At 108 students, the class of 2012 at is the largest yet in the school’s 33-year history, but it still exudes that sense of family for which the close-knit school is known.
If a graduating senior’s mom works there, she gets to hand her child the diploma on stage. The same is true if a parent serves on the board of trustees. And if the student has been there since preschool, preschool Director Ingrid Andrews does the honor.
The students may know how fortunate they are, but a lot of outsiders have a lot of questions about St. Margaret’s, said Associated Student Body President Caroline Walters in her speech to the gathering.
“So what exactly is a Tartan?”
“Doesn’t your headmaster have a funny last name?” (He does, it’s Hurlbut.)
“What’s it’s like to stay at the same school since preschool?”
Yes, St. Margaret’s is a “little bubble,” Walters said, a bubble where “the teachers invested in our lives, not just as students but as young people.”
She also thanked all the parents for spending "an absolute fortune” to allow them to go to the school, where 100 percent of the graduating class was accepted into four-year colleges.
There was a lot of thanking of parents going around.
Valedictorian Ted C.-T Ko, who has attended since preschool, honored all the parents for making their children turn off the video games, for brushing up on algebra to help them late at night, for bringing in the forgotten homework.
Ko also offered an unusual debt of gratitude to the only teacher who’s ever failed him on an assignment. When one gets all but two As since sixth grade, that’s a pretty stand-out moment.
When Ko turned in the less-than-stellar work, he knew he didn’t do well. Teacher Steven Sherman “was laughing in maniacal glee at the destruction of all my future hopes.”
But the next day, when the paper with the “bright red 33 percent” on top was returned, the smile was empathetic, Ko said. Mr. Sherman taught him to persevere.
It must have worked. Sherman teaches mathematics, and Ko just finished taking multivariable calculus. Not to mention completing 13 Advanced Placement courses.
Also “graduating” with the seniors was David Boyle, associate headmaster, who after 32 years, is retiring. He gave the keynote speech.
“We’re leaving on a high note. So many things are going well at St. Margaret’s,” Boyle said. He noted the recent additions of the Field House and the , which will have its grand opening at the start of the school year in fall.
One of the accomplishments Boyle said he’s most proud of is that 30 students selected colleges in universities not chosen by other St. Margaret’s seniors in the last four years.
“There’s no herd-like enrollment to tried-and-true destinations,” he said.
“I’m honor-bound at this point to offer you advice,” Boyle said. “Not all successful people are happy and not all happy people are successful.”
The pursuit of money is not likely to lead to happiness, which instead comes through relationships with others, he said. “Fill your life with purpose, meaning and people worthy of your life. … Good-bye, God speed and God bless you, the class of 2012.”
Then, for the first time ever, the graduates did not throw their caps into the air from the stage. They proceeded from the courtyard to the steps of the Performing Arts Center to pose for a senior portrait.
There were a few posed almost-tosses, and with each one, anticipation for the actual ritual built. With shrieks of joy, the moment came, the white caps were tossed, family members were hugged, and off into the future the class of 2012 treaded.