Graduation Ceremony Ends High School for Class of 2017

by Diana Stoyanova

After months of hard work, some procrastination and lots of class bonding, the Class of 2017 took the stage one last time for their graduation on Saturday, May 27th.

This year, the auditorium at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews overflowed with distant relatives, parents, and friends eager to see the seniors’ rite of passage. As the ceremony commenced, people even stood in the aisles to get a glimpse.

Lucas speaks from the graduating class as part of Mr. James’ address.

Mr. Sheehan took the stage with tears in his eyes and addressed the class that started high school the same year that he started his career at ASW.

Mr. Sheehan was followed by Mr. Zurfluh who introduced the US Ambassador to Poland, Paul W. Jones. Mr. Jones wished the soon-to-be graduates good luck on their future endeavors and shared some personal anecdotes as encouragement.

The commencement featured two performances by the choir and several other speeches.

Kasia H. (12) and Penelope G. (12) represented the Class of 2017 as Student Honor Speakers. The two seniors looked back on their experience with smiles on their faces, recalling the collection of memories and bonds that they had made over the past year.

Mr. James, whose youngest son, Lucas, graduated this year as well, also spoke to the graduating seniors in his heartfelt commencement address. He discussed the struggles of parenthood, and his speech included a section delivered by Lucas about some of his favorite things about his father.

Mr. James called the experience “a dream come true” and “something that he had been wanting to do for years.”

As is customary, after Mr. Zurfluh’s final speech, the ceremony ended with the presentation of diplomas, the flipping of the tassels and, finally, the throwing of the hats.

According to Magda C. (12), moving the tassel from left to right was the most powerful moment of the ceremony because “it felt like an official way of saying we’ve graduated.”

Ronnie K. (12) describes the moving of the tassel as “cutting through the ribbon at the end of a race.”

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