Meet the Class of 2023: The Caring Adults Who Had the Privilege to Teach them Introduce this Year’s Graduates
When the Class of 2023 began their middle school journey they started off in an evolving virtual format, reinventing the school experience, and facing adversities new to everyone. Perseverance and resilience saw them through those first months until they could reunite on campus, perhaps meeting many of their classmates in person for the first time.
Soon promoting from eighth grade, nearly 750 Redwood City School District (RCSD) students are ready to take on high school–and the bright futures that await them. While every student has their own strengths, middle school teachers agree that the Class of 2023 has some defining attributes.
Kevin Sugar, Hoover School teacher, said that, as an educator for 25 years, he knows that “no two years are the same.”
“So many great qualities can define our students: diligent, intelligent, resilient, fun, enthusiastic, athletic, musical, artistic, caring, shy, courageous, and kind,” he said, comparing students to sparkling gold unearthed from rich soil. “All of these colors combined into one amazing group of kids. Their resilience and courage are outstanding qualities, born of the pandemic, which will help them to overcome any obstacle.”
“In life so much is left up to chance and the unknown is always a little scary, but when I look out at the bright eyes and the honest smiles of my students, I am assured that everything will be okay.”
North Star Academy teacher Manasa Suresh applauded the emotional intelligence and inquiring minds of this year’s eighth grade class.
“Curiosity and a love for learning are wonderful attributes of young people because they bring a sense of empathy and open-mindedness to the community,” she said. “These qualities can be especially valuable in shaping a community of supportiveness and inclusivity, which is one of the main qualities that Redwood City School District strives to impart to its students.”
Roy Cloud teacher Gregg Reinke also took note of the students’ mindfulness of others–not just at home and school but across the globe.
“They've been paying attention to what's going on in the world around them, and they're ready to enact change,” he said. “The observations made by these students have fostered a high degree of empathy. Their worldview includes not only their immediate circle, but also the entire earth. They see and feel what other generations have missed (and dismissed), and these caring, open eyes and hearts will heal many pains that have long been forged.”
The overarching theme of caring and benevolence was echoed by Lauren Reyna Morales, Kennedy Middle School teacher.
“I know that our 2023 graduating eighth graders will go on to do amazing things in their future,” she said. “Their compassion for their communities combined with their intellectual curiosity will no doubt make a positive impact on the world we live in. I visualize this group of young people utilizing their creativity and critical mindsets to build a more just society; one that honors diversity and promotes freedom of expression.”
Strong friendships and helping others are key characteristics of this group of students, said Zachary O’Neill, MIT teacher.
“This graduating class has ambition and seeks to find answers for problems, they are willing to speak up about things that are important to them,” he said. “They care about each other and their friendships are very important to them. Our McKinley eighth grade students who always stand up for what's right and are willing to speak up will tremendously benefit the community, as they are our future leaders. The compassion they show despite the challenges they may face speaks volumes about their character.”
Montana Miller of Roosevelt School said her students are kind, fearless, outgoing, charismatic, and caring.
“They carry themselves as young adults–ready to enter high school and the world that awaits them beyond,” she said. “Us teachers feel so lucky to have been able to watch them really grow into themselves over the last several years since we have returned to in-person school! We are so proud of the community they have created for themselves at Roosevelt and cannot wait to see what they accomplish after they move onto their next chapter!”
The ability to find a silver lining is a major attribute of the Class of 2023, said Marianne Chance, Clifford School teacher.
“This year's graduating class will find a way to put a positive spin on any situation. They will use their intelligence, creativity, and interpersonal skills to solve problems, heal wounds, and bring joy to people in our community and the world,” she said. “I will greatly miss these students, and I look forward to their incredible contributions, big and small. I fully believe in their ability to be successful, whatever that looks like for them.”
Lizette Hernandez, Garfield School community coordinator, recognized the students for their humility, compassion, responsibility, and determination as she spoke about hopes for their futures.
“Wherever our eighth graders go, whatever they choose to do in life,” she said, “if they surround themselves with others who also exhibit these traits, the hope is that with some planning, goal setting, personal reflection, hard work, strong communal support, positive decision-making skills, and perseverance through hardships and mistakes, our students will dream big, thrive, and soar toward success.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2023!