The Townshend community gathered last night for one of the end-of-year traditions that captures the essence of Townshend. We gathered to honor our Level IV students a week ahead of their graduation, and for them to express their gratitude to the faculty and staff who have accompanied them on their journey here, through the giving of a rose. With Zaira Bulgheroni (Level II) and Daniel Williams (Level III) emceeing the evening, they presented the Level IV students one-by-one to those gathered, highlighting their most characteristic and memorable qualities. Mr. Sabri, our Academic Director, then presented them with their final report cards, as well as with their special awards: George Townshend Honors for excellence in effort and behavior; Academic Merit, Academic Distinction, and High Academic Distinction for various levels of academic achievement. The evening then entered its most poignant hour. With these upcoming graduates seated at the head table, the Hluboka castle and the valley beyond as the backdrop, they went through the entire faculty and staff, expressing their thanks in very personal ways. Again, and again, we hear things like "You had confidence in me, and your confidence in me helped me see something new in myself, and gave me confidence in myself," "You have been so important to me, not just as a teacher, but as a friend and mentor," "Thank you for the influence you have had on my life." After a dinner of roast turkey and baked salmon, everyone bid the Level IV students goodbye as they depart for their senior trip to Croatia, to return next week before the graduation ceremonies. It is a bittersweet time of year, as we celebrate our role in one another's lives, and become acutely aware that our time in this part of our journey together is coming to a close. "Joy and sorrow embrace." Below are the feelings of gratitude expressed by one student to a teacher at last night's Rose Ceremony, which was typical of the gratitude that poured out.
"Where can I even start to thank you... Your ability to encourage students to overcome their feelings of hopelessness is absolutely incredible, something I can personally attest to. Before I came to Townshend, I never thought I could be good at mathematics, and even for a while at the beginning of Level III, I still didn't think I could be good at maths! But the amount of faith you had in me really pushed me to achieve my full potential, potential I don't think I could have reached without your invaluable guidance... I just want to thank you so very very much for all you have helped me achieve, not only in maths and mechanics, but in building up the amount of faith I have in myself and in my abilities."