This weekend, we will celebrate the Emma Willard School Class of 2022 at our 208th Commencement exercises. These students are described by teachers and peers as "compassionate," "inspiring," and "resilient" and were the last of the current classes to experience a "normal" year at Emma Willard before COVID-19. However, determined not to be defined by the pandemic, the Class of 2022 is distinguished for its resolve to live out the full Emma experience, support fellow students, and sustain our great traditions, all despite unprecedented challenges and change.
We applaud you, seniors, and proudly welcome you as Emma Willard alumnae this weekend. Congratulations to all our graduates!
Meet the Class of 2022
There are a total of 93 graduates crossing the stage at Commencement
this Sunday, hailing from 13 states and 14 different countries. Rowan L.-M. is the senior class president and recently reflected on her time together with fellow graduates and their impact on the school:
"I am constantly amazed by my wonderful classmates. We have risen to every challenge thrown our way with grace, tackling the ups and downs alongside each other. This group is incredibly devoted to justice and community, ensuring that the Emma we leave behind is one where all can find a home. Each member of the Class of 2022 is destined for greatness, and I cannot wait to see what they do next."
In addition to their symbolic sisterhood, the Class of 2022 maintains the hallmark "family connection" aspect of an Emma Willard education, with twelve legacy students joining their sisters, mothers, aunts and/or grandmothers as alumnae.
Emma S. '22 with her family: Emma History Instructor Isabell Shields, sophomore Audrey S. '24, Jim Shields. Ashley Shields, not pictured, graduated from Emma Willard School in 2020.
The Places They Will Go
The journey to higher education begins early for any class at Emma Willard, and this year's graduates have had the benefit of the guidance of the Office of College Counseling throughout their time at the school. However, what is new this year is the leadership of Dr. Ashley L. Bennett
, under whom the College Counseling team has championed the idea of the "right college" being more about fit than simply a name or prestige. Students heard first-hand of the experiences of other young alumnae through virtual panels, took workshops on the importance of crafting their application essays with intention, and weighed non-traditional paths in the college-entrance process like gap-years and two-year schools.
"The Class of 2022, my first Emma class, will forever hold a special place in my heart. In the midst of COVID variants and social distancing, they persisted," says Dr. Bennett. "As we witnessed some firsts in the college admissions landscape, they persisted. They celebrated each other and consoled each other as the ebbs and flows of the application process took hold. The Class of 2022 is a class of artists, academicians, advocates, allies, and all-around game changers. The college counseling team is better for having them in our care."
Members of the Class of 2022 were accepted to colleges across the country and around the world, and graduates will now matriculate (as of the latest count on May 13) to 65 different institutions that will best support their academic journey. Hear about what a few of our seniors had to say about their college search process this year in this video
A Steadfast Will
As much as the Class of 2022 has outdistanced the moniker of "the COVID kids," they will go down in Emma Willard history as the last class to graduate from the school having experienced a full pre-COVID school year. Watching their successors meet the Commencement milestone and leave campus—taking with them the knowledge of in-person, non-distanced, mask-less events—this class became the stewards of the ins and outs of all the many beloved Emma traditions. They responded in what we now understand as their characteristic way: stepping into leadership roles in virtual morning reports, clubs, and events, all while maintaining a spirit of connection. Even while making the early, awkward steps towards a return to in-person learning, the Class of 2022 led the way for their peers and continue to uplift our entire community in everything they do.
"This year's seniors stepped confidently and kindly into campus leadership roles as Juniors, when we first reopened our dorms," notes Bridget McGivern, director of Practicum. "Supporting the extra work of living communally and valuing what was possible under challenging circumstances, they've embraced the simple joys of climbing trees and playing games of Bingo. They've participated in rigorous discussions about banned books, Supreme Court justices, and war in Ukraine. Through it all, maintaining a keen sense of who they are (individually and collectively) is the Class of 2022's superpower."
Send Off to Our Seniors
Please join us this weekend—whether in-person, virtually, or just in spirit—in celebrating and sending off our Class of 2022 to their next adventure:
Our Baccalaureate Ceremony will occur on Saturday, June 4, at 1:00 p.m. under the celebratory tent on campus. Baccalaureate will be the seniors’ opportunity to celebrate their graduation with faculty, staff, and students as well as their family.
Brick Dedication and Reception
Following the Baccalaureate (about one hour), we will host the senior brick dedication ceremony. This is a moment to pay tribute to the class of 2022 and the permanent mark they have made on Mount Ida. The ceremony will be in Kellas Garden followed by some refreshments in Lyon-Remington.
Commencement will be held on Sunday, June 5, at 10:00 a.m. and lasts approximately two hours. There is no limit on the number of attendees for Commencement and no RSVP required. The ceremony will be livestreamed and will be followed by a reception.