Graduation 2019 was one for the books.

It was a week of festivities and jubilation starting with the Alumni March and culminating in Commencement. Every year, it is a beautiful week full of tradition, ceremony, and celebration.

On Thursday evening before graduation, the Senior Faculty award dinner was held at the Rivermill Event Center. As always, the event was lovely in every way and a fitting way to honor our graduates and commend them for their hard work and accomplishments.

Then on Saturday morning, Baccalaureate was held in our Illges Gym. This year’s speakers were Mark Erb, Dean of Students and Grade Chair for the Class of 2019 and Jack Jenkins, Brookstone parent and member of the Class of 1982. Mr. Erb had us tearing up while Mr. Jenkins had us laughing the whole time. We were also treated to beautiful music by guitarist David Liao, pianist Charley Jiang and vocalist Gracie Glass, all from the Class of 2019. It was an endearing ceremony, filled with laughter, tears, encouragement, and reflection. The morning could not have been more enjoyable. 

Only a few short hours later, after an afternoon spent with family and friends, we gathered again for the Graduation Ceremony itself. You would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful high school graduation ceremony anywhere and this year proved to be no different.

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After opening remarks by Mr. Marty Lester, Head of School, and Mr. Garry Sullivan, Head of Upper School, Ryan Drew and Antonia Nunley each addressed their classmates. Both gave heartfelt remarks, encouraging, and challenging their fellow graduates.

Ryan said, “The paths that each of us have taken to get here today couldn’t be more different and I think that’s one of the many beautiful things about Brookstone. This school enables us to become the person we want to be. Our teachers and coaches saw the potential in us even when we didn’t see it in ourselves, and pushed us farther than we ever thought we could go.

“So to the teachers, thank you for believing in us. To the parents, thank you for investing in us. And to the Brookstone students and alumni who have shared this great school with us, thank you for making our experience the best it could be.”

Antonia said in her remarks, “Our story at Brookstone is now at a transitional point. We have developed from cubs into Cougars, gaining strength to climb and perform, vision to push forward into our future, and determination to pursue our dreams. Through good times and bad, we have realized that together we are a family. As each of us spreads out around the country and bear the mascot of another school on our chest, we will always be called Brookstone Cougars. So go forward boldly to create, build, and design.  There is no doubt in my mind that we will be successful.”

We have no doubt either. Graduation is indeed the culmination of a lifetime of work, but it is only the beginning of for these young alumni. Great things await them and we look forward to watching them continue to grow.

As we breathe a collective sigh and reflect on all the festivities of the week, Jim East, one of our Upper School English teachers summed it up best in an email to colleagues, “It is impossible, as the platitude goes, to reach out and thank all those hands, minds, and imaginations that wrestled our recent celebrations into place this week. All this joy and juice! And you do it over and over, in Blue and White! Steph and I say it over and over: we are in an imaginative and caring place.”


That we are. We are an imaginative and caring place. May the Class of 2019 carry those attributes with them wherever they go. They will be missed.

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