Grade 8 students Matthew and Samantha stand on stage together during the Closing Ceremony and deliver a speech in front of a large crowd.

Looking back to September 2019, when our current Grade 8 students entered Middle School, nobody knew that the overwhelming majority of their time in Middle School would be impacted by the pandemic.

That made this year's Grade 8 Closing Ceremony that much sweeter. For the first time in three years,  students, their parents and teachers were able to gather to celebrate the students' accomplishments, and their growth at the Middle School.

The ceremony included a great speech, written by Grade 8 students Samantha H. and Matthew S., that was both a recap of the school year and a reflection on their memories of their time at the Middle School.

You can read excerpts from their speech below.

Congratulations to our Grade 8 students. We wish you the best of luck as you begin Senior School in the fall.

Grade 8 Reflection

By Samantha H. and Matthew S., Grade 8

For lots of students, coming to Middle School was an extremely exciting experience. For Lifers like us, we had both friends from the Junior School that we were looking forward to sharing this new chapter with, but also were excited to know that our grade would expand so much to include new students.

What we learned was that the Middle School was and still is about growth.

As new Grade 6s, one of the first things we noticed was the incredible WEB program. It gave everyone the feeling that we were welcome at the school and allowed us to participate in fun activities such as pumpkin carving and gingerbread house building. It was so great to have a friendly Grade 8 face to look up to – literally, we were so tiny!

When COVID-19 started in our Grade 6 year, we were nervous about what was going to happen with school being shut down so suddenly, but in the end we were all so happy to have a strong remote learning system. When we came back in Grade 7 we didn’t feel behind in our learning, and that was something that made everyone so grateful. The school put so much effort into making a fun learning experience for all students even when we were away from school doing online learning.

But even though we made the best of remote learning we will never forget that great feeling of walking into Grade 7 after so much time away. Even though we were masked, cohorted and there were no competitive sports we were so happy to be anywhere else but our houses.

One of the highlights of my Middle School experience was the TAG Games. These were a super fun and competitive way to get all students engaged in the school. A personal favourite was the Reindeer Games, the school’s Christmas celebration. From toss the snowball to guessing teachers covered in gift wrap, there was always something amusing to look forward to. Some other fun tag games involved grapefruit bowling, Halloween costume competitions and more! I think I speak for the whole grade when I say that we were so excited when we were told that we got to finish our Friday with an opportunity to gain some more TAG points.

The Middle School was so full of academic opportunities that I could talk about it forever. All three years we had the opportunity to be involved in a science fair, which gave us the opportunity to explore a new topic that we are interested in. In Grade 7, one of my favourite projects was the Create Your Own Civilization project, where we got to make a fictional city with its own geography, religion, politics and more. 

Another highlight is the legacy squares that we made in art each year. These legacy art squares can be found around the school, and they are quotes that are made up of individual squares with letters on them, each letter being made by one of the students. It was super fun being able to contribute to this project. 

We had many highlights of Grade 8, but my one highlight throughout the entire year has been going out on my hiking group outtrips. I had such an amazing time hanging out with friends and learning the basic tips and tricks to survive in the wilderness

All in all, we have undergone a lot. COVID-19, masks, cohorts, bags of shredded cheese, and the general ups and downs of being a Middle Schooler! Yet through it all, we have had our friends to support us, our infinitely patient and motivating teachers who come to school each day with smiles on their faces even when we are being rabid little monsters, and, of course, the support of our families.

It has been a wild three years but we have come out strong, and the strength we have gained will serve us well as we move to the Senior School.