When we take to the grass to find our seats at The Lexington School’s commencement ceremony, we see familiar faces with watery eyes. There are always tears. Parents cry, graduates cry, teachers cry, and it’s not because everybody is happy it’s all over. It’s because it is a rite of passage for these bright, still-curious kids whom we know so well, who have lived, learned, and stretched in this unique educational environment for, in some cases, eleven or twelve foundational years.
Parents are watching closely. They might be a little surprised by their emotions, but they are proud of their children, and they should be. It has been a journey–not always perfect. In fact, it has been intentionally imperfect, allowing their children to take risks, make mistakes, and overcome obstacles. It has been challenging sometimes, joyful most times, and now they see their children process to the commencement stage confident, courageous almost-adults. Their tears are happy ones not because it’s over; it’s because they know it was worth it.
The Lexington School’s commencement experience represents the school’s philosophy. The students are the ceremony. Six student leaders speak, an Alumnus speaks; it is all about the students and their experiences now and later. Student-centered always, until the very end. This series of “Commencement” blog posts starts with Tulani.
Tulani Grundy Meadows ’92 was this year’s commencement speaker. Tulani attended University of Pennsylvania Law School, after which she was a litigation attorney in the Atlanta office of Littler Mendelson, the world’s largest labor and employment law firm. She lives now in Omaha, Nebraska, where she has found her professional calling; she is a teacher. Influenced enduringly by her TLS teachers, she has her own classroom as a political science and human relations skills professor at Metropolitan Community College, teaching American Government and The Constitution to pre-law students. Recalling her mentors, she says, “I remember those lessons to make learning come alive.”
Tulani’s commencement address was directed specifically to TLS graduates, challenging them to define success in a way that captivates their passion rather than traditional metrics. See Tulani’s address HERE, and enjoy her insights.
Commencement for Lexington School students represents the start of new era where they will grow in a new community but not out of their Lexington School one, where they will develop a life beyond The Lexington School where their “Mission Skills,” will allow them to take on high school, college, first job, and well beyond.
They are ready. It is the start.