Dancing with Daisies: The Class of 2032 Daisy Ceremony

JUNE 30, 2024

Soon after Class VIII’s Moving Up Ceremony, Class IV families and ProCom members poured into the room and found seats in the balcony and along the perimeter of the H. Dale Hemmerdinger Auditorium for the Class of 2032's Daisy Ceremony. Held annually, the Daisy Ceremony recognizes Class IV achievements in Lower School and celebrates their graduation to Middle School. This particular ceremony is unique because it features all Lower School voices, in addition to the Class of 2032 graduates.

As music began to fill the room, Kindergarten students processed in, followed by Class I, Class II, Class III—and finally—Class IV, dressed out of uniform and in outfits that made them feel their most confident. Each class sat together in the auditorium, with the Class of 3032 finding their seats on stage, facing the balcony. Students smiled and waved as they recognized their families in the crowd.

“What a journey you have had these past five years,” Head of Lower School Dr. Urcioli began, addressing Class IV, “You were all in from the start of Kindergarten. No one could have expected that you would complete your Kindergarten year from your homes on Zoom. Or that in first grade you would be in pods six feet apart from each other, wearing masks all day and face shields while you ate lunch. But you faced these challenges and showed resilience and strength. The way you were able to do this as the small people you were at that time really taught the adults in our community a lot. We learned from you then and we continue to learn from you and alongside you over the years…This year, you were the leaders of the Lower School, you achieved so much in all of your subjects and your research skills and creativity are on display today in the capstone gallery. You’ve been devoted to your Kindergarten buddies and found ways to connect with all of the students in our division.”

Prior to the ceremony, Dr. Urciuoli asked Class IV to reflect on their time in the Lower School, and share some of their fondest memories from the past five years. Students shared memories at Camp Reimagined, going bowling, when they received their Class IV buddies and when they received their Kindergarten buddies, Winter Concerts, and more. Students were also asked what they learned about themselves from their time in Lower School.

Dr. Urciuoli shared students’ responses, including how they learned to be themselves, how to be a good friend and listener, not to be afraid of failure, and that they can take on challenges.

“On behalf of all your teachers, thank you for being you and adding so much to the life and energy of the fourth floor these past five years. You’ve been strong leaders, and we know that your positive energy, intellectual curiosity, fearless approach to karaoke, and your kindness will travel with you to Middle School. Congratulations, Class IV, we are so proud of you!”

Each class then performed a song they selected for Class IV. Kindergarteners sang “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, Class I performed “Vivir mi Vida” by Marc Anthony, Class II performed “Choose Your Fighter” by Ava Max, and Class III performed “Try Everything” by Shakira.

Next, Head of School Mr. Burke addressed the Class of 2032, reflecting on each of the messages that were shared in song just a few moments before. He shared: “A great truth in my life is that, if you listen closely—and you really pay attention—the best truths in life come from the youngest among us.”

Mr. Burke reflected on Kindergartener’s song, emphasizing the importance of counting on friends in the Lower School even when they ascend to Middle School. He spoke to the theme of kindness and trying hard, from Class I’s song. Reflecting on Class II’s song, Mr. Burke highlighted a single line from their song: ‘You’re perfect as you are.’ Finally, he discussed the theme of Class III’s song, encouraging Class IV to try everything.

“Class IV, you have put first things first for five years, and now you are educating your hearts and your minds and now you are ready, and it is your time, and I’m glad to turn it back to you so that you can share your wisdom and your thoughts with everyone here,” Mr. Burke said.

The Class of 2032 then stood and sang “Are You Proud of Me” by Mark Burrows (with new lyrics created by their class), “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, and the school song, “For Nightingale.”

Finally it was time for Class IV’s long-awaited moment to walk under the daisy arch. Each member of the Class of 2032 received a daisy, and formed an arch on the floor of the auditorium. Each Lower School student from Kindergarten to Class III walked through the arch, with Class IV following close behind. Each student of the Class of 2032 smiled with joy as they walked through the arch, and emerged as Middle Schoolers.

Click here to view a reel of the ceremony.