FS GradThe week leading up to Nueva’s first twelfth-grade graduation has been woven from the unique threads that make our school such a powerful community of learners.  It has been full of opportunities for reflection, interdisciplinary learning, and student-centered experiences.


Senior Trip

As May turned to June, all of the seniors were traveling throughout the region on road trips they designed during the year. Staying at farms, hotels, and the houses of family and friends, our seven senior advisories set off in different directions and reconvened in Big Pine to prepare themselves for the transition ahead.

“The explicit goal of the final advisory trips was to put students in the driver’s seat of the learning — designing an experience that captures immersive and experiential way of exploring the world,” said Dean of Students Mike Peller. “We also hoped that the experience would allow our graduating students to have the conversations and moments for reflection necessary in preparing themselves for this exciting transition. 

“This remarkably special class has been instrumental in co-creating the Upper School alongside the administration.  We wanted space to acknowledge that.”

 Reevaluate. Challenge. Continue. Refute. Remind. Remember. Cherish.

These words were among those shared by seniors at the culminating activity of the road trip. They were asked to tell the story of their intentions moving forward from their time at Nueva in a single verb.

Upper School Head Stephen Dunn said to the faculty, “It was a privilege to share some time with [the seniors] in Big Pine and see them continue the thoughtful and careful trek toward graduation. The stories from each group captured the serious, silly, and touching moments from their advisory trips. It was clear that they relished the last opportunity to be with friends and then together as a class to reflect on who they are and who they hope to become.”


Shakespeare Performances

Among the most immersive and dynamic events of the week are the senior Shakespeare plays that are part of the culminating event for the “Shakespeare in the World” seminars.  Five senior English classes spent their last semester studying five Shakespeare plays and their famous adaptations and then wrote their own highly original adaptations that they performed for students and members of the community.

Asked about the experience of putting on a Shakespearean production during the last week of their Nueva education, one student offered, “This had been one last chance for fun and ‘hooliganry.’ It is our last collaborative project as a class. Each class was structured differently during the year — looking at the texts in a variety of ways. It is cool to see everything come together.”

Another student added, “We are using skills from other classes — making props in the I-Lab. Everyone can bring something unique to the process, so in many ways, it felt interdisciplinary and like much more than just a senior English project.”

When writing their adaptations, students found themselves working through topics from community discussions, such as gender stereotypes. For example, The Taming of the Bros, an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, takes on toxic masculinity. Other productions had fun transposing their play into unusual settings, such as an absurdist and musical take that has Macbeth being retold in a decrepit mattress store.

Reflecting on the process, one student said, “Writing adaptations has forced us to think like the characters. Writing in their voices makes you get to know them.” 


Quest Night

On Wednesday night, the seniors presented their Quest projects, which this year focused heavily on sharing the process of their individual investigations. Much of the work was completed during the spring term.

Jen Paull said, “It was terrific to discuss each project’s twists and turns with the students. I was dazzled by everything from cello arrangements to lock-picking to an electricity-powered paramotor. The most impressive moments, though, were the conversations about workflow — the challenges, the breakthroughs, the sheer excitement of trying something new or continuing with a special endeavor.”


Last Day of School Events

On Friday during the day, the senior class, with the rest of the community, will take part in the last all-school meeting, final advisory gatherings, and a barbeque sponsored by the NPA. 


Graduation Events

Three graduation events, the Lifer Dinner, the Senior Dinner, and Commencement will also celebrate the members of the Class of 2017.

In keeping with Nueva’s tradition of putting students at the center of each experience, the student graduation committee was intimately involved in the planning for these events. The committee polled their classmates in choosing the faculty speakers, held listening forums for students’ speeches, and voted to have caps and gowns and a traditional procession. The 2017 diplomas and brochures were designed by senior Briana D.


 June 9, 2017



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