Sixth formers express mixed feelings about end-of-year send-off


Illustration by Aidan Ma ’23.

Despite the challenges and uncertainty presented to the Hill community within the last year, the announcement Headmaster Zach Lehman made about 6th form commencement plans seems to have preserved hope for some, and a well-deserved celebration for the Hill graduating Class of 2021 is on the horizon. The current plan, though it is surely susceptible to change, is for all underformers, both day students and boarders, to depart campus early for summer break on Wednesday, May 26.

The 6th form class, however, will remain on campus for three days, leading up to their Baccalaureate and Commencement, which are scheduled to take place in-person. In his written address to the school, Lehman asserted that “this change of plans will allow the Class of 2021 to safely enjoy many of Hill’s time-honored graduation traditions with their classmates without jeopardizing in-person learning.”

The Headmaster was also able to provide students with some insight as to what the three days for the 6th form class will look like, writing that “we intend for the sixth form to enjoy many of traditional closing events in a normal fashion such as Karaoke Night, the Sixth Form Retreat, Sixth Form Dance, Legacy Tea, the Alumni Induction Brunch, and Class Day Awards between Wednesday, May 26 and Saturday, May 29.”


As the news came out, various members of the 6th form took different opinions on the closing plans –– some were grateful for the opportunity to experience these traditions in-person alongside their form, while others were upset about the decision to send the underclassmen home. 


“I feel hopeful about graduation. I know that there’s not a lot that can be done, but I’m happy that at least parents will be able to come and see us graduate, and whatever form of graduation we will have, I’ll take it.” -Malika Saluja 


“I feel like as a form we have lost so much of the ‘Hill’ experience due to COVID, and I am glad that Hill has taken the steps to ensure that we get to have the most important traditions. Although it won’t be the same as in years past, it is definitely better than nothing.” -Kirsten Lange


“I think it was really considerate of the school to figure out plans for us to have the most normal senior experience possible.” -Zoya Holin


“I am fortunate that we’re all here in the first place, and I’m excited to graduate with the people that I’ve been with for the past four years.” -Tanner Eccleston


“I’m happy that we can spend time together as a form. I think we’ve, unfortunately, been really distanced as a class due to the circumstances of the past year. It’s unfortunate that underformers can’t be here, but I’m grateful that we can have one last opportunity to bond.” -Sean Parker


“I think it’s cool that the whole form is going to be together for three whole days and doing things that we presumed weren’t going to happen, like the 6th form dance and the retreat. Personally, I think it will be fun for me because I live in Dutch Village, and I haven’t had the chance to live with other people in my form.” -Kunal Patel


“As a new 6th former who hasn’t gotten to spend a lot of time at Hill with the 6th form class, I think it will be a good opportunity to connect with everyone.” -Charlie Gardephile


“I think it’s a really good move to send underformers home so that it’ll make up for some of the things that the seniors have missed. I’m really looking forward to commencement.” -Erik Nordquist


“I think it’s nice to have the 6th form events that we would normally have, but it also sucks that there’s not as much excitement as there was in past years because the rest of the school is not going to be here. Alumni can’t come back, so it’s going to be very watered down … but it’s much better than nothing and it totally beats being on Zoom.” -Julia Weiss


“In my point of view, graduation is equally as symbolic for the 6th form class as it is for the underformers and for the family of the students as it is a stepping stone, a time to say goodbye, and a moment to appreciate your time at Hill. I think under the circumstances Hill is doing the best they can, but I’m upset that my final moments have culminated to singularly jumping in the Dell without some of the other rites of passage.” -Ellinor Lagor


“It sucks not having friends who I’ve known for three years not being able to come to my graduation.” -Michael Soland


“I think the kids who live in the area or choose to stay nearby should be able to come to commencement because it’s a favorite tradition to see your friends graduate.” – Brendan Grable