VIDEO & Photos: Christa McAuliffe Graduation 2019

FRAMINGHAM – Last night, on June 18, scholars from the Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Framingham held its graduation ceremony at the Natick High School.

Tuesday marked the last day of school for all grades and the end of middle school for eighth graders.

The graduation ceremony included lots of looking back on memories from the past three years as well as some lessons learnt.

Students Rachel Morningstar, Chloe Mills, Lauren Brady, Leila Khan, Yasmin Khan, Abigail Rish, and Aracelly Sanchez reflected on their time at Christa McAuliffe during their scholar speeches. The commonalities of strong friendships and overcoming obstacles were discussed in all of their speeches.

The students also nominated one faculty member to speak at their graduation. Sean Findlen received the most votes and therefore gave a speech to the students. He thanked them for welcoming him and helping with any issues he had as a new staff member. Findlen also reminisced on some of the countless inside jokes he made with the students over the past year. He is proud of how far they have come in just a few short months and knows they will accomplish great things.

The graduation certificates were then given out and each student got their turn in the spotlight. For every student, a picture from their childhood as well as their most recent school picture was shown while their teachers shared six words that described the student most accurately.

Awards were also given out to a few of the students.

The Jennifer Kirkpatrick Award, which honors late teacher Jennifer Kirkpatrick, was given to Samuel Erickson and Victoria Sweeney for their “vast improvement of self-knowledge, self-reflection, self-care and perspective taking.”

Kirkpatrick worked as McAuliffe’s adjustment counselor between January 2016 and July 2018. She was well loved by scholars and dedicated to seeing them improve themselves, said Executive Director Kristin Harrison.

“Jennifer was a strong woman who endured a seven and a half year cancer battle with bravery, grace, and dignity. Jennifer held a Master’s Degree in Psychology and was passionate about her career in working with children with special needs. She lived every day to the fullest and took pleasure in traveling, especially to Wells Beach Maine, Martha’s Vineyard and Second Beach in Newport, RI. She loved dancing, body surfing, fashion, writing, British music, animals, and her favorite color, purple,” said Harrison. 

The recipients of the HOWL (short for habits of work and learning) Awards were voted on by the students.

  • Aadya Akkipeddi received the award for the demonstration of responsibility
  • Simon Averbukh for the demonstration of inquiry
  • Sophie Brandt for the demonstration of collaboration
  • Jonathan De Andrade for the demonstration of perseverance
  • Chloe Mills for the demonstration of kindness.

    Congratulations to all the award winners and congratulations to the class of 2019 for completing middle school!


Photos and video report by SOURCE intern Chad Douty, a student at UMass Amherst.

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