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My Grier School Graduation

Oh my goodness guys!!! I graduated high school!!!

As cheesy as it is, that feels so crazy to say. It was bound to happen I suppose! Below are my favorites of the photos from graduation, as well as my perspective on the whole experience. My high school years have been wild. I'll do another whole post about what I learned throughout my years at Grier in the coming weeks, but for now I'm just soaking in graduation and the completion of this chapter of my life.

The end of senior year was a blast in basically all ways. My outdoor track season ended better than I had ever expected, so of course I’ve been riding that high ever since. I finally decided on where to go to college, landing on a full athletic scholarship to my dream art school. After the insane busyness of AP season, classes wound down and I spent a ton of time just relaxing and enjoying campus life with my best friends. The seniors had tons of special events and experiences bonding together. This probably sounds overly picturesque, but it kinda was. There were definitely low points, but God was made apparent and good through it all and I'm so thankful. If you choose to see your life as a beautiful collage of people and experiences, it becomes such.

Grier started as a scary opportunity, and it turned into the biggest blessing of my life. I know for the rest of my life I'm going to be one of those "omg I LOVED my high school" people, but I'm kinda just proud of it. Grier is not a normal high school, and it challenges you in every way. Coming in as a little 13 year old and having to adjust to an international, all girls boarding school for the arts was possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. There were times when I thought I couldn't do it, but with the support and love of my family and God, I made it through with flying colors.

Graduation week was a crazy ride!! The weekend before grad was prom (also a blast) and our senior trip the next day to a nearby resort for a beautiful banquet. It felt rather boujee and suuuper fun to just spend time with my incredible fellow seniors! These special events, and the others throughout the following week like the Senior Breakfast, movie night, etc. were just so special, and memories I'll treasure forever. One of the highlights was definitely when we all got our yearbooks after the last Friday assembly, and I found out that I got voted "Sweetest Senior"... which was so SWEET!!

The main downside of grad week was that I actually had strep throat for the entire week... including graduation. This meant that I felt like crap, but more importantly that I was unable to sing my senior solo song at the senior performance the night before graduation. This was pretty heartbreaking, but overall I know that God had a bigger plan. Maybe He was trying to humble me, or remind me that my plans aren't His plans... I don't know the reasoning but I know that it definitely rerouted the plans I had for myself. I still managed to enjoy the week thoroughly though and attend everything somehow!

Grier's graduation, as with all schools, is steeped in tradition. Our traditions are definitely a little different than a lot of other schools, given we're more prone to cult-like ceremonies than most, lol. This is a joke, but also a reference to the Candlelight Ceremony that always happens the night before graduation. The evening before the Saturday graduation has a family dinner, senior solo recitals for both music and dance, and then the Candlelight Ceremony - a traditional ceremony in which all seniors and their servers (one underclassmen each senior chooses to "pass the legacy onto") unite in the colonnade late at night to sing surprise songs to each other and pass candles in symbolism of the future of Grier. Everyone wears short white dresses and white shoes and it's incredibly memorable. My lovely server was my dear friend Hannah from South Korea, who was a beautiful server and I'm so glad I could share grad weekend with her!!

The next morning is the greatly anticipated graduation ceremony, held on Lodge Lawn in the beautiful Saturday morning sunlight. All the graduates wear floor-length white dresses, hold a bouquet of a dozen roses, and process as thousands of girls before them have done the same. Grier's graduation looks so different from other schools and therefore is part of the reason a lot of people come to Grier. It looks rather magical - all the young women in basically wedding dresses. I ended up wearing my mom's wedding dress that she wore 19 years earlier, which was deeply special. It somehow fit me perfectly and I loved both how it looked and the symbolism behind it, so it was the perfect choice. The graduation ceremony went idyllically, and though I couldn't exactly sing the alma mater with everyone else due to my strep voice, my speech went very well! As I was Student Council Vice President, I had the honor of giving a speech, and I feel that I said exactly what I wished to say, expressing both my deep love for the school and where it is taking me in the future. At the link below, you can see both my speech and the whole ceremony! I also had the deep honor of receiving two prizes - the Eleanor Bowie Art Prize for a senior excelling in art, and the Nancy Jane Davis Prize for personal contribution to the school. Both of these are very special, especially the latter, as it's the last award given at graduation and to many the most anticipated.

After graduation, I had to say goodbye (possibly forever) to my best friends as they proceeded to scatter the globe with their families! One of the interesting things about going to an international school is that you rarely ever see your peers' families, as they're typically very far away, possibly in another country. Graduation therefore becomes super cool when you get to meet a ton of people's families for the first time! I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of my best friends' parents and families for the first time that weekend and it was so special.

We're all now dispersing throughout the globe to live up the last summer before college. My fellow seniors mean more to me than I can say in words. I love them all deeply and don't quite know how life will feel without them. Of course Grier was always going to end, but in a way it never does. If you choose to view it that way, Grier stays with you for life, shaping how you see the world. I know it will for me, and I know that I'll return often. Never again will I return again to see all the same faces as before, but I have memories to last a lifetime. Campus is now filled with the ghosts of our younger selves, laughing, crying, living, and growing. Endless memories and life lessons. Stories from around the world. 170 years of this historical sisterhood of mine.

We open wide the future's gates, hail and farewell loved Grier. 🎓💚💛

Click here for Grier's livestream of graduation!

(time stamps: my speech - 1:02:35, my award - 56:23)

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