Physically Separated but Truly Connected

The Class of 2028 has spent the last few months seeing their teachers—and one another—over screens in Brady Bunch–style setups. On June 4, it happened one more time. But they weren’t there for music or math or art. They were there to say goodbye to the Lower School and hello to what’s next.

This class faced an unusual last year in the Lower School. It was marked by physical distance but also tremendous successes. Students, teachers, and faculty banded together to ensure that the Distance Learning Plan not only met students’ academic needs, but their social and spiritual needs as well. The 4th graders thanked their teachers with a prerecorded performance of “True Colors.” The teachers onscreen were (mostly) successful at hiding their tears. But then, the teachers banded together to sing “Rainbow Connection” to their departing students; this time it was the parents and students whose eyes looked a little wet.

Taking this step from Lower School to Middle School—and from the Bethesda campus to Wisconsin Avenue—carried with it some sadness, said Lower School Principal Adele Payne.

“This can make you feel a little sad,” she said in her address. “But that’s okay, because it means you’ve experienced something wonderful.”

Payne also congratulated the students on their perseverance during the time of the school year that wasn’t so wonderful, noting that what they have learned this year wasn’t just academic; it included lessons that have shaped them into stronger, more flexible, and more innovative thinkers and doers.

“When things got dark, you never stopped looking for the light,” Payne said. “We may not be ready for you to head to your next great adventure—but you are.”

Whether the Class of ’28 walks through the doors of the Middle School all together, in smaller groups, or digitally, one thing is certain: They’ll always have that rainbow connection with those who saw them move on.

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