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June 14, 2023

By Molly Alpern, Assistant Director for Advancement Communications

For the senior class at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, the end of the year brings a flurry of events that honor their accomplishments and the impact that they made on the School community. 

Some of the celebrations were a part of larger end-of-year events. Artists from the senior class spoke at the annual Arts Night, where Fieldston Upper students exhibited work from dance, music, theatre, and visual arts; at Founder’s Day, the Class of 2023 entered Adler Hall at Ethical Culture one by one to the thunderous applause of the 8th–11th Grade; at the Bridge to Bridge celebration, faculty advisor Janet Pugh honored the seniors with a ceremonial sash and a hug, wishing them bright futures; and at the Sports Dinner, the names of all the seniors on varsity teams were read and four seniors made remarks to the crowd. 

However, other celebrations were all about the soon-to-be graduates. On their last day on campus, the Class of 2023 bonded as students one last time at Senior Field Day. Games of dodgeball and other outdoor activities were followed by a barbecue at Head of School Joe Algrant’s house, where students enjoyed good food, connected with friends, and read special letters they had written to themselves years ago. 

As the countdown of days left until Commencement reached single digits, the energy among the seniors was electric. They donned their snazziest ensembles at prom, where they had a joyous night of dancing and fun, making memories they’ll surely cherish for years to come. Students who attended ECFS from Pre-K through 12th Grade convened on the Ethical Culture rooftop for the 14 Year Club celebration, complete with trivia, nostalgic videos, and a collection of photos from their Pre-K days. Finally, the entire senior class and their families gathered for the Senior Dinner. The Class of 2023 — along with their parents and guardians, Head of School, principal, dean, and beloved advisors — toasted to the future, before being serenaded by the talented percussion ensemble and hearing from their dean John Reyes and beloved faculty member and advisor Bob Montera. 

And with that, all that was left in their journey as ECFS students was Commencement. Under bright blue skies and being cheered on by countless family members, friends, faculty, and more, the Class of 2023 got their diplomas, tossed their caps to the sky, and officially became ECFS alumni

ECFS graduates throw their caps to the sky at Commencement

The Class of 2023 will leave a lasting legacy that will have a clear, measurable impact on the future of ECFS. For the past 30 years, the senior class parents and guardians have participated in the time-honored tradition of contributing to a special Form VI gift which supports both the Orange Fund and an endowed fund for financial aid named in honor of the graduating class. The endowment will live on for perpetuity, and members of each class may choose to contribute to their fund in the future, ensuring it can continue to grow. 

A dedicated volunteer committee of senior class parents and guardians raises money for this gift in honor of their students, and this year, the Class of 2023 Form VI gift raised more than $425,000. 

Inspired by the Form VI gift, in recent years, the graduating class has also revived the Senior Class Gift, which serves as an opportunity for seniors to give back to their beloved School in a last act as students, and a first act as alumni. This year, they designated the 2023 Senior Class Gift to financial aid, and students made donations of $20.23 in honor of their graduating year. 

Each and every student in the graduating class has left an indelible mark on the School. The art they created, projects they completed, athletics games they played, friendships they built, and community they fostered during their time as students has had an immeasurable yet invaluable impact. As they look to the future, their years spent at ECFS will be full of memories worth celebrating. 

Thank you to our parent/guardian volunteers involved in all of the Form VI activities and celebrations!