TMS Board Chairman Kathryn Kay opened the ceremony by recognizing how the class of 2021 has overcome the challenges they faced while experiencing their senior year amidst a global pandemic. “Our goal, as we seek to educate the whole person, is to see each student prepared to face whatever the future may bring and to know without question that God loves them, has a purpose for their life, and will guide them, direct them, and stand with them through whatever they may face,” Kay said. “While students are here, we seek to challenge them to think out of the box, to face difficulties creatively, and to learn how to utilize a failure at a task as a learning tool which forces them to rethink a problem and approach it from a different perspective. This class of 2021 has demonstrated these characteristics as they have, along with our faculty, accepted academic challenges previous classes have never had to face and have done it with flexibility, courage, and fortitude.”
Each of the seventeen graduates (including the international seniors who attended virtually) were recognized and honored by a faculty member who noted the graduate’s admirable qualities, accomplishments, and future plans. Each faculty member also reflected on the special relationship he or she had developed with the student he or she was honoring.
Highlights of the ceremony included speeches from several students reflecting on their high school experience and thanking their families, teachers and classmates; a musical performance of “Amazing Grace” by two seniors; scripture readings by students; and a student-led turning of the tassel. The ceremony also included both a photo and video montage of the graduates during their years at The Master’s School.
Four members of the class of 2021 have attended The Master’s School since Kindergarten or earlier. Nicole Allen, Nolan Grandell, Matthew Piechocki and Michael Piechocki spoke about the deep bonds and friendships they have formed over the 13+ years they have been in the same class. Senior Matthew Piechocki said in his graduation speech, “I have been blessed to be able to create long-lasting bonds with some of my classmates who have become very close friends, and have formed dear relationships to last a lifetime. We should hold dear to those bonds and be thankful that God has blessed us with such special people and wonderful memories.”
Each graduate was presented with their diploma as well as their unique class of 2021 medallion designed by class Valedictorian Jean Pondugula. One especially emotional moment for all in attendance was when senior Nicole Allen was presented her diploma by her grandfather, former TMS Headmaster Don Steele.
Head of School Ray Lagan closed the graduation ceremony with his Charge to the class of 2021. “We are all drinking from wells we did not dig,” Lagan said, “I do not care how rich or successful you will become, remember you are there because someone else put things in motion first that allowed you to succeed. We are all warmed by fires we did not build. At some point you were small and feeble and someone (possibly someone in this room right now--a parent, a teacher, a friend) took steps to keep you warm and nurture you to the next step. Be sure to say ‘thank you.’” Lagan ended by challenging the class of 2021 to stand tall, lead well, and honor God.