161 seniors graduate as the Lab community honors the Class of 2023 at Rockefeller Chapel

As the commencement ceremony comes to a close, the new graduates rejoice and throw their caps into the air.

Mia Lipson, News Editor

In a sea of silky maroon gowns and family and friends smiling in pride, members of the Class of 2023 walked down the center aisle of Rockefeller Chapel to receive their diplomas and graduate during a sunny afternoon on June 8. 

Students and faculty expressed gratitude in their speeches. Camille Bryant and Senior Class president Sydney Tyler  each addressed their classmates. Between speeches, music echoed throughout the hall as Louis Auxenfans performed “Solo de Concours” on clarinet, and Zara Baig, Fermi Boonstra, Zoe Johns and Kriti Sarav sang “Slipping Through My Fingers.”

Graduation committee members Sydney Tyler, Lauren Tapper, Charlie Benton, Graham Robbins, William Meyer and William Montague honored retiring faculty members Terri Greene, Paul Horton, Brad Brickner and Debbie Ribbens, as well as  departing principal Paul Beekmeyer and retiring athletics director David Ribbens for their immense contributions to the Lab community. 

In her welcome address, Laboratory Schools Director Tori Jueds addressed the class’ strength in the face of adversity, devotion to scholarship, and curiosity. 

“Through rigor and adversity, your class is known as competitive but kind, with a commitment to social justice that arises from instinctual compassion as well as scholarly awareness. You have inspired all of us in the Lab community with the breadth of your intelligence, the height of your talents, and the depth of your passions and your friendships,” Ms. Jueds said. “Looking ahead, I know that I can speak for everybody present when I say we couldn’t be happier that you will go forth, U-High diplomas in hand, furthering your education, building your careers and relationships, exploring and making your place in the world.”

Camille reflected on the experiences, friendships and relationships that created a family spirit among the class, and expressed appreciation for the teachers, families and students who will move forward into the next phase of their lives.

“While one door is closing, an abyss of endless possibilities opens beneath our feet,” Camille said. “We are entering a world full of challenges and opportunities, but we are equipped with the knowledge, skills and determination to make an impact.”

Sydney addressed tackling challenges and tasks head on — like a rhino.

“We have learned to put all of our effort and drive into every aspect of our lives, whether that be academics, sports, affinity groups, Student Council, journalism, theater and arts, or whatever other passions we dedicated ourselves too, we charged,” Sydney said, referencing the rhinoceros. “Lab is about our memories, good or bad. No matter where we end up decades down the road, or who we turn out to be, we will always have those memories. We will remember the friends we made, the laughs we shared and the times we had.”

Commencement speaker Amy Solomon, a third-generation Lab lifer and member of the Class of 2010, encouraged graduates to celebrate the uniqueness and joy of the Lab experience.

“I’d encourage you take some time and reflect on all of the facts of life at Lab that have always just seemed normal, but in actuality, are incredibly special things that have shaped you: Rites of May, book swap, the Halloween parade, the gargoyles, giant gym night, the game at sixth grade camp, in which I could not have been killed faster, and the eighth grade D.C. trip, in which some of my classmates were sent home for swimming in the FDR memorial fountain,” Ms. Solomon said with a wide smile. 

Ms. Solomon also addressed the importance of appreciating experiences outside of accomplishments.

“What I want to impart is the stuff that’s made me happiest and proudest is pretty far outside of the stuff that makes me look good on paper,” Ms. Solomon said. “You guys are more than prepared for the hard stuff, to go after everything you want and more, but I want to encourage you to leave room for the fun stuff.”

Additional reporting contributed by Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu.