Graduation from a Grandparent’s Perspective

We are so blessed to have the greatest group of parents and grandparents as part of our  Brookstone family! So we were thrilled to hear from one of our own after this year’s commencement exercises.

Don Murphy, a marriage and family therapist and devoted grandfather, was so kind to jot down some reflections after this year’s ceremony and even kinder to allow me to share. Enjoy his thoughtful and sweet summary of the weekend’s events!


Among the iconic images of American graduations is that of mortarboards being gleefully tossed into the air, accompanied by happy shouts. A Brookstone School graduation ceremony certainly enacts that fun and energetic release. There is the iconic, however, and then there is the unique. Brookstone has them both –  with an emphasis on the latter.

I have attended two Cougar graduations, delighting in this ritual for my granddaughters. In my 80 plus years having witnessed an untold number of such ceremonies, I can say without equivocation that the two I have attended here have been the most beautiful, the most elegant and the best organized of my experience. Seared in my mind is the initial view of the many white chairs neatly arranged on the Quad and with Brookstone blue here and there. Moreover, the arrangement of faculty seated across the quad and facing the students seems to me more than happenstance. Looking at them, past my tearful daughter, I saw proud smiles on many faces as they looked across the way, their many past graduations notwithstanding. And what a faculty! Deana tells me, also, that a beautiful moment I could not see occurred at the back of the audience as the graduates walked through a gauntlet of teachers under whom they had studied. So very touching.

The focus of the ceremony is, appropriately, on the students. While kept to a minimum, the remarks by those other than students were wonderfully encouraging. The graduates obviously delighted in the speeches of their chosen representatives, enjoying the inside jokes to which the audience was not privy. Moreover, in the pivotal moment when each student crosses the stage to receive the diploma, her or his family stands and the audience is respectfully silent. I loved that our granddaughter was having that experience.

This supremely important and long-standing ritual is one of the many ways Brookstone School excels. I offer my congratulations to those wise souls who make it so.

Don Murphy
(Mama D’s Dad, Molly, Emma, and Harry’s Pop)


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