Graduation speaker is Debra Gittler: alumna, nonprofit founder

Ella Beiser, Reporter

Celebration, success and completion. 1998 U-High alumna Debra Gittler will be the featured speaker at graduation June 7. Student speakers will be Senior Class President Ayaan Asthana, Elizabeth Van Ha and Elizabeth Meyer.

Ms. Gittler is founder and director of ConTextos, an educational company. She has opened schools in Costa Rica and currently works with the Chicago corrections system.

“Her approach to activism through education and the fact that she is from Lab gives her a very unique and also appropriate opportunity to speak,” Ayaan said.

Ms. Gittler was selected by the graduation committee consisting of the four elected Student Council officers and two additional students specifically selected to serve on the committee.

Besides speakers, graduation will also have musical performances. Jonathan Ruiz and Bryce Palmer will sing “Lean on Me,” Sophie Hinerfeld will sing “Time after Time,” and a trio of Teresa Xie, Jenny Wang and Giacomo Glotzer will perform a piece by Lowell Liebermann.

Additionally, students will give speeches for honorary diplomas given to teachers. 

Dean of Students Ana Campos is fond of graduation and remembers warmly her first time attending a U-High graduation.

“I feel a lot of pride for how our school celebrates the end of this journey,” she said. “Whether it is four years or 14 years, it’s really beautiful.”