Celebrating the Class of 2020
June 3, 2020
On Friday, May 29, Wilmington Montessori School proudly celebrated the Class of 2020 - Jack Allen , Samantha Bargren , Angelica Martin , Logan Ranji , Samantha Russell , William Snyder and Ella Walsh - the school's second class of eighth-grade graduates.
As Head of School Lisa Lalama shared in her speech, this was a graduation unlike any other WMS has experienced in its 56-year history:

"We are happy to have you join us for the 2020 Wilmington Montessori School graduation - the first of its kind - in a time of many firsts. We are graduating the WMS Class of 2020 in a format many of us hadn’t used or used in a limited capacity prior to March of this year - Zoom. Zoom. Not zooming through the air or space or in your fancy car or even your bicycle. We’re zooming toward each other in cyberspace, making connections in a way that has rescued us from social isolation during this most unusual time."

Lisa went on to speak about how a WMS education prepares graduates for life beyond the walls of our school, in a world that is often unpredictable:
"You’ve learned about life. You’ve asked questions, discussed challenging topics, debated about injustices, and yearned for a world that cares about its people and treats them well. You studied movement last year - learning about various movements that have arisen from needs in our world, and this year you’ve studied conflict. You’ve learned that there are points of view that differ distinctly from yours and your family’s.You’ve broadened your worldview - a true tribute to Dr. Montessori - who wanted the world for children. She said, 'Free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world.'

Because your parents are wise, they’ve given you the world through a wonderful Montessori education. They and your teachers have allowed you to formulate ideas and work to reach for solutions to problems that have remained without solutions for generations. 

Through your time at WMS and your life so far, just like the adults who care for you, you’re now faced with an uncertainty that no one in your family has faced before. We are all learning together what our new norm is. COVID-19 has thrown us all into a mode of learning and questioning that we’ve not experienced before. However, what we are learning now are the most important lessons that could ever be taught. For now, the idea of school has shifted. We don’t know if the shift was for a couple of months or will last longer. What we do know is that you are learners. And you will continue to learn, adapt and change as needed. You are ready and you are paying attention. "
Alumni Speaker Demetria Ruhl
Lisa then introduced graduation speaker Demetria Ruhl, who recently graduated from Dickinson College with degrees in chemistry and French. Demetria will attend medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall.

In her speech, Demetria shared the many ways in which her WMS education prepared her for high school and college.

"As I think back on some of my favorite memories from WMS, I can’t help but smile. From making up stories, talent show skits, and art with friends, to coming up with new games during recess, I can see now that it was at Montessori where my creativity was born and developed. Even in the classroom, where I came up with some unconventional approaches to solving math problems, my teachers gave me the freedom to learn in my own way, which served me well in both high school and college. As Montessori students you are all so unique as individuals, yet you share a curiosity about the world around you and are intrinsically motivated to learn as much as you can about it and to follow your interests. These are rare and valuable traits that I hope you will recognize within yourselves and preserve, as they will take you far as you make the transition to high school and beyond."

Look for an article about Demetria in our alumni newsletter this fall, and check out her profile from her sixth-grade memory book below:
Words from Middle School Teacher Mandy Balanetsky
Following Demetria's address, lead Middle School teacher Mandy Balanetsky reflected on the eighth-graders' two years at WMS:
"You’ve all made amazing strides in your academics, independence, and responsibility. You created a wonderful craft space for children in need, learned how to navigate the subways and streets of a crowded city, and became leaders in your school as you offered tours and worked on videos promoting the place you love.

You asked so many insightful questions as you toured museums, murals, and monuments, explored individual passions in your learning, made everlasting friendships with your peers, discovered what you need to learn best and persevere through challenges, won an Odyssey of the Mind Championship, and attended the state math league finals. Most impressively, you made all of us so proud as you stood up at the podium at Montessori Model UN and gave your speeches and negotiated for your causes so professionally and passionately.

My hope is that you never forget these accomplishments, and that they are what you always remember most about your time in middle school. They are certainly worth the spotlight."
Presentation of Diplomas & Special Deliveries
In the past, Lisa has always had the honor of presenting diplomas to the graduates. This year, we asked the families of our eighth-graders to present them. What resulted was truly beautiful and unique to each family's personality - we encourage you to watch our graduation video to see the presentations.

Graduates also received several special deliveries from WMS - a yard sign prior to graduation and a swag bag after the ceremony! We hope to celebrate in person at a dinner later this summer.

Graduation festivities wrapped up with an opportunity for all of the attendees to turn on their cameras and microphones and wish our graduates well! We are grateful to everyone who joined us for this meaningful event.
The Class of 2014 is College-Bound!
Members of the WMS sixth-grade class of 2014 graduated from high school this year. The colleges and universities they have been accepted to include:

  • University of Delaware
  • McGill University
  • Millersville University
  • New York University
  • Occidental College
  • Purdue University
  • Rosemont College
  • University of South Carolina
  • SUNY - Binghamton
  • Syracuse University
  • Vassar College
Stay Connected
At WMS, alumni and their families are an important part of our community! Please stay in touch by emailing your news to  alumni@wmsde.org , and watch your mail this summer for WMS's new alumni newsletter! You can also connect with us through  Facebook Instagram and  Twitter .
Give Back to WMS... Your Support Makes a Difference!
Gifts to WMS's Annual Fund help create the special WMS experiences our graduates remember. Donations support our classrooms filled with Montessori materials and state-of-the-art technology, help maintain our beautiful campus with its creek and trails, support our Montessori-trained teachers and arts programs, and allow us to offer financial aid so more children can benefit from a WMS education. Help us keep those traditions alive while we continue to create new learning opportunities for children. 

Every gift helps us keep WMS thriving for future generations! Visit  www.wmsde.org/annualfund  to make your tax-deductible gift to keep WMS strong!
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