commencement sub hero

Nueva’s first twelfth-grade Commencement was a special afternoon filled with many delights. From the excitement of the students meeting on the Bay Meadows campus and getting ready, through their bus trip to the Hillsborough campus, to their smiling procession to their seats under the tent on the Hillsborough campus sports field, their faces told the story: we’re here and we’re ready!

For everyone in attendance, this commencement was so much more than the recognition of the completion of high school requirements and the conferral of degrees. It was the completion of a dream, and with more than 1,000 students, faculty, and guests looking on, the afternoon brought these dreams to reality.

The venue was intentionally designed for intimacy. With the arrangement of seats, large screens, and high-quality sound system, each attendee felt involved in the ceremony.

Stephen Dunn warmly welcomed the community members, and with great affection told the students just how much they’ve accomplished as the founding class of the Upper School. “Not only did you complete high school, with a remarkably rigorous curriculum and classes that challenged you to ask difficult questions and support your work with thoughtful research, creative solutions and iteration after iteration, you also built the Upper School. Each year you pioneered new classes, teams, trips, and adventures. You embraced each challenge with enthusiasm, passion, hunger and curiosity. You demanded more and kept pushing for even greater challenges.”

Jennifer White, Upper School English and literature teacher, warmly spoke to the student with her three simple messages: “thank you, we love you, you are free.” She thanked the students for all they gave to her and other faculty — the spiritual food of new ideas, the deep affection, and inspiration. She expressed love for them and encouraged them to stay connected to their Nueva teachers while creating new constellations of teachers and students in their lives. She reminded them that they have freedom now — freedom from limitations they might worry about and freedom to imagine their life anew, at any time.

Student speakers Meera S. and Ananya R. each gave a glimpse into their high school journeys. Meera reflected on the question, “Does Nueva prepare you for your future, for your college, for your life?” She illuminated how the learning culture that permeates Nueva’s high school experience “aims not to prepare you for the future, but to unleash you in the present…. Nueva is a place that turns someday into today.”

Ananya illustrated through examples how the many moments of high school continued to feed the sense of awe she carried with her from Nueva’s Hillsborough campus. “These moments have built our class, criss-crossing and threading us together.”

Aron Walker, Upper School chemistry teacher, twelfth grade dean, and Nueva alumnus of the eighth grade class of 1999, expressed what it means him to be of Nueva. “To be of Nueva is not to share a specific set of experiences, buildings, or activities, but to embrace a way of learning and living. The school’s motto is ‘learning by doing, learning by caring,’ and in life the learning never stops; to be of Nueva is living by doing and living by caring.”

Members of the Soundwaves filled the space with music, performing “Winter Song,” by The Head and the Heart, with its fitting message of reflection and connection. Bruce Cozadd, Board Chair, took a moment to appreciate Nueva’s faculty for being the heart and soul of the school, and went on to congratulate the Class of 2017.

Diplomas were presented by Diane Rosenberg, Head of School, Bruce Cozadd, and Stephen Dunn. Five parents, including Bruce, who serve as trustees on Nueva’s Board presented their graduating seniors with their diplomas.

In closing, Diane Rosenberg reminded the graduates that they have been the pioneers, fulfilling their role not only as students, but also as teachers. “With your joy and sense of community, strong emotional intelligence, and openness to new experience, you have educated the educators and your parents.” She reminded them of how much they are valued for who they are, and, with appreciation and love for each one of them, she launched the Class of 2017.


2017 Commencement Speeches

Aron Walker, Faculty

Jennifer White, Faculty

Ananya R., Graduate

Meera S., Graduate



Photo Credit: Compass Photographers


 June 23, 2017



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