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Tribute to the Class of 2022

Graduation Tuesday, 07 Jun 2022

Head of School Adrianne Finley Odell delivered a moving tribute to the graduating class of 2022 during our graduation.

Each class that travels together through Roycemore School has a culture that is uniquely theirs, that defines them.  Being at Roycemore leaves a mark on them as individuals and as a class, and often the class itself leaves a mark on Roycemore.  This past year, Roycemore adopted a new mission statement, feeling that the former one no longer quite fit who the school is today and where it is going.  As I think about the mission, “to inspire each student to discover your passion, think without limits, find your voice and live courageously,” I believe that the Roycemore Class of 2022 played a huge role in inspiring this new mission because it speaks to who they are, and it is with this lens that I offer a tribute to the Roycemore Class of 2022. 

This class of graduates has discovered many passions that they pursue, and some of them further developed passions while at Roycemore.  Some of them are art-related, such as Alex and Laura who are both deeply passionate about art and design. And Prahlad, who is passionate about the art of filmmaking.  Tree designed the cover art for the yearbook and has also loved performing in plays and the musical. Peter, Tree, Robin, and Mateo have sung in the choir… and Robin, Samad, Mateo, Tree, and Prahlad have been involved in the play or musical.  A number of the students in this class are musicians.  Nearly every member of the class is an athlete.  We have fencers, swimmers, basketball and volleyball players, ice hockey, soccer players, and skateboard aficionados.  This class includes fierce feminists, environmentalists, scientists, and writers.  Steven has a very specific passion for trains and transportation.  Alan developed a passion for entrepreneurship- opening a restaurant while he was studying with us remotely from China last year.

100% of the Class of 2022 has received acceptance to four-year colleges. This class of 15 students will be furthering their education at 13 different institutions in 10 different states from the east coast to the west coast and in-between. The schools our seniors will attend range from large public universities like The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Purdue University, and The University of Washington,  to small private colleges like The College of Wooster, St. Olaf, and Smith College.  One of our seniors, Prahlad, has even opted to take a gap year to travel the world and plans to visit 43 countries from India, through Asia, and all the way through Central and South America.   

The Class of 2022 certainly thinks without limits.  Jaxsen was brand new to this senior class and he certainly didn’t let being the “new kid” get in the way of connecting with his classmates. Mateo has been working on designing his own video game.  Steven created an independent study in PE where he taught lower school students. When asked what challenges you most, Tree responded that initially had difficulty seeing things from other perspectives and now realizes they can’t NOT see things from other perspectives.  This class likes to challenge themselves.  Molly likes to try new things that are not comfortable for her academically so that she can grow. Samad and Robin just like to try new things… period.  Alex’s limitless thinking has given her a formidable understanding of how her mind works. Laura’s almost improbably optimistic outlook results in her seeing the best in everything.  Most of his classmates would likely say that Nino is defined by limitless thinking.

The Class of 2022 has also found their voice.  Myron, while more of a listener and thinker than a vocal advocate, has learned that he has a talent for expression in writing. Steven, Jaxsen, and Mark’s sense of humor bring smiles to their classmates and teachers. Prahlad’s understanding of himself and the world has made him a strong advocate for himself and others.  Nino became a spokesperson for the student body. Realizing that she is capable of taking risks, Molly learned to put herself out there and became a gifted debater and leader of the GSA.  Mateo literally found his voice in choir and Samad performed in public for only the second time in the musical- One Voice.  Laura is soft-spoken, but a force!  And Alex speaks up for herself and her classmates. Peter acknowledges that he has become less of an introvert at Roycemore and gained a lot of confidence– a theme I heard many times in my conversations with members of this class.  Robin said, “I learned who I am.  I was a different person before I came here.  Now I am me.”  Similarly– Ella became… Tree!

This Class of 2022 is living courageously!  Peter, Alan, Robin, and Laura all took risks to travel halfway around the world to attend school far away from their families.   Sometimes living courageously means learning how to navigate new situations.  Alex decided to choose a different school path for herself than her sister. Mark stepped into an identity as a strong leader in high school. Nino embraced being a younger member of the class and not only connected with his self-described “group of nerds” that he loved hanging out with, but became a true leader in the Upper School.  Steven literally navigated new territory as he learned sailing navigation techniques during his JST.  Molly lived courageously, offering sometimes sharp, but considered opinions on topics in class.  Approximately half of this class is involved in the Diversity or GSA club, advocating for social justice in our community.  This is a class that is unabashedly comfortable expressing their opinions– a quality that will serve them well in the years to come.

Two of the favorite Roycemore traditions among the Class of 2022 are Palio and the Upper School Picnic, with honorable mentions including tumbling, Wassail, trips to Six Flags, being in school plays, the Faculty-Student Soccer game, and JST.  

Some students pursued interesting independent JST projects like Samad who learned about accounting, Nino who explored foam board robotics, Mary and Myron who engaged in a sleep study, Prahlad who tried printmaking, and Laura who learned about disabilities. 

Not all seniors pursued independent projects. When the opportunity to learn about feminist thinking and ideologies through film, Molly, Alex, and Jaxsen were enthusiastic about learning more. Mateo, Mark, Molly, Prahlad, Myron, and Tree enjoyed learning about psychology through depictions in movies, while as juniors-Samad, Alan, and Peter explored how musicals might be a good way to learn about history. Nino and Robin joined a group project on wearable electronics during their junior year and then pursued independent projects in foam board robotics and Raspberry Pi programming as seniors. Steven was all about transportation, exploring the history of the CTA his junior year, and then navigating the Caribbean on a sailboat this year.  

The Class of 2022 is a class of scholars.  Prahlad was recognized as an AP Scholar, Nino was named an AP Scholar with Distinction, and Molly was named an AP Scholar with Honors. Steven and Alan received the President’s Award for educational achievement.   AND Samad, Mark, Molly, Jaxsen, Laura, Prahlad, Nino, Myron, Peter, and Robin were recognized with the President’s Award for Educational Excellence.  Molly and Nino have been honored as Illinois State Scholars. The National Merit Scholarship Program has named Nino as a National Merit Finalist.  And Myron has received the prestigious Chick Evans Scholarship that will provide full tuition and housing for college.

There are MANY more stories to tell about the class of 2022 at Roycemore- starting over a dozen years ago when Molly, Mark, and Nino began their tenure at Roycemore and are now lifers, and some more recent like a humorous water bottle incident with Nino that is burned into the lore of humorous stories told in the alcove.  This is a class that is full of individuals and originals and we love you for that.  We are excited for you as you take the next steps in your educational career and in your lives.  And we TRULY hope you come back to visit often and stay connected to your Griffin family!!

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