Agnes Irwin Commencement 2023

Agnes Irwin Commencement 2023

The 74 members of The Agnes Irwin School Class of 2023 received their diplomas during Commencement exercises on Thursday, June 8.


On June 8, the 74 students in the Agnes Irwin Class of 2023 officially received their diplomas, becoming the school's newest alumnae. The day started with a class brunch at 672 Conestoga where the soon-to-be graduates heard speeches from teachers and faculty, and of course, posed for lots of pictures. In one address, Director of College Counseling Meg Scott and Associate Director of College Counseling Sarah Quin, reminded the girls of their diverse interests and backgrounds, saying, in part: 

"You joined in the Class of 2023 in almost every grade – four in PreK, fourteen in Kindergarten, seven in 1st, one in 3rd, four in 5th, four in 6th, five in 7th, eight in 8th, twenty-two in 9th, four in 11th, and one in 12th. You are the youngest, the oldest, and the middle siblings of your family. Some of you are aunts and cousins and half and step siblings, twins, and only children. You and your families hail from places as far away as India, Ireland, Korea, Ethiopia, Ukraine, China, Armenia, Iran, Belgium, the Philippines, and Argentina. You speak French, Armenian, Shanghainese, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Gujarati, and Dr. [Patrick] Beasom would argue that a few of you speak ancient languages. You will attend forty-seven institutions next year from Ithan Avenue to South Beach, Scotland to Southern California, Boston to Boulder. You are the reliable, raucous, loveable red Class of 2023 and you will be greatly missed." 


Back on campus, the students took the stage for the Commencement exercises. This year’s Commencement address was delivered by student-elected speaker Annalee Stuardi-Drumm. After a heartfelt thanks to the parents and faculty for their unwavering support, Annalee shared, in part:

[W]e were quiet enough to appreciate the smaller moments that filled our days here. To take notice of one another’s strengths and weaknesses so that we could be better friends and supporters. We were loud when it mattered – loud in our willingness to advocate for ourselves or a peer who couldn’t; loud in what I believe is the best way possible – a way that signified our desire to lift each other up, whatever our own circumstances may be. We are motivated and driven in all that we do, but humble if anyone were to ask. We have braved a host of challenges and put out fires before anyone asked. Bold and independent yet loved for those very reasons – I feel such overwhelming pride to be graduating with all of you."


This year's Commencement Speaker was Dr. Kareema Levetter-Gray '90. Dr. Gray is an Associate Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Work at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has a distinguished record of service to Agnes Irwin as an alumna, dating back to 1990, when she spoke at her own Commencement ceremony as the inaugural student speaker. In 2005, she received the Heather B. Theirmann Young Alumnae Award. In 2018, she became the first Black inductee into the AIS Athletic Hall of Fame and delivered the Cum Laude speaker address. She currently serves on the AIS Board of Trustees. Her remarks, in part: 

As you embark on this new chapter, let me share with you three principles that I believe will allow you to build upon the foundation of your Agnes Irwin experience as you continue to learn, lead, and live a legacy wherever you go. 

First, always follow your passion. Find that one thing that ignites a fire within you, that gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Chase your dreams relentlessly, for it is in the pursuit of our passions that we find our true calling. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit during your freshman year, it could have extinguished the passion and fire within you, but you did not let it. Each one of you returned to this campus determined to engage and connect with one another and with the school community. Keep this passion as you move onward.

Secondly, never underestimate the power of human connection. In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected yet strangely isolated, it is essential to cultivate meaningful relationships. Your class has set the standard for what this looks like. You take the time to listen to others, to understand their perspectives, and to empathize with their experiences. Keep lifting others up and celebrating their accomplishments. It is through collaboration and unity that you will overcome the challenges that lie ahead for you.

Lastly, embrace failure as a stepping-stone to success. It is natural to fear failure, to view it as a setback or a sign of inadequacy, especially in this hypercompetitive world that we live in. But let me assure you, failure is not the end—it is merely a detour on the road to success. As you leave this hallowed institution, empowered with resilience, armed with knowledge and a thirst for excellence, remember that you are not alone. You are part of a vast, vibrant, and powerful community of women who have gone before you, and who are eager to welcome you into the fold. Draw strength from this network, lean on one another for support, and be generous with your own wisdom and experiences.


After the Class was awarded diplomas, Head of School Sally Keidel remarked, “Stay close to your classmates – your friends. You are #owls4life. You will be amazed that no matter how wide and far you travel, the Irwin’s connection will remain. That is something to cherish. Thank you for your energy, intellect, and compassion. The world needs your bright minds and big hearts. Good luck, Class of 2023. Go forth with joy, curiosity, and confidence. You are ready.” 

Congratulations, Class of 2023. You will be missed. 

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