By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Hats off to the 122 graduates of the class of 2018 who were honored during the 54th Commencement ceremony on Friday, June 1 in the Amphitheater. Collectively, they received more than 610 college acceptances and will embark to nearly 70 different colleges and universities, including two internationally. This year marks the 51st lifer class, and we are proud to have 21 lifers from the class of 2018. Our lifers have called LJCDS home for 13 or more years.
Holocaust survivor Rose Schindler was also honored. Mrs. Schindler was sent to the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau and was unable to finish school. Students were so moved when they heard her story earlier this year, they decided to recognize Mrs. Schindler and award her with a high school diploma. Through sharing her life experiences, Mrs. Schindler shines a light on the path of treating all humans with dignity, and we are privileged to award her with an LJCDS diploma. CBS8 highlighted Mrs. Schindler’s special day.
This year’s faculty commencement speaker, Assistant Head of School for Development Susan Nordenger shared that the class is full of strong and confident leaders who operated with purpose and conviction.
"You shared your passions with our community," she said. "You took risks, challenged one another and the faculty and administration. You spoke up, stood up and showed up to create positive change on our campus. Your efforts have made this community safer and more inclusive for all. You have used your voices and actions for good! Your activism and advocacy is a part of your legacy and will be strengthened by the students who follow after you.”
She also offered some words of wisdom to the class. “Your daily habits determine who you are and what you will become,” she said. “As you leave the familiarity of your family and school, you will find for the first time that you will be presenting who you are to a whole new world of people. You have a choice every day. It is up to you. What characteristics will define who you are? I can suggest three that have never failed me:
Have a work ethic that sets you apart, keep your commitments and demonstrate initiative.
Let your life be defined by your gratitude. I keep a journal by my bedside and work to be sure my gratitude list always outweighs everything else on my mind. It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
“As I shared memories of your class," shared Ms. Nordenger, "you’ll notice all of my examples came from when you were doing ‘the small things' with your own personalized, unique kindness and love. Your work ethic and gratitude are important, but love is essential. Class of 2018, the world needs you. Love is a way of life and is only perfected through practice.”
Three awards were presented during commencement. Mark Endo received the Trustees’ Award for earning the highest cumulative grade point average. Spencer Camp received the Head of School Award for earning the second highest cumulative grade point average. And last but not least, Kendal Ellenbeck and Michael Chandler were presented with the Faculty Prize, awarded to two seniors who, through effort and character, scholarship, arts and athletics, have best demonstrated the ideas and spirit of La Jolla Country Day School.
Congratulations, class of 2018, we can’t wait to see how you inspire greatness for a better world in your next adventure.