunities this school offers amazed me. One of my reasons for coming here was to broaden my outlook on life. Before I was a student here, I expected to find it challenging to communicate with people from different countries. But, I’ve realized that it’s not. All people are similar, but at the same time they’re different. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t matter which country you’re from, or what language you speak – we all feel the same. What makes us different, though, is that everyone here is unique. Every single person has something worthwhile to contribute to the world and it is very important that you never let others put you down.
Our grade is a medley of unique individuals with great depth and a range of interests. The experiential program has unified us through unforgettable experiences, beginning with team-building activities at Camp Pringle in September, followed by 16 afternoon expeditions, culminating in our final pursuit trip just a few weeks ago. We came to see our peers in a new light, established unexpected friendships and gained a widespread appreciation for one another, and the world. We are all most appreciative of these opportunities.
This year has been a whirlwind and we all look forward to continuing our pursuit of character throughout our remaining high school years. Wherever we take these lessons, we will never forget the people and memories that have shaped them.
by Rawan Al Maawali, Elsie Ojum and Jack Levelt
Our leadership community is structured by four pillars: Service, Honesty, Respect and Courage. Grade 11 students have demonstrated a magnificent role in developing the rudiments towards a luminous community. The school year was both prosperous and successful with many essential leadership events.
It began with the outdoor leadership trips in late September. Grade 11 students went on various trips from kayaking to hiking. Out trips were very significant, as the students explored new ways of leading and new relations with nature.
Spring Break gave Grade 11s the chance to participate in service trips in places like Nicaragua and Argentina. Service trips were influential and impacted students in the way they see the world.
After Spring Break, we had the opportunity to participate in the Diversity and Leadership Conference held at SMUS. It was an amazing event that enhanced leadership skills among the delegates. Generally, SMUS has enriched the connection between students and the four leadership pillars.
This year, I’ve made friends of all kinds of people in the school community, which is a blessing because they’ve shown me the world from a different perspective and encouraged me do things that I naturally would shy away from. And even to the teachers who put me on the spot and also dished an unhealthy amount of projects, I say “Thank you,” because I know it’s all preparation for what is to come.
(photos by Darin Steinkey)