Challenging girls to become women of 
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The Class of 2022 Graduates
Newton Country Day’s 142nd Graduation Ceremony was held in the Sunken Garden on Thursday, June 9. The rain stopped just in time for the families of the 66 graduates of the Class of 2022 to gather under the tent to celebrate the resilience and hard work of the senior class.

After the procession into the tent, Headmistress Sister Barbara Rogers welcomed everyone before introducing Class President Grace Connelly ’22. Connelly gave the Invocation before the Mary Quinlan Salutatory Address was delivered by Bridget Baker ’22.


“Over the past four years, we have become accustomed to definitions changing, evolving as the world around us shifted,” said Baker. “We have pivoted, adapted, and adjusted in the face of new challenges. But we did not let these challenges, from physical distance to modified retreats, define us as a class. Rather than be limited by what we thought was supposed to happen, we learned that how we responded to obstacles made all the difference. We are not a class that can be solely defined by our unusual sophomore and junior years. We are instead a class that persevered through online classes and masked smiles; we can be celebrated for the qualities we have developed and the character we have built in response to these unforeseen times.

“What will characterize us as individuals moving forward? For each one of us, our journey will be different. But as the Five Goals of the Sacred Heart have taught us, the lessons of faith, determination, compassion, community, and introspection will aid us as we strive to make the world just a little bit of a better place,” Baker concluded.

Former Newton Country Day Chair of the Performing Arts Department John Sullivan then addressed the crowd, delivering the Graduation Address and offering advice for the graduates.

“As you begin to think about your future, here is my list of things which I think are of utmost importance for happiness and success: be kind, have a good sense of humor, make wise decisions, learn from your mistakes, be curious and passionate, be empathetic, learn the importance of being a good listener,” offered Sullivan. “Be a champion for social justice. Think both locally and globally and commit to causes that will affect change. Do what you love, both in your personal life and your professional life. Write your own story, not the story others have for you. People will have opinions about what you should do with your life, but remember that you are the author of your own story. Trust your instincts and listen to your inner voice. Your happiness will depend on it. With a nod to Robert Frost, if your story means that you will choose the road less traveled, good for you. Dare to be different. The world needs your courage and resolve.”

After the conferring of the diplomas, Alice Husson Prize recipient Ashley Folz ’22 took the stage to thank the faculty and staff. Folz gave extra praise to the faculty’s ability to teach, and be creative, both over Zoom and in-person classes.

“There has never been a moment when the NCDS faculty haven’t given it their all, even with the pandemic,” Folz stated. “Although many Zoom classes were spent trying not to laugh at the jokes in the chat or one of my classmates' virtual backgrounds, all of my teachers worked hard to make our classes as engaging as ever. Many of my teachers used this opportunity to have fun dress up days or host an interesting guest speaker that we would not have been able to meet with otherwise.

“To all of our teachers, you are valued and appreciated, and although it may not seem like it at times, we are always listening to the wisdom and knowledge you give us so selflessly.”

After the distribution of prizes, Rebecca Simen ’22 delivered the Janet Erskine Stuart Valedictory Address. While echoing the challenges of the Class of 2022’s sophomore and junior years as a result of COVID-19, Simen also acknowledged how overcoming adversity led to a tight-knit class of seniors.

“Senior year, we were given the task of picking up the pieces, and I’ll be the first to say we did not take that responsibility lightly,” Simen began. “We had an amazing time at Blue-Silver Induction, Halloween, and other events. We formed communities in our affinity groups, sports teams, arts, and committees. Guided by our amazing student leaders, the Class of ’22 rebuilt this school into a community that's stronger than ever.

“When I look back on my experience at NCDS, I'm pretty sure I won't reminisce about Zoom classes or my report card. What I'll remember is putting a QR code in my art piece. I’ll remember winning the Halloween costume competition as eight copies of Mr. Clean. I'll remember embarrassing myself in a loofah costume at Congè. These are the memories we should take with us as we move on to the next exciting chapter of our lives.

“I can't predict the future, but here's what I know for certain: Each and every one of you is like a bright light. I'm not leaving anyone out here, you are all so talented, charismatic, and incredibly kind. People will gravitate to you because you have been through so much already and have grown stronger from it. We overcame one of the largest challenges life could have thrown at us. We will inevitably face many more challenges in our futures, but I'm confident that the amazing education we've received from NCDS will enable us to meet our obstacles head-on and change the world in doing so. This class is powerful, and I'm so excited to see all of you thrive.”

After the Sacred Heart Goal Awards were distributed, Chair of the Board of Trustees Maura T. Murphy ’99 delivered the closing prayer. Families then joined their graduates for photos and celebration as they were welcomed into our alumnae community.

View photos from Graduation.