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Honoring the Class of 2026

When Louisa Brown began her journey at Harpeth Hall in the 5th grade, she was anxious to know who her new classmates and friends would be.

“Every middle school girl wants that question answered before they go anywhere or do anything, and before starting Harpeth Hall, I was no different. I didn’t care about the what until I knew the who, and not just a list of names, but actual people,” said Louisa, who was chosen by her peers to be the speaker at Friday’s 8th Grade Honor Day celebration. “I can now tell you with great gratitude that the past four years of middle school have been nothing but an unfolding awesomeness of the who of this class.”

The members of the class of 2026 are “loud, quiet, introverted, extroverted, social, shy, athletic, artistic, smart, bubbly, and everything in between,” Louisa said. They have led the Middle School with confidence and enthusiasm. Although the last few years have been full of twists and turns due to the pandemic, these students stepped up to the plate to meet every challenge.

The pandemic “brought out the strength of our class in the ways we discovered to make each day a little brighter in the midst of very unpredictable times,” Louisa said. “In situations where the what simply could not go as planned, the who was always what mattered, even more than before.”

When talking about their classmates, 8th grade students would often refer to them as sisters. For Judi O’Brien, director of the Middle School, the power of community felt by the class was integral to who they are.

“One of the things that sisterhood means to me is that when something good is happening to your sister, you feel like it is happening to

you…I have witnessed so many occasions where you have cheered each other on and reveled in each other’s successes,” Ms. O’Brien said.

On Friday morning, while supporting and celebrating each other, Harpeth Hall’s 8th grade students marked the end of the year with Honor Day, one of the school’s enduring and beautiful traditions. Honor Day marks the passage from middle school to upper school, and this year celebrated the 90 members of the class of 2026 who successfully completed the Daugh W. Smith Middle School program.

7th grade student Liz Burnstein echoed Ms. O’Brien’s sentiments.

“The Class of 2026 has influenced the Middle School in so many ways. They have served as incredible role models for so many others, including me. They have led the middle school with passion, energy, and integrity. As much as the Middle School will miss them, the high school will be so lucky to have them,” Liz said.

Next fall, the class of 2026 will transition across the lawn where they will begin their journeys in high school. But this time, Louisa is not worried.

“I look behind me at the last four years and I feel nothing but gratitude and joy. And I look ahead at the next four years and feel nothing but hype,” she said. “There’s no need for nervousness about the new who, because I already know the answer to the all-important question — who’s going to be there. We are, and that’s enough for me.”

Congratulations to the class of 2026!!