Seniors, parents and high school faculty gathered together on the evening of Friday, October 28th in celebration of the Class of 2017. Beneath hanging lights and lanterns, the class reminisced about their time at ACS and excitedly looked ahead under the theme of “Catch Your Dreams.” Adorned with dream catchers for the occasion, the Rabbit Field also featured a photo booth, a table with cards for students to thank their teachers, and a signed Class of 2017 poster.
Senior class student Jana Assi, who is an ACS lifer, expressed mixed feelings about graduating. “There are no words to express how I feel right now. I’ve been here my whole life and I don’t know anything else but I am excited and ready to see what else is out there.” Jana hopes to study marketing in Lebanon or the UK next year.
Senior Robert Koeck is looking forward to “starting a more independent life,” although he will “miss the simplicity and ease of life” of his time at ACS.
ACS parent Ziad Zebian spoke of the impact ACS has had on his son’s life, remarking “my son is confident, open, independent and expresses his own opinions.” Zebian’s son will most likely stay in Lebanon for college. “I will be more at ease if he is still under my supervision,” he exclaimed with a smile. But he says it is too early to think about graduation. “They still have most of the year to go. I hope the students don’t get ‘senioritis’ and think they’re done after this celebration.”
Indeed, others expressed similar sentiments, as this was the first year that the school has hosted the celebration this early in the school year. “Typically, ‘Celebrating the Seniors Night’ takes place at the end of the year, but based on feedback from years past regarding the non-stop schedule of graduation events, we decided to host the dinner earlier,” said coordinator of the event Danai El Hajj Ibrahim ’06, Director of Alumni Affairs. “We wanted to kick off the event now so that the end of the year doesn’t feel so rushed.”
The program for the evening included remarks from Head of School Greg MacGilpin and High School Principal Rob Allison. MacGilpin encouraged students to thank the people who helped them get here; to consider their identity beyond ACS; to think about how they present themselves to strangers and how they are regarded by their peers. “Don’t just thank your current teachers, but thank your KG2 teacher, your middle school science teacher, your coaches, the security guards — everyone who has helped you on your way. Now that it’s October, you have the opportunity to take that moment and thank them before you leave,” said MacGilpin.
Rob Allison urged students to disregard time and focus on place. “Having this event earlier in the year may be valuable in that it rethinks our focus not around time but around space … So what is it that we hold on to and that gives us meaning? In many ways, the way we form memory is through our connections to space … and by this I mean making connections to the people, having difficult emotional engagements…and in that sense you take a geographic space and you make it into a place.” Allison concluded his remarks warmly, expressing that he certainly hopes ACS will be a place in each student’s heart.
Senior class student Samia El Harake brought the house down with a vocal performance that included “Hometown” by Adele. And selected student speakers Mohamed Makki, Sima Bu Jawdeh, Dana Zahreddine and faculty speaker Rebecca Naughton ended the night by addressing the crowd with words of wisdom and encouragement, as well as some of their favorite Class of 2017 memories.