by Adam Elitzur
The long-anticipated senior graduation will take place on Sunday, June 13 at The Leffell School’s Klein Field. Each senior can bring up to six guests to celebrate in person, and additional family and friends can join the festivities via Zoom.
On June 8, the seniors returned from their Lev v’ Nefesh trip, making this the first year that graduation will take place immediately following the trip.
Right before graduation, High School Principal Eric Bassin typically huddles with the seniors, the last moment shared between the principal and the grade before they graduate.
Graduation will include a montage looking back on the seniors’ experience at TLS, two student speakers, one in English and one in Hebrew, speeches by Head of School Dr. Michael Kay and Associate Head of School Rabbi Harry Pell, a musical presentation and the awarding of diplomas. As students walk out after graduation, all members of the faculty will line up on both sides, and students will have an opportunity to talk with their teachers and bid them farewell.
“One of the most unique aspects about this school is the relationship between teachers and students,” Director of Student Services Elisha Andron said. “You can watch it very clearly as students stop, hug and talk to each of the teachers in that line.”
Bassin said that even in a difficult year like this past year, he looks forward to a joyful celebration.
“Specifically this year, what is exciting is that this will be the first event where it feels like the community is coming together in a way that we haven’t been able to in the last year and a half,” Bassin said. “More generally, graduation is a very joyful, celebratory moment. It is a milestone, it’s got a lot of tradition to it, it creates a lot of lasting memories, and so the combination of those two creates a real feeling of excitement and joy.”
Andron is excited for the seniors to be starting a new chapter in their lives.
“My hope is that it doesn’t rain and that it is not too hot, but seriously, there is so much work that goes into trying to make this special moment, especially in this year where we are trying to do so much, and I hope it all comes off as powerfully as it is in our minds,” Andron said. “We hope that the experience that we are providing for these students honors them in the way that they deserve.”
Dean of Admissions Jackie Grosser said that she is glad that graduation this year is going to be similar to prior graduations in years past.
“I hope that the students are really proud of how far they have come and the school is really proud of what we were able to accomplish this year, being back in person every day, being able to send the seniors to Israel; I think graduation represents the culmination of all of those things,” Grosser said.
Andron and Bassin expressed pride in the seniors for overcoming the challenges of the past year, knowing their resilience will prepare them well for what is to come.
“I would say that to graduate The Leffell School is always about a lot more than just having acquired some knowledge, it is about the people you are becoming and will continue to become, and that is probably the most important thing to remember as you move forward, what are the values you learned, what is the community you have been apart of about, and how will you contribute to your communities around you moving forward,” Bassin said.
Although graduation marks the end of the seniors’ journey at TLS, they will always remain a part of TLS community.
“I want to say, obviously good luck, but also stay in touch and come back and visit,” Grosser said. “It is really nice when our alumni give us updates on how they are doing, and they come back and can be role models for future students.”