One of Willow’s most cherished traditions is our graduating students’ collaborative graduation speech. No single keynote speaker is chosen. Instead, all of our eighth graders work together to create one, cohesive speech that reflects what they have learned during their time here. Students work together to come up with a theme, then weave together personal narratives and reflections into their address. Hearing how the students’ individual and collective Willow experiences have impacter their lives is heartwarming, moving, and joyful.
The Class of 2023 chose the concept of “community” as their unifying theme. “Community is the theme of this year’s eighth grade speech and the essence of The Willow School experience,” eighth grader Piper shared to introduce the speech. “We are like the forest here at Willow, individual trees that rely upon and support the interconnected web of life on our campus.”
Watch the full Class of 2023 graduation speech below, and scroll down for more quotes from our graduates on what the Willow community means to them!
What the Willow Community means to our graduates
“Willow is special because age doesn’t matter. We all have formed a uniquely inclusive place where everyone is part of one big community.” ~ Rafe
Describing the warm welcome he felt on his first day at Willow: “This experience eight years ago made me realize the beauty of this welcoming school, where no matter the situation you’re always included, even on your first day of school.” ~ Collin
“Before coming to Willow, I always wanted to be a part of a community like this, but I never thought it would come true.” ~ Daphne
Describing the support he felt for his Talent Show performance: “That was the moment I knew that the Willow community would always be supportive towards me no matter what, even despite a mediocre guitar act. While we will make mistakes, the Willow community has our backs.” ~ Callen
“This community has played a key role in my success as a student and a person. I could have never envisioned myself as a leader when I joined in sixth grade, but with the support of the Willow community, I have grown into one. With this confidence, I am eager to take on the challenges of high school and beyond.” ~ Piper, Ethics Bowl Team Captain
Become a part of the Willow Community!
It’s not too late to apply for the 2023-24 school year. Select spots remain for our kindergarten and middle school. We also just opened up a new section of our popular preschool program! Learn more about how to apply here.