Through a Virtual Honor Day celebration, Harpeth Hall paid tribute to the 93 eighth graders who successfully completed the Daugh W. Smith Middle School program on Friday, May 22, 2020.
Director of the Middle School, Judi O'Brien, welcomed the families and friends who were watching the ceremony from their homes through Zoom. Addressing the eighth-grade class, Ms. O'Brien remarked, "You have led the middle school confidently this year and I am so proud of all of you. Your strong character, leadership, good humor, and inclusive nature are among your many strengths. As I have said to you many times, your class has left its mark on the middle school and you have a contagious zest for life that we all love so much."
Ms. O'Brien then introduced seventh grader, Clara Scott Harden '25, who shared a reflection on the Class of 2024.
"This eighth-grade class has been the most uplifting, thoughtful, and determined class I have ever met," Clara said about the Class of 2024. "I am so thankful that I was able to be a teammate with many of these people and learn from them the importance of perseverance, dedication, and the power of positive thinking."
Josey Beavers, Class of 2024, was chosen by her class to be the Honor Day Speaker. Josey began her speech by applauding her class for their relentless uplifting spirit. "So far, 2020 has been a year of lemons but I'm grateful that everyone at Harpeth Hall is safe and that we can still connect virtually. Nashville and our school community have shown immense strength during these uncertain times and have worked hard to turn lemons into lemonade. I'm so lucky to be a part of such a spectacular class, and I can't wait for what the future holds."
Josey went on to share how her class has embodied the word "zesty" over the year, saying that "zesty is the perfect description of our class because yes, we can be over-the-top and spirited, but also, there is no one perfect definition of us. We are loud, quiet, funny, serious, competitive, quirky, smart, capable, opinionated, creative, kind, driven, but most importantly, unique."
Ending her positive and moving speech, Josey commented that "being separated from each other during quarantine has made us more appreciative of the little moments that we share. Before, I never realized the value of a high five or made the effort to converse with girls I wasn't particularly close with. Now, I crave spending quality time with everyone in my class, and I can't wait to do so in the years to come. So yes, life is full of lemons, like pandemics or fear of the future, but the Class of 2024 is armed with everything we need to make a zesty glass of lemonade."
Before the end of the program, eighth graders were treated to moving tributes from their teachers and fellow Middle School Students. Watch this touching video here.
Virtual Honor Day was not the only celebration of the Class of 2024 that took place on Friday. That afternoon, despite the cloudy and rainy weather, Middle School faculty and staff safely gathered on campus to honor this resilient class for the Honor Day Celebration Parade. Watch a video snapshot of this wonderful event below.
Congratulations to the Class of 2024. As Head of School Jess Hill remarked in her closing speech at today's Honor Day celebration, "Hats off to you. You have more than any other class in this school, really taken this distance learning in stride. You have been leaders of the Middle School all year, but also this spring. You have had such a full Middle School experience. You have been zesty. You have been engaged. You have been right there to help each other through this time. I am so proud of all of you."