Students Share Inspiration and Gratitude at
2021 Graduation Ceremonies
At this year's fifth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade graduation ceremonies, student speakers shared funny, reflective, and inspiring stories.
Seniors Maddy Frech and Zach Benton—as well as Senior Celebration speaker Chiara Kim—expressed their gratitude for the positive ways the Rowland Hall community shaped their lives. Eighth graders Tessa Bartlett, Jojo Park, and Ainsley Moore reflected on the importance of friendship through their middle-school years, and several fifth-grade students thanked their teachers, family, and friends for creating a supportive and engaging learning environment in the Lower School—especially during a pandemic.
- Maddy Frech, Student Body President
- Zach Benton, Valedictorian
- Chiara Kim, Senior Celebration Speaker
- Tessa Bartlett, Eighth Grade
- Jojo Park and Ainsley Moore, Eighth Grade
- Fifth-Grade Speeches
Maddy Frech, Student Body President
Good morning graduates, faculty, friends, and family of the class of 2021! I strongly believe that acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all future successes and endeavors. As such, rather than focusing on the challenges and limitations that this year has undoubtedly presented us with, I’d like to instead concentrate on the joy and prosperity not just of this year, but of all the years I have been fortunate enough to attend Rowland Hall and call you my community. Specifically, I’d like to focus on one word in particular: gratitude.
It seems only fitting and proper to start by expressing gratitude to Rowland Hall’s administration and staff for making events, such as this graduation, possible. Their attention to our happiness and success is unparalleled at any other school or institution. From these incredibly kind, committed, and thoughtful people, I have learned the values of flexibility and follow-through. As student body president, they gave me the latitude to garner your feedback and suggestions to organize safe events to celebrate the class of 2021. While most of these events I consider successful, such as Senior Ice-Skating where nearly the entire grade came, I’d like to give a shout out to Ty Lunde for being the only person in the Red Cohort to attend the snowshoeing event with me, Mr. Geoxavier, and Dr. Kuntz. Way to represent, Ty! The administration spent a generous amount of time re-shifting and adjusting schedules and COVID screenings this year just to give us a glimpse of normality and connection. As someone who regularly met with them, I am grateful they exuded nothing but a can-do attitude. They met every request of ours with, “Let’s look into that and try to make it happen.” So, thank you to Rowland Hall’s administration. Your dedication to the class of 2021 did not go unnoticed, and for this we are eternally grateful.
Next, I’d like to extend our gratitude to all of Rowland Hall’s amazing teachers. Rather than rote memorization of historical facts or mathematical algorithms, the teachers encourage passionate curiosity, understanding, and perspective. This year, in particular, they needed to adapt their lesson plans to a hybrid learning system for more than half a year in order to thoroughly engage all of their students to the Rowland Hall standard of normal years past, a challenge they met with nothing but grit and determination. One teacher, in particular, that comes to mind that had to REALLY adapt their lessons is Dr. Bret Jackson in band. We went from rehearsing songs by the infamous jazz gods of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker with our traditional band instruments to trying to strum out the notes to John Denver’s “Country Roads” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” while masked and struggling on the guitar. Of course, in the case of Caio Brown and myself, singing the words to songs by Taylor Swift were of far greater importance than actually getting the notes right. We’re avid Swifties. For Jonah Thomas, however, playing the right notes came easy, and he surprised us all with yet another musical talent beyond his typical excellence on the trombone. I’ve attended Rowland Hall for 14 years. Myself and the other 24 lifers have had the joy of learning from dozens of the state’s top educators. This day is also about them. They molded us as students and individuals, and we are so incredibly grateful.
To all of our families, we are so grateful for all of your sacrifice and guidance in helping us become who we are today. From elementary to high school, there are many parents who contributed tirelessly to setting the foundation of and building upon our Rowland Hall community spirit. Ashley Holbrook and Erica Keil, who I like to call the dynamic duo, made countless memories possible in setting up, organizing, and/or serving food at Color day Events in Lower School, blacklight dances in Middle School, and many more. In everything they did, of which again there was A LOT, they watched our silly antics with a supportive smile. Additionally, there are some parents out there who parented not only their kids but many of the other students in this class. In elementary school, Brian Barker coached the Rowland Hall Firebirds recreational girls soccer team for six years. Considering how most of the people on this team now pursue dance in Rowland Hall or outside of it, this might speak to some of the challenges he faced in coaching soccer skills to us gals. The fact that team “Piña Colada,” named, I believe, by graduates Samantha Paisley and Elli Revenaugh, was forced to change our name for obvious youth soccer reasons, one year might also attest to yet another challenge posed to Coach Barker, whose main goal was for us to have fun memories. He succeeded. To the dynamic duo, Coach Barker, and all of you parents out there who went above and beyond to make today a time to reflect on the many happy memories we have had growing up in this immensely supportive community, we thank you. And personally, to my own family as well, especially my parents, thank you for letting me be my quirky self, for buying me the actual hundreds of colored highlighters I seem to need for my notes, and for loving me for me.
Finally, to my classmates. Growing up with many of you for the past 14 years, and even just in the past four years of high school, has been a true pleasure and inspiration. As we all are about to enter a new environment where we make new friends again, I’d like to thank my first two friends at Rowland Hall: Ellie Hyde and Izzy Cox. I will never forget how you made me feel welcomed on my first day at Rowland Hall nor how we relentlessly pestered Garrett Glasgow and Augustus Hickman during circle time and chased Jude Whitten and Carson Burian during recess. Of course, it comes as no surprise given their current athletic prowess that we could never actually catch them, but those were some truly good times. I’m also grateful to Ella Brown for not backing out of performing Hannah Montanna’s Hoedown Throwdown with me in the fifth grade for the talent show in front of the ENTIRE school.... Pop it. Lock it. Poke-a-dot-it. We will never forget this memory. In Middle School, Lily Scaife taught me the value of true friendship when we bonded over approaching the hardest math problems first on our homework. Pooshka, we are kindred spirits. And my friend Sophie Dau taught me how to speak really fast when we first became competitive debate partners in seventh grade, which actually came back to bite me when I read morning meeting announcements at mock-debate speed this year. My adventures with Charlotte Altman and Laisha Padilla on my Interim trips taught me how much more interesting it is to learn different cultures and travel when a friend is by your side. Obstacles and mistakes, be it on the playground, stage, or classroom, are made easier with friends. Friendship teaches you to love and support each other in good times and bad, in challenges and triumphs. To Miss Jacqueline Park, Chiara, Elena, Anna, Ashlee, Lily, KP, Ke’ea, Hodson, and Serena, I could not be more grateful nor blessed to call you my best friends throughout high school. To Noah, Matthew, Isaac, Augie, the Alexes, the Lundes, and especially Jesus Lamas, thank you for attending all the high school dances with us and making us laugh so hard we cried. I am grateful for all of the memories we share.
No graduation speech is complete without a quote. So, in the words of Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I am grateful to the administration for teaching us flexibility and dedication, to the educators for teaching us passionate curiosity, to our families for teaching us sacrifice and unconditional love, and to my fellow graduates for teaching us all the meaning and value of true friendship. Class of 2021, you are truly one of a kind. As we look to the future, be brave, be kind, but most of all, remember what Rowland Hall has taught us, and be grateful!
Zach Benton, Valedictorian
If, for some reason, the 65 of us were stranded on an island, I know for a fact that we would all survive. We’d thrive—we’d enjoy ourselves! There’s just something about the class of 2021 that’s so special; in my eyes, the word “teamwork” best describes this uniqueness. We work so well together—socially, academically. I see this everywhere: in orchestra class, when we play chamber music as a group and it feels so natural; or the first doubles team in boys tennis, Noah and Augie, who worked so well with each other that they were state champions this year. In track there are the senior relay teams that have set multiple school records this year, and outside of sports there are the strong friendships that we all have with each other. We pushed through these four years as a team, and now it is time for many of our paths to separate. Although we will always have unity, this ceremony marks the beginning of our collective transition from togetherness to separation, to being to some extent on our own.
This past year especially, I’m sure many of us have had intimate experiences with loneliness, maybe on at-home weeks when some of the only social interaction you got in a day was being on a Zoom meeting where the teacher is the only one who speaks. Even at school it was obvious how apart we were from each other; in the fall I remember walking down the deserted halls into a psych class of just a few people, and the senior parking lot was only ever half full, if that. Personally, as an introvert, the concept of being alone is no stranger to me. I find myself always craving a little alone time after a week filled with social interactions, just because of how relaxing it can be. But even so, this year when I moved from hybrid to distance learning in November, I was scared of being alone for months. I was scared that my friendships would fade from not seeing anyone regularly, and I was scared that this would leave me isolated even after those days of the pandemic. So I feared being on my own.
At first, this part of the year sucked! I missed everyone at school so much, and I didn’t get out of the house enough so I was not in a good place mentally, either. It was also the core of the college process, and on top of school, this meant plenty of late nights writing essays and studying, and lots of academic stress. Because of COVID, I also had to stop playing in an orchestra that I love, so I had a lot more time on my hands. I admit I spent a lot of this newfound time feeling sorry for myself, sulking, because of all this loss that was happening to me, but eventually this got old and I had to find a new, better use of my time. So I started to take walks around the hills in my neighborhood, listening to short stories on my phone. I timed these walks perfectly so that right when I hiked to the top of the biggest hill, the sun would touch the horizon over the salt lake, and I’d stand and watch the sunset as I listened to Ray Bradbury stories.
I started to look forward to these sunset walks as I moved through my day on the computer in Zoom class. One of those days I noticed that I was actually eager to be alone, anticipating that solitude that I would experience on the hill later that day. All of a sudden, I realized that I had unintentionally reframed my thinking about my situation, and that I had turned my loneliness into something else: a sort of meditative solitude.
As we part ways, class of 2021, I just want to leave y’all with a bit of wisdom that I learned this year. It’s okay to feel lonely, but loneliness is not as bad as it might seem. Mr. Wortham once told my friend group as we were leaving class that we are too codependent: I realize now that he was right in some way. It’s so important to know how to spend time by yourself—and to be okay with spending time by yourself—because this time can be crucial for you to relax, reflect, and grow as people. Thank you.
Chiara Kim, Senior Celebration Speaker
We have left many marks on Rowland Hall, both literally and figuratively. We wrote quotes on Mr. Robs’ wall, planted a tree on behalf of our class, created a bench out of sustainable materials, and completed countless academic artifacts. Our legacy is noticeable, both in these physical objects that we are leaving behind, but also in the model our class has set of academic strength, support, and kindness. I believe that this is the lasting influence we will leave upon one another and the school as a whole; the ways we have taught and influenced each other in a way that could only happen in the Rowland Hall community.
Ever since 3PreK, when I came to Rowland Hall, I have learned that the best resource to learn from is the people around you. I was so lucky to grow up with all of you, learning not only how to find the area under a curve and how to conduct a poststructuralist reading of Hamlet, but most importantly how to learn, think, and connect with others. It’s a typical saying that you learn something new everyday, but at Rowland Hall, I have learned something new in every class because of the close connections I was fortunate enough to have with all of you. I have learned that it is necessary to engage with a diversity of viewpoints to learn more about yourself and how you perceive the world around you. Not only have all of your diverse interests and experiences taught me this, but the sheer knowledge and insight that each one of you brings to each class has expanded my knowledge to an unimaginable extent.
Rowland Hall emphasizes discourse, teaching us how to present our ideas in every facet of our experience; from personal tea times with the preschool principal, Carol Blackwell, to our third-grade biography projects, to our seventh-grade poetry projects and our daily high school classroom discussions. Not only have I learned a lot about who I am from my experience at Rowland Hall, but I have also learned how to express my resulting opinions and ideas.
Of course, much of our success is attributed to our wonderful teachers, without whom I would not be where I am today. In each class, I learned how to engage with new ideas and new people as our teachers have immersed us in educational journeys that show us how to become better students and better people. Because of how approachable, brilliant, kind, and funny all of our teachers are, I have grown academically and personally to an incredible extent. Whether it was always being available to chat or developing our intelligence and other skills, our teachers have fostered our growth, as well as our connection to one another and to the world around us.
I was so lucky to grow up in a community where I could connect with everyone on a regular basis, whether it was chatting in the hall waiting for class to start, exchanging glances during class meetings, laughing over something in class, or complimenting one another’s outfits while passing each other in the senior lot. I know that each of us had our own experiences at Rowland Hall, and I think something that makes Rowland Hall so special is that within our small community, we generate a sense of consideration for one another’s unique paths. Something unique about our school, and our grade especially, is our culture of support for each other’s skills and successes. I always loved seeing everyone support us dancers at the dance concerts, cheering on friends at basketball and soccer games, and walking the halls to look at everyone’s amazing art. Despite the completely unique lives we have all been living, the ways in which we intersect and learn from each other on a daily basis has cultivated our special community in which even for brief moments, we all have connected with each other in some way.
In fourth grade, we all visited the Pingree Center next to the elementary school, where my brother went to school. I was nervous about everyone meeting my brother with autism and his peers, but upon realizing the empathy and care of the other students in the grade, who worked with the students we met with enthusiasm, I immediately relaxed. In middle school, we visited Alta High School to work at a field day for kids with disabilities; even though I was still nervous about sharing my experience, the kindness with which my peers treated everyone there made me feel a lot better. These experiences illustrated to me the kindness and curiosity with which our grade engages with the world around us, and I am so excited to see how the ways we’ve influenced one another affect how we engage with people around us to create positive change.
From all of you, I have learned that the importance of community comes from being able to celebrate diversity and embrace the learning that comes from engaging with many perspectives. I know that so much of what I know about myself and the world around me has come from growing up with all of you. I am going to miss all of you so much, and I am so excited to see how all of us use what we have learned at Rowland Hall, particularly from one another, along with our talents, new experiences and growth, and conviction of self, to change the world.
Congratulations, class of 2021! We did it!
Tessa Bartlett, Eighth Grade
August 31, 2020, marked the first day our grade was on campus for 171 days. At first it was weird, and we weren’t used to all the COVID protocols: masks, social distancing, pool noodles measuring how far apart we were. It was different; it was bizarre, but seeing everyone made up for all of the strangeness. I was ecstatic to be back and so was everyone else. When we arrived, we went straight into our advisory groups and started frantically greeting everyone. The morning was filled with an abundance of “How have you been?”s as everyone rushed to talk to those they hadn’t seen. It was a morning filled with excitement. Fast forward to June 2020. Even though the majority of our grade has now been back on campus together for a while, seeing someone who was previously doing distance learning is still exciting. Even those people who I’m not as close with, I’m always thrilled to see.
The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. One of the things that makes our grade unique is how well we embody kindness. I’m not saying we aren’t sarcastic and a little too comfortable with each other. I’m saying we’re extraordinary at being there for our best friends, and we’re amazing at treating people who we are more of acquaintances with kindness. For instance, in our grade people excel at being willing to work with anyone without being rude or difficult about it. I think this is an important quality of our grade that allows us to be more inclusive and friendly.
Another thing that makes our grade unique is our level of participation in everything. In almost every club, activity, and sport there will be at least one eighth grader. Whether it’s science club, MATHCOUNTS, debate, student council, publications, orchestra, band, dance, visual art, volleyball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, or cross country, our grade will be there. We partake in everything. For instance, at our grade level movie night last week, tons of people showed up.
Even though all the grade-specific activities we’ve done might not be unique to our grade, our memories of them and what happened during them are. In sixth grade, we started the year with our Wasatch Adventures trips: going to the National Ability Center, hiking, rock climbing, paddleboarding, and rafting. We constructed hot air balloons from tissue paper, went to Liberty Park to test the water, and learned about Athens vs. Sparta. In seventh grade, we went to the Tetons for a week. It was extremely enjoyable to spend time together, dorm together, and leave Salt Lake as a grade without any of our parents. Every evening, we did a team bonding activity—during one we saw a moose. In the room that I was in, one night we played with glow sticks and did face masks, which was super fun. COVID began during our seventh-grade year and we transitioned to remote learning. I remember our last week on campus we had a social distanced assembly to tell us the news, and we had practice Zooms in all of our classes to prepare us for what was to come. Then we began our distance learning. It started with just morning classes and confusion. After the two weeks we were supposed to be gone for had long passed, we started our new normal. We had more Zoom classes and the word asynchronous became a fundamental part of school. This year, eighth grade, has also been unique with half of the year spent doing hybrid learning. At the beginning of this year, we got split into two cohorts—red and green—only half of us could be on campus at a time so half of our class would Zoom in. We also got split into MESH groups that we attended math, English, science, and history with. Overall, this year has been bizarre but everyone’s adjusted and made the best of it to turn it into an awesome year—all because we were kind to each other.
Thank you so much to everyone: teachers, administrators, coaches, staff, parents and caregivers, extended family, and my peers for making my middle school years extraordinary. Before I end, I want to offer an extra goodbye to everyone who’s leaving—you will be missed, and I wish you the best moving forward. For all those who are staying, I can’t wait to see you next year. Have a great summer!
Jojo Park and Ainsley Moore, Eighth Grade
Jojo: Hello, everybody, I am Jojo Park.
Ainsley: And I am Ainsley Moore.
Something you might not know about me is that I have a geek obsession with Marvel. Tony Stark, or, if that doesn’t ring a bell, Iron Man, once said, “Part of the journey is the end.” When Iron Man says this, the Avengers have just lost Infinity War and half of the universe's population has ceased to exist. Tony knows that the endgame is near and that in order to complete the mission, they must move towards the end while also reflecting on the things that made them win and lose before. While our eighth-grade class may not be trying to save the world like the Avengers, we are trying to find our purpose and move towards our futures, and today is one of the checkpoints throughout our life experience.
The past three years have had their ups and downs, but as they come to a close, I’m realizing that our grade is less like the little groups it was in sixth grade and more like our very own Avengers team or Rowland Hall family. Today we want to thank and recognize this community.
Jojo: Whether you came to Rowland Hall in this whirlwind of a year, or you have been a lifer, we all have been a family of Winged Lions, whether for a short period of time or for multiple birthdays. We are here today to recognize what makes Rowland Hall so special: the teachers who made it seem possible to learn while the world was shutting down around us, our friends who picked us up more times than we can count, and the families who gave us the opportunity to learn and grow at this school.
Rowland Hall has taught me the tiny things, like if Ms. Donnelly gets out in foursquare, just ask if she needs to take a lap around the field to cool down. But it’s also taught me the big things, like it's okay to make a mistake and to not be “perfect” because that's what makes us human. The faculty and teachers at Rowland Hall will try their absolute hardest to show you that you make a difference in a world where difference is sometimes frowned upon.
Ainsley: For example, I want to thank Ms. Lawlor for creating the best learning environment for me starting in middle school. She created an amazing sixth-grade experience and continues to make me smile when I pass her in the hall. As I moved into seventh grade, Ms. Miller always helped me see that not all history is boring and helped me find my love for debate. I want to thank her for always being an engaging teacher even when we were online at the end of the year.
Jojo: Doug Booher and I said “You’re awesome” to each other over hundreds of times. I will never forget the support I felt from him through every up and down I endured and the amount of affection and love he had towards teaching volleyball. Moving on into eighth grade, I will never forget Ms. Donnelly’s love and passion for teaching students science, but, more importantly, showing me the strength to adapt and be willing to live in the unknowns of this year. I will always have the memories of having tea parties with Ms. Marker. We brought our mugs, and she had the tea and cookies. She was one of the teachers that really wanted the best for her students, but, more importantly, understood the challenges of this year.
Ainsley: A lesson I will always remember from Mr. Stern is to never talk about “straight lines” in front of a math teacher because, apparently, all lines are straight. The last teacher we want to thank is Ms. Vasquez. She has changed me as a reader and writer. And I know I will always remember the occasional Expo marker or creative essay flying in my direction whenever I gave her a hard time.
What helped Jojo and I get through this year are the friendships we have made that have changed our lives and made it seem possible to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no words to narrate the amount of strength that our grade had by leaning on each other this year. Friends were always there for us, whether it was the laughter and shouting going on while playing Scattergories or the memories and craziness of Just Dance in Ms. Vasquez’s room. For that and so much more, our grade has taught us what true friends are. The memories and friendships that happened on the foursquare court were something that Jojo and I never thought would occur. Foursquare was something that we all looked forward to everyday and I hope that our grade continues to find creative and easy ways to come together.
Jojo: Countless people always knew how to cheer us up. Through our laugh attacks, sarcasm, and foursquare games, we have never had a grade that made us enjoy the fun in life as much as this grade. And finally, we appreciate the support we had from our fellow classmates. Whether it was helping manage the stress of finding angles or getting through the confusion of what a reflexive verb was in Spanish, we were always in it together, and Ainsley and I couldn't have asked for a better eighth-grade class. For the past eight years, this school has been my home, and although I am leaving Rowland Hall, I will never forget the connections I have made with the teachers and faculty here. The memories that built up, all of our different experiences at Rowland Hall, will never leave us. So as we are all here today at the end of this part of our journey, remember the advisories, friendships, lunches, electives, sports, and classes that made up a part of who we have become. Wherever your life and your journey takes you, remember that we will always and forever be a family in the Winged Lions den.
Thank You, Rowland Hall by Jack G.
Hello, my name is Jack G. I have been at Rowland Hall all of my life and I would like to say thanks. Thank you for all the help. You have given me an amazing education with so many great teachers: Dave from second grade, Mrs. Pectol and Erika in fourth grade, Sara in third grade, and all my fifth-grade teachers. Rowland Hall has been a super supportive community and I have so many good friends, and I will continue to be a part of this community as long as I can. I have done so many big fun projects going back to third grade when we did Rube Goldberg, and poetry reports, all the way through fifth grade, when we had the Science Share and colonial projects. Two other memories I have are writing so many of our own poems in second grade and writing book reports in fourth grade. Hopefully, there will be many more projects to come in middle school.
I hope all of my teachers remember me and all my classmates for many years to come. I would also like to thank all of the specialty teachers for teaching me sports, art, music, and all the others. Thank you for listening to my speech and helping me have an amazing experience in the Lower School.
My Time at Rowland Hall by Luke G.
Hello, my name is Luke. I’ve been here at Rowland Hall since third grade. When I first came to the school in third grade I was very scared, as it seemed that everyone knew each other, but as I met more people I realized how accepting the school is to new students, teachers, and anyone from other schools and different places. Sara was my teacher in third grade and we practiced things like engineering and poetry reading, “Love That Dog,” and making Rube Goldberg machines with groups. In fourth grade, we worked on writing and field studies, doing our Wordly Wise and going on field trips. Sadly, near the end of fourth grade, we took our iPads home and started online school. After it was announced that we would be back in school for fifth grade, I came into the grade knowing that the year would be different for everybody. Nevertheless, the fifth-grade team was split into smaller cohorts, which meant that teachers would be teaching subjects for the whole grade while also having to take care of their own cohort. Through the year, we’ve all had things go wrong and have had to sacrifice something to keep the community safe. We’ve all had to miss things like having buddies or going on fewer field trips, and we had to wear face masks. So to everyone in the Rowland Hall community I say, thank you.
Our Experience at Rowland Hall by Grady M. and Brynn C.
Brynn: Hello, fifth graders. My name is Brynn.
Grady: And my name is Grady.
Brynn: We wanted to share some good times we had throughout the years.
Grady: In first grade, I had Susanna; she was always so friendly.
Brynn: In first grade, I had Alex; sadly, she is no longer at this school. Alex always put others before herself.
Grady: In second grade, I had Dave. He always emphasized on how much he liked Twix.
Brynn: In second grade, I had Katie. She liked Kit Kats, so after Halloween I brought her Kit Kats.
Grady: In third grade, we both had Jasmine; she also isn’t at the school anymore.
Brynn: We did our first student-led conference in third grade.
Grady: In fourth grade, we both had Ms. Love.
Brynn: Halfway through the year we switched to online learning.
Grady: This change was hard, but Ms. Love helped us get through it.
Brynn: When I heard Carly was teaching our fifth-grade advisory, I was so happy.
Grady: It was a different year, but Carly helped me get through it so much better.
Brynn: We also want to give a thank-you to our fifth grade class; this year wouldn’t be the same without them.
Grady: Sra. Abby always makes me excited to learn.
Brynn: Jen is a great teacher; she always had a new challenge for us to tackle.
Grady: Mr. O taught me a lot about math this year and is a great teacher.
Brynn: This year has been fun even though it was different.
Grady: We would like to thank our friends and family for helping us through this year.
Both: This time in the Lower School has gone by way too fast!
My Fifth-Grade Experience by Charlie W.
Hello. My name is Charlie W. During my fifth-grade experience, my favorite class has always been science. Science is so much fun and all the activities are awesome. My favorite science activity is the Science Share. The fifth-grade teachers are the best. Jen is really nice and she is really kind and caring. Mr. O is the funniest teacher I have ever had. Ms. Carly is our science teacher and she teaches us so many cool things about nature and chemical reactions. Sra. Abby is our Spanish teacher and because of COVID she is also our language arts teacher. She is really funny as well. I do hope you enjoyed my speech and hope you have a great year during your fifth-grade year.
My First and Last Year of Elementary School at Rowland Hall by Ella W.
Coming into a new environment in the middle of a pandemic was challenging for me, but Rowland Hall made the experience easier.
I was so sad about moving away from my friends and my old school at first. When school just started at Rowland Hall, I was worried about what it was going to be like. I was nervous at the beginning of the school year, but found out that the experience was actually very exciting. The staff, teachers, and students are so kind and caring. The staff helped me a lot when I didn’t understand what to do. All the teachers I met were very welcoming. I definitely feel that they have helped me in my learning experience, and I think that their way of teaching is very effective. All of my teachers have encouraged me to take academic challenges, and I am very grateful for that.
During distance learning, my advisor was so kind, and drove to my house to drop off the supplies I needed. The students here are friendly, and all so inclusive. I’ve made wonderful new friends, and they are all very special. People are always so helpful. They’re what makes this school so special.
I’m so grateful that my mom found this wonderful school for me to go to. I’m really happy with the way that fifth grade went, and I hope sixth grade will be just as amazing.
Our Rowland Hall Experience by Sam H. and Asher B.
Sam: From field trips to donuts, to bug catching, to book making, to Color Day. Hello, my name is Sam H.
Asher: And mine is Asher B.
Sam: And this has been our Rowland Hall experience.
Asher: Sam and I have been in the same class since 3PreK, so we’re pretty good friends.
Sam: Rowland Hall has been an amazing experience and we are extremely thankful to be here.
Asher: For first grade, we had Mrs. April; she helped us learn many helpful things like how to read and write!
Sam: What was your favorite subject in first grade?
Asher: I don’t know, probably recess. What was yours?
Sam: Ummmmmmmm, this is a hard one… recess! In second grade, we had Beverly. We learned a lot about the human body and health.
Asher: We also got to play with Orbeez. I don’t remember why or what the purpose was, but it was fun.
Sam: Jazmin was our third-grade teacher. She helped us learn how to write cursive and do multiplication.
Asher: Remember the time she gave us those donut holes?
Sam: Ohhhhhh, yeah, those were gooood.
Asher: Mrs. Pectol and Erika were our fourth-grade teachers. This was a vvvvvvery different year because of COVID-19.
Sam: Mrs. Pectol and Erika helped us learn how to do easy division.
Asher: How many times did you fall asleep during class on Zoom?
Sam: To be honest, way too many times.
Asher: Fifth grade was our final year. And for our advisory we had Carly, the science teacher. Fifth grade was a big year; we had the science fair. Sam’s science fair question was not very serious.
Sam: Talking to plants is serious, ASHERR! They have feelings too.
Asher: What a great experience. Thank you, all the teachers and staff in the Lower School, for helping us have the best Rowland Hall experience ever.
Sam: The Lower School of Rowland Hall will live in our memories the rest of our lives.
Asher: Thank you for listening to our speech.
William’s Lower School Experience by William Y.
Hello, my name is William. Today I will be talking to you about my whole Rowland Hall experience through the years, starting in kindergarten. I don’t remember much about kindergarten, but I do remember my teachers’ names: Katie and Vicki!
In first grade, I met a lot of friends and had one of my favorite teachers: Susanna Mellor. I thought it was pretty cool because we had homework. Homework made me feel grown up and I was always proud of myself whenever I finished anything.
Second grade was a big step up. I found out that I would have more homework and more projects. I remember one time I had this project about a book we were reading, and illustrated what the main character looked like. I loved my second-grade teacher, Dave. He was so nice and kind and always had stories for us.
Third grade was really exciting. My teacher, Sara, was very kind, nice, and energetic. I loved a new thing I got to do; learn cursive! When I moved on to fourth grade it was a lot of fun. I met my favorite teacher of all time, Mr. Stack! He was a very calm and funny guy. When the pandemic hit, it was a rollercoaster. This was probably how it felt for the whole school going to distance learning. I admire all of our fellow students for our resiliency. It was an unprecedented 2020 experience.
This year, we were able to be back on campus and fifth grade has been really fun. It was great being able to do things like the settlement project and the Science Share. I have really enjoyed my time at Rowland Hall so far and look forward to moving on to middle school.
The Pig by Mae W. and Vivi K.
We know these speeches are boring, so we’ll try to make it quick. Let's start off with the beginning of the Lower School. We like to think of this school as a pig. It’s hard to explain, but what we mean by this is: you eat all the good stuff first. In first grade you get the bacon, because you are so excited to start off a new school year. Then you get less excited and you eat the pork chops. Then in third you get a bit more excited and eat the ham. In fourth, you eat the ears because you go on lots of field trips and explore. And finally, in fifth, you eat the snout. This is because you can’t wait to get to middle school. See, I told you it was hard to explain.
Now let's go into detail about individual grades. In first grade, you barely get any homework, apart from reading and writing. In second grade, you get a little bit of homework, but not too much. You start to do a lot of reading in class. In third, you do a lot of projects like the Rube Goldberg machine and making hats to donate. In fourth, you study our very own state, Utah, and get a lot more homework. In fifth grade, you do stuff like the American Revolution. One of the projects is writing a journal as a colonist. In conclusion, all the teachers are very fun and we hope you have a great time at the Lower School.
Our Time at Rowland Hall by Tori S. and Nyki Y.
In first grade, I had Mrs. April. I remember having third-grade buddies. They helped us with projects that would have been hard without them; we also did fun activities with them.
In second grade, I had Beverly as my teacher and she was really fun to work with. Second grade was also the year I started going to Rowland Hall. Everyone at the school makes sure you feel welcomed here.
In third grade, I had Sara. My favorite project was Rube Goldbergs with a group. My group was trying to close a cabinet door with a basketball, but sadly it didn’t work.
In fourth grade. I had Mrs. Love as my teacher, and it was also a year to remember since it was the year that COVID started. And since COVID started we were at home which was really different but still fun.
In fifth grade, we both had Mr. O as our advisor, but this year is kind of unique because we have all of the fifth-grade teachers. They are all great and you will love them.
At the start of the year, I was at home for a month which wasn’t very fun since I didn't get to see my friends. Then I came back! This year we learned a lot about American history, which was really fun, and we also did a bunch of fun projects and activities about it.
Now we are heading off to middle school.
End-of-the-Year Speech by Barrett W. and Marlowe H.
Greetings, Rowland Hall students and staff! Today we will be talking about our experience at the Rowland Hall Lower School. We will talk about our amazing staff, the great students, and the wonderful campus.
We have had many fun projects this year, including the American Revolution mini project and the autobiography project. In STEM, we have done units on probability; we also have done engineering projects like catapults. For our Learning Centers, we have been reading The Ickabog and practicing grammar. We have done many other things in this school, but our speech would take way too long if we talked about them all. We want to thank all the teachers for all the awesome projects.
We are grateful for all the people that have made this year a blast. This year has been really unique to say the least. We both were distant learners for most the year until recently coming back to campus. This gave us a special experience of learning this year. As soon as I came back to campus I was welcomed warmly and genuinely had a fun time.
For those of you that are unaware, we are going to middle school next year. This means some of us will part ways. But we will never forget those that we part with and their contribution to this community. This year has had its ups and downs, but let's end the year strong! Have a great summer break everyone!
Also, shout-out to Mr. Stack; he is awesome!
Commencement Speech by Ada T.
Hi. I’m Ada T., and I have been at Rowland Hall since kindergarten. When I first came to Rowland Hall I had to learn how to fit into a different type of learning environment. This experience of learning how to make friends and do more interactive learning helped prepare me for future challenges. In my opinion, one of the best things about humans is that we are able to adapt to new situations. Throughout history, humans learned how to build communities, persevere through war and disease, and find ways to make life easier.
This year will likely be the most memorable of our elementary school years. Practically ALL aspects of our lives have changed in some way, especially at school. Nevertheless, throughout this challenging year, we learned that we can still play foursquare while wearing masks; we can still chat with friends at lunch from six feet apart; we can still put on a Science Share outdoors. Before school started this year, I didn’t know how fun school would be with all the new protocols. But this year ended up being one of my favorite years at Rowland Hall. I learned that we can do things that may seem impossible, like learning IN person, DURING a pandemic, ALL year long. Our amazing teachers helped make things feel more normal. In the future, I hope that when we are confronted with something we are unfamiliar with, we will remember that nothing is impossible if we are willing to give change a chance.
Our Memories throughout Rowland Hall by Callie L. and Jules F.
Hello students, family, and faculty. We are here right now because we want to show our appreciation for everything the Rowland Hall community has done for us. We want to take this opportunity to say thank you. So thank you, for every chance you have given us, for always believing in us no matter what happens. We have had so many good experiences. Here are some of them.
When Jij dressed up in cardboard boxes for Maker Night; it was so funny and it made my day. One more good experience is when Dave Sidlow kept saying that he had a jacuzzi in his cabinet. Finally, we are also so thankful that Rowland Hall has made it possible for us to keep going to school in these hard times.
Now, we would like to make some shout-outs to some of our teachers that really made an impact. To Mr. Stack for always believing in us. To Ms. Czar for always encouraging us to use our creativity. We would like to mention our thankfulness and appreciation for Jij, our Lower School principal, who will be leaving us this year but we just wanted to say thank you, Jij, and good luck wherever you go. Thank you to all of the Rowland Hall community for making our Lower School experience so amazing and special.
Thank You, Teachers and Everyone Who Has Helped Me in the Lower School by Miles B.
Hello, everyone. During my time here at Rowland Hall, I’ve had many different teachers and all of them have had different teaching approaches, all of them kind but in different ways. They all helped me to learn.
In first grade, I had April, who was very kind and easygoing. In second grade, I had Katie, who was kind, forgiving, and would sometimes give us gum on spelling tests. In third grade, I had Jeanne and Erika. Jeanne was kind and she read Molly Moon to us, and Erika was kind of firm but would tell us the greatest stories that related to whatever we were doing. In fourth grade, I had Ms. Pectol and Erika. Ms. Pectol was really nice, but when needed she could also be firm.
Finally, this year in fifth grade, I had all four teachers. They were all kind and could be firm when necessary. Sra. Abby was my advisor and learning centers teacher; Mr. O was my STEM teacher; Jen was my humanities teacher; and, finally, Carly was my independent work teacher. She always wanted me and my class to get our stuff finished.
To anybody here who I didn’t mention, I want to thank you too. That includes my friends and other faculty in the school. You have all made these past five years great.