May 30, 2020

Inspiring And Preparing Our Community For A Lifetime Of Creating A Better World

by Jim Brewer, Head of School 

Throughout our school’s almost 30-year history, we have inspired and prepared our students, from kindergarten through 8th grade, for a lifetime of creating a better world. McGillis students and alumni know this well and our talented teachers continuously find ways to introduce powerful and memorable experiences into the curriculum at all grade levels.

This week, we would normally celebrate our graduating class on-campus with shared traditions. It’s become one of my favorite weeks of the year as we come together with friends and families to acknowledge this momentous occasion and the culmination of hard work and determination.

Of course, there is very little that is normal about our lives right now and this week’s celebrations will look very different from years past. However, more than ever, we need to celebrate our students’ achievements. On Thursday morning, we will celebrate our Magpies virtually during the day with an End-Of-Year Kehilah Celebration, including our Stepping Into tradition, sharing music and art by students, honoring our 8th-grade students, and more. Later in the afternoon, we welcome families to join us on campus for a celebratory Drive & Wave

To honor the Class of 2020, we will be holding a virtual ceremony over Zoom on Thursday evening, with students sitting by their families and sharing our Zoom room together. We will hear stories of their accomplishments, watch a video highlighting photos of their smiling faces from kindergarten to today, recognize their individual skills and talents, and charge them to go forward living the values they have learned and practiced at McGillis. Afterward, our 8th graders and their families will have a special drive-thru at the School for a special wave from their teachers and pick up their diploma. This official school act will be the final moment for this special graduating class, and conclude our 2019-2020 school year. 

Tim Campbell and I had the opportunity to hold Zoom lunches with small groups of 8th graders over the past few weeks. In our conversations, it was clear that what our 8th graders were leaving McGillis with confidence in themselves to be who they are as a person, and empowered to create a better world to live in. As a school that teaches about social justice and repairing the world, ending our year during such historical moments steals our opportunity to process the questions our students, particularly our graduates, are no doubt grappling with. But as we send our graduates off to the next leg of their educational journey, as we take a pause for summer and plan for the uncertainties of next year, we know these matured and prepared Magpie learners will bring their values to their new schools and make an impact. That is our goal - to have our students take McGillis with them and share it with others. This is what our world needs, and it will provide us with the hope that we will learn, repair, and heal. 

Congratulations to our Class of 2020. We are proud of you, and we know you will inspire and prepare our community for a lifetime of creating a better world.