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The Class of 2024 waits to be greeted by faculty

Bright blue skies and sunshine graced Mount Ida as Emma Willard School celebrated the final events of the school year: Baccalaureate and the 210th Commencement. Musical selections, speakers, and citations shared throughout the weekend highlighted the special bond shared by this exceptional class.

Baccalaureate, a poignant time of reflection, set the stage for the weekend, providing an opportunity for students, faculty, and parents to share their well-wishes and hopes for the Class of 2024 as they leave Mount Ida. Junior Class President Carly H. ’25 and parent Bethany Saltman P’24 joined Lahari Lingham ’24 and retiring Mathematics Instructor John Ball in offering their encouraging words. The Semiquavers and Choir, accompanied by Robyn Wu ’24, offered meaningful songs to mark the moment, and the class exited to the strains of “Ideo, Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” the recessional from their Revels performance.

Baccalaureate 2024

The Class of 2024 processes into the Baccalaureate service


Following the service, the crowd moved to the inner campus for the dedication of the bricks bearing the names of the Class of 2024 along the pathway in Kellas Garden. Head of School Jenny Rao announced that a remarkable $52,407 thanks to the leadership of many and the participation of over 75% of the graduating families. We were able to place a brick for EVERY student in the Class of 2024. The brick pathway dedicated in honor of the Class of 2024 is an enduring reminder of their mark on our school and each other. When our graduates return to campus as alums, we hope they will visit this walkway as they recall their experiences at Emma. 

Brick Dedication 2024

Families search for their graduate's name on the brick pathway


The crescendo to the weekend’s activities was the 210th Commencement ceremony, where families, friends, and faculty gathered to witness the finale for the remarkable Class of 2024. On the stage with Head of School Jenny Rao was Chair of the Board of Trustees Megan Toohey Scremin ’00, Alumnae Association Council President (AAC) Margaret ‘Maggie’ Bownes Johnson ’83, our distinguished alumna speaker Rear Admiral (RET) Dr. Estella Jones ’76, and Assistant Head of School Dr. Meredith Legg.

Platform party for Commencement 2024

Dr. Jones, Dr. Legg, Ms. Rao, Ms. Scremin, and Ms. Johnson made up the platform party for the 210th Commencement


Dr. Jones shared her incredible journey from Emma Willard School that led her to becoming the first Black female veterinarian to achieve the rank of admiral in the United States Public Health Service. “There will be times in life when your heart will soar above the clouds finding pride in your accomplishments, along with all the wonders that life can offer,” she began. Dr. Jones shared her reflections with the hope that they would encourage the Class of 2024 to “listen to those people who inspire you to work hard, do your best, and follow your dreams.” Sprinkled throughout her talk were excerpts from the song, “The Rose,” a favorite that she loved to sing with her sister, Josetta Rose Jones ’73, which seemed especially poignant as each graduate held a red rose in their hands. “Emma Willard has planted the seeds for you to find and grow past all the obstacles you unearth,” Dr. Jones declared.

Dr. Jones commencement address

Dr. Jones addresses the graduates and their families


Following the Commencement address, Board of Trustees Chair Megan Toohey Scremin ’00 presented the Jameson Adkins Baxter Award to Maryam S., who has consistently exhibited the requisite qualities of integrity, discipline, and commitment to education. Maggie Bownes Johnson ’83, president of the AAC, then presented the Clementine Miller Tangeman Award to Ceci Christian, highlighting her spirit of enthusiasm, warm nature, kind heart, and bright mind.

Maryam S. received the Jameson Adkins Baxter Award

Maryam S. receives the Jameson Adkins Baxter Award

Ceci Christian was the recipient of this year's Clementine Miller Tangeman Award

Ceci Christian was the recipient of this year's Clementine Miller Tangeman Award


This year's senior speaker, guitarist and writer Lucia Castro Bigelow, delivered moving and humorous remarks for her classmates to cherish. With her signature candor, Lucia shared her own moments of overcoming fear of failure in order to arrive at this podium. “As we prepare to take these final steps across this stage into the futures that await us beyond high school, I want to encourage everyone to take defeats in stride,” she advised. “Try new things or reattempt old ones without fearing the prospect of a difficult journey.”

Lucia Castro Bigelow shares reflections with her classmates

Lucia Castro Bigelow shares reflections with her classmates


On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Ms. Scremin conferred 96 diplomas to be presented to the graduates of the Class of 2024. Ms. Rao shared anecdotes and reflections for each graduate as they advanced to the stage to receive their diplomas. In keeping with Emma Willard tradition, family members of many graduates—be they alumnae siblings, parents, grandparents, or faculty/staff—presented the diploma to their senior.

With diplomas in hand, the Class of 2024 sang their first alma mater as alumnae, and processed around the Senior Triangle to bid farewell to their beloved faculty. 

The Class of 2024 is congratulated by their esteemed faculty

The Class of 2024 is congratulated by their esteemed faculty


As Dr. Legg said in her closing remarks, “You may leave Mout Ida today, but Mount Ida will never leave you!” Congratulations, Class of 2024! We will miss you, yet look forward to welcoming you back to campus very soon.


View more photos on SmugMug: Baccalaureate | Commencement (NOTE: professional photography will be added to the albums at a later date).


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