2024 Eighth Grade Continuation

Colorado Academy’s Eighth Grade Continuation always looks a little different from the Fifth Grade ceremony held earlier in the day, and from the Commencement held for the graduating Senior class the day after. Properly, it stands in the middle of the two: not the joyful, still innocent transition from Lower School to Middle School, nor the celebratory sendoff from Upper School into the world. Eighth Graders gather with their families, teachers, classmates, and friends for a moment that’s marked by anticipation, hope, and wonder.

At the Eighth Grade Continuation held this year on May 28, 2024, in the Leach Center for the Performing Arts, Head of School Dr. Mike Davis set the tone in his opening remarks. 

“This day brings new challenges and necessary change. Ironically, in order to embrace change, you have to focus on living in the present. If you try to predetermine everything you want, you can’t accept change, and you really can’t be present. Believe me, change is hard if you don’t embrace it. And how you embrace change will determine a future of stress or one of serenity. High school can be an amazing time if you are willing to take intelligent risks and be open to deeply connecting with your classmates. But keep in mind that as you move forward in life, your strongest supporter or your biggest adversary will be you.”

Middle School Principal Nick Malick continued the thread in his address to the assembled students and guests. “As groups of eighth graders go, this is one of the kindest, most responsible, thoughtful, and compassionate I’ve ever had the chance to work with,” he began.

“Now, at the same time, as good as they are,” Malick continued, “for the past three years they’ve been Middle Schoolers. Each one of them can probably tell you a story of how all the complexity that comes with maturity forced them to relearn the lessons they thought they mastered in Lower School—about friendship, kindness, risk taking, and more.”

Malick told the parents, family members, faculty, and staff members in the audience, “So we are all fortunate that you, the adults in their lives, constantly stood by them, modeling how to be a good person. Students, it was the adults in your life who taught you awareness, thoughtfulness, and perseverance and insisted on kindness. Even in the hardest moments you’ve had with your classmates, they helped make you better.”

“And I hope that with time,” Malick concluded, “you all will come to see each other for what you are: human beings in progress, trying to learn how to navigate the world, however inelegantly. As you move on to high school, you’ll encounter more and more people who aren’t focused only on your growth. You’ll be able to get a job and drive a car. What you do in the world will matter more than ever. And I trust that as your world gets bigger, you will continue to treat people with care, serve others, be accountable, and lead with compassion and kindness—because of all the people in this theater. Congratulations on making it through some of the most awkward years of your life.”

Class Speaker Claire Cummings next came to the stage to share brief remarks. 

“These last few years have challenged us with countless obstacles and many victories along the way. We continue to recognize one another’s accomplishments and successes, which is what makes this class so special. As we approach high school, I encourage you all to cherish the friendships that you have, and be open to finding new ones. Continue to be the light in other people’s lives and support each other throughout the challenges that high school will throw at us.”

The Eighth Grade Choir then gathered to perform the song “The Circle Game,” by Joni Mitchell. Sung by soloist Lorelei Abar, the lyrics begin, “Yesterday a child came out to wonder.” 

The chorus marvels at the unending movement of time:

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

After teachers came forward to present individual tributes to their students, the Class of 2028 reunited with family, friends, and faculty outside in the courtyard of the Leach Center to enjoy a last moment together before time moves on once again.