Associate Head of School Peter Kraft unexpectedly took the stage to welcome the Class of 2026 to their promotion after Head of School Mo Copeland became ill on June 16. Peter shared Mo’s remarks, personalized by him, including encouraging the students to “follow their dreams, and dream big!"
He told the students that they have learned how to be resilient, given the events of the past two years–and that this resilience has prepared them for what they will encounter in the future.
Head of School Ann Sulzer heralded the energy and enthusiasm of the eighth grade students and their ability to fully commit to whatever they do. “I can venture to say that each one does something they love at full volume, at 200%. Play basketball or volleyball in the gym at recess every now and then? No, they are there every single day. Play some card games? Absolutely, but also start a Friday activity and play with friends at every opportunity. Host a bake sale for Ukraine and raise some funds? How about $1600? Have some time on your hands during the pandemic? How about starting The OES Times newspaper that continues today? What about playing in a lacrosse tournament in a blizzard–in May? Been there, done that.”
Ann went on to recognize that it was individuals in the eighth grade who spearheaded the first LGBTQ+ Affinity and Allyship group, that in the first year returning to in-person athletics, the boys and girls soccer teams won the championships, the girls cross country team finished 2nd at districts, the boys basketball team qualified for the state tournament in Bend, and the girls lacrosse team won the Oregon Spring Lacrosse Classic. It has been a year of “pretty amazing achievements in the midst of a pandemic. Talk about adapting to circumstances and taking advantage of opportunities,” Ann said.
The Eighth Grade Choir performed “The Good Old Days” and eighth grader Sadie Young gave her speech, which also touched on the resilience of her classmates through all they have faced in the past two years, but noted that they have kept their sense of fun. They look back fondly at their sixth-grade exploits and wonder, “Are we really finished with Middle School?” Yes, Class of 2026, you are, and congratulations as you advance to high school next year.
View the Eighth Grade Promotion program here. More photos from the ceremony will be sent to eighth-grade families next week.