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Distinguished Alumna 2024: Linda Reed, '65

Friday, 14 Jun 2024

Introduction from Head of School Chris English

In 1980, former Headmaster, Joseph Becker began the tradition of honoring an alum with the Distinguished Alumni Award at graduation. As Head of School, I find great joy in meeting alum and hearing their stories of Roycemore. This year’s distinguished alum serves on Roycemore’s board of trustees, and I have a deep appreciation for who she is as a board member, alum, and parent and grandparent of Roycemore Griffin’s. Occasionally, I meet people and form an instant connection. For Linda, that connection is over an exuberant love for Roycemore. Linda has a broad and comprehensive view of the culture of Roycemore school, and she carries herself like a true champion of our beloved school. Each time we see each other, we talk about the desire to spend more time together, and I am so thankful for her partnership and guidance as I entered into the community as the new head of school.

Linda, your accomplishments in the fields of education, politics, fundraising, and the incredible work you have done in creating our Roycemore Alumni Association, as well as your dedication to the mission and vision of Roycemore School have earned you this well-deserved recognition.

Distinguished Alum Speech - Linda Reed ‘65

Hello and thank you. I am honored by this recognition of distinguished alumna and to be invited to speak to the graduating class of 2024 in the presence of so many teachers, staff members, family and friends who helped make this day possible. As you celebrate the end of your time here at Roycemore, I am thrilled to welcome you into the community of Roycemore Alumni, a community that will help you maintain your connection to this special place as you move through your lives.

I look out to you graduates today and remember my own graduation at Roycemore’s first home, 640 Lincoln Street, outside in the courtyard with our white dresses and red roses. 

This was 1965, and the world was abuzz with demands for change. The school had just gone coed. The midi uniforms from the years before became more modern with blue skirts or pants, white shirt, tie, and blazers for the seniors. Later, in my daughter KC’s era of the 1990’s, there was no uniform at all. At graduation, the girls still wore white, but with a little more latitude - suits or dresses - and the boys wore black tuxedos. And here you all are today, still not in caps or gowns, but upholding the black and white Roycemore graduating tradition in your own unique and expressive ways. Always in step and responding to the times, Roycemore evolves and changes, and not just in terms of what we wear.

As I mentioned before, the school relocated from its beloved home, an old building loved so dearly, to expand into this new, updated location with more space for students and new learning environments, like the Innovation Center. New faculty and administrative structures have shepherded the school through the arrival and implementation of evolving ideas, cutting edge technologies, and approaches to teaching and learning with each new decade - even during the pandemic which found students facing challenges the school could not have anticipated, but nevertheless met.

Throughout it all, one thing has never changed, and that is the Roycemore commitment to independent education and the benefits of a student-centered approach to education. I have never forgotten my experiences at Roycemore and I often make use of the special gifts I was given here.

I had the privilege of working with the beloved Mrs. Eisner for example - a real gift to Roycemore - who gave me the fundamentals of English and communication, and which have served me well in various jobs and roles. Her dedication and perseverance in many capacities throughout Roycemore’s history reminds us to keep close ties to the places that shape us so they can shape others as well.

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed Palio, another Roycemore tradition we enjoyed in our day, and I remembered my gym teacher, Lois Anderson, and the choreography, which has since evolved with the times, and through the guidance of Jesse Wonder for so many years. We must remember the other Roycemore traditions maintained - such as the Palio flags, class shields, and Wassail, which reminds us of the roots and character of Roycemore’s history. And of course I cannot think of my time at Roycemore without mentioning my sister, Rosemary Reed, class of 1966 and remembering my classmate, Judy Kearns, a lifelong best friend.

Certainly these foundational experiences and memories, these fantastic people, are what drew me back to Roycemore decades later when choosing to educate my own daughter here, and I am so grateful that we continue to share these traditions with her children, my grandchildren, Nico and Jack.

What I wish for today’s graduates is that you, too, carry the experiences you have had here at Roycemore into your future endeavors. May you carry your triumphs and accomplishments with confidence into your colleges and careers, and may the lessons you have learned guide you well.

As you continue to grow and evolve, remember all you have learned and done at Roycemore and return to it for strength and guidance, whether it’s drawing on a memory or a lesson from your classes, your JST experience, coming back to visit a beloved teacher, connecting with other Roycemore alumni, or even volunteering your time and support to the school in its new ventures. What you have been given at Roycemore will always be a part of the story of your life, and you will always be a part of the Roycemore story.

Today, I look to you with pride and admiration as a new class of Roycemore alumni.

Congratulations, Class of 2024, and good luck to all of you.

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