On Friday, June 7th, seven students graduated from the eighth grade at North Branch. The ceremony included music, several performances by different classes, thank-yous from Charlotte, a goodbye to Shani and Regina, and gifts to the teachers. Each graduate spoke; several performed a musical piece. I was struck by a few things while watching the ceremony: these students are thirteen or fourteen, yet they all seemed very comfortable speaking in front of a fairly large audience. I think this is partly because of Friday assembly. Assembly is a regular part of the week at North Branch – half an hour each week that students get up and share lessons or perform a song or music. By the time they get to eighth grade, they are unusually comfortable with public speaking.
Each student also had very specific, fond memories of things that happened up to eight years ago, which is a long time when you’re fourteen! The graduates remembered things like: Sarah complimenting them on a block structure in kindergarten, watching Monarch butterflies grow in Natasha’s second grade class, particular friends they made in nursery and learning multiplication with Robin and Toni. Happily, each of these teachers was present to hear their former students reminisce. The graduates also had wonderful and funny things to say to their more recent teachers. It was all a testament to the longevity of the teaching staff at North Branch.
You can see other pictures of the North Branch graduation at Stephanie Gross’ website: http://stephaniegrossphotography.instaproofs.com