Brooklyn private independent school

BC Celebrates 137th Commencement Exercises

BC Celebrates 137th Commencement Exercises

On a clear and breezy Thursday evening in Downtown Brooklyn, The Berkeley Carroll School celebrated its 137th Commencement Exercises in The Theater at City Tech. The program began with a processional of faculty and staff followed by the student processional. The 79 graduates from the Class of 2024 entered the auditorium to an exuberant crowd full of family members and friends. Their smiling faces and elation set the tone for a joy-filled ceremony. 

Head of School Lisa Yvette Waller welcomed all in attendance and commented, “I have been to a lot of graduation ceremonies, but I have never seen such energy like I do tonight.” Dr. Waller continued with her remarks highlighting the past several nights which included performances and award ceremonies honoring the class and student accomplishments. She noted that every student should feel proud and pleased because their success was well earned. Dr. Waller also reminded students about the advice they received from Berkeley Carroll Kindergarten students “to remember to email your parents and call home.” She emphasized the strength of the bonds formed between classmates, educators, and coaches because of their shared experience entering the Upper School as freshmen amidst COVID. She shared that the enduring spirit of their collective prompted faculty members to describe the Class of 2024 “as possibly the best class ever.” This received raucous applause and Dr. Waller quickly added, “For all you sibs out there, I did say ‘possibly,’ but it is certain that you will be missed.” Dr. Waller ended her remarks with thoughtful advice to the graduates, “As you head off to new communities, colleges, and ultimately careers, I hope the bonds that you have forged at Berkeley Carroll will remain strong and that you will be additionally fortified in the years ahead by the gift of new friends with whom to laugh, to listen, to reflect, to analyze, to disagree, to empathize and to make common cause not only for your own benefit but also in service to the greater good.”

Welcome and Remarks from Head of School Lisa Yvette Waller

The audience then listened to an additional greeting from Co-Executive Council Presidents Mia M. '24 and Jeremiah V. '24. Mia and Jeremiah embraced the moment to pause and reflect. They highlighted the traditions and experiences that were memorable for the class throughout their BC journey. The students stated, “As we step out into the world beyond the halls of 181 Lincoln Place and 152 Sterling Place, we are called to remember those who have shaped us… Those favorite teachers who have guided and challenged us, best friends who have supported us and provided shoulders to cry on, and family and loved ones who have also supported us through our education.” They continued, “Wherever we go, let's remember the core values that Berkeley Carroll has instilled in us – whether it's owning your critical thinking skills and creative capacities, or fostering global awareness and ethical thinking in your new environments. Let these principles guide you to your next chapters. Let us use our education to make a positive impact no matter where it takes us.”

Greetings from Co-Executive Council Presidents Mia M. '24 and Jeremiah V. '24

A musical interlude proceeded with a beautiful rendition of “For Good,” from Wicked by Stephen Schwartz performed by Berkeley Carroll’s talented orchestra musicians. Click here to view the performance.

Musical interlude performed by BC orchestra musicians

Next, the audience heard from Class Speaker Max M. '24. Max began her speech sharing her reluctance to accept the invitation from faculty to speak at Commencement. She spoke with authentic humility (and humor) about how her fear of public speaking plagued her throughout her journey at BC. “When I joined Berkeley Carroll in the sixth grade, I found transitioning to its close knit, private school environment to be dreadful. Suddenly, I was in an institution that loved to make sure that every single one of its students was given individual attention, and it did this unsparingly,” bemused Max. She further explained the struggle with tackling projects at each development stage that prioritized public speaking. What was revealed through this process, however, was the discovery of being able to overcome a fear because of the enduring support she received from classmates and teachers. This ultimately guided, inspired, and fueled her courage to deliver a fantastic Senior Speakers speech. “To my classmates, I consider myself lucky to have been shaped by you and I will forever be proud of the community we have built together at Berkeley Carroll,” stated Max. “Every risk we have taken has guided you to becoming who you are in this moment and you are still at the beginning of your path to growing in ways you might never expect wherever you bring yourself next. Class of 2024, never forget who you know you are, but always remember to explore what you’ve never given yourself the chance to be.” 

Class Speaker Max M. '24

Commencement keynote speaker Steven Johnson P '20, '21, '24 was then welcomed onto the stage. Johnson is the author of 14 books on science, technology, and the history of innovation. He currently serves as the editorial director at Google Labs and his address focused on the fusion of arts and science to inspire creative innovation and move humanity forward. He began by noting that the Class of 2024 will forever be associated with music. Johnson quipped, “Even your yearbook has a vinyl record on the cover and is titled In the Groove.” He posed some fierce wonderings about the mysteriousness of music: Why does it have such a power over us?; Why does it evoke such joy and passion? Further, he added that there is an overall decline in interest for art majors in favor of STEM-related majors. He strongly declared that this is a false binary. Many of the most profound advancements in our world came about when the arts and sciences fused together – which Johnson declared, “Is so BC.” He told the audience about the history of Ada Lovelace and her prediction that the Analytical Engine that she wrote lines of code for would eventually be able to compose music. Johnson mused, “Why was she able to see into the future?” He stated that Lovelace’s father, Lord Byron, played a part. She embodied two world views: math and poetry and this fusion of arts with science enabled her to prognosticate about profound human innovation. “We are living in the reality that Ada Lovelace predicted with the advancements in AI. Computers are your creative partner and this is the world you are graduating into,” said Johnson. He continued saying that the most important ideas come from the collision of these two disciplines – humanities with interest in technology. “Having a sense of history and a moral compass is up to you. This is the most important threshold moment in your entire life,” he added. “You do not have to listen to our playlist anymore. Go into the world and make your own sweet music.”

Commencement Speaker Steven Johnson P '20, '21, '24

The next half of the program included speeches from Upper School Faculty Speaker Vincent Colicchio and Dean of the Class of 2024 Tasheana Dukuly. Colicchio opened his remarks by declaring that he is not very poetic and that his favorite Jedi is Obi Wan Kenobi. He continued that he is also not a fan of one-sentence adages that can easily be debunked with science – he is a Chemistry teacher after all. Further, he stated, these adages cannot address the complexities of life. Colicchio shared his own personal example of this relative to his multiracial identity. The story he told was one of frustration with how people will too often oversimplify another’s sense of self. He likened this uphill struggle to the plight of Sisyphus, who was condemned to roll a rock up hill only to have it roll back down the moment he reached the top. As we continue to push our own metaphorical rocks, we get stronger and there are people throughout our lives who help us carry the load. He noted that while the positive moments might seem miniscule, they create continuity over time and propel us forward so that we can reach the top of the hill. “Your individuality cannot be oversimplified. Peace, love, and may the force be with you, always,” were Colicchio’s parting words of wisdom to the Class of 2024.

Upper School Faculty Speaker Vincent Colicchio

Dean Dukuly framed her speech around the small joys that occurred over the course of the year with inspiration from The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay. Dukuly began describing one of the essays from the book that centered around hiking and how the author found a walking stick that was ideal for his height only to find at the end of the hike a whole collection of perfect walking sticks that were left behind by previous hikers. Throughout the year, the senior class endured a flood, witnessed a solar eclipse, experienced a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, and relished in collective delights: the MS dancing to Dua Lipa, seniors laughing at the lunch table, jazz ensemble, BC community members emerging from cross streets in the neighborhood, and attending dress rehearsals for performances. Dukuly noted that they glimpsed into the joy of process, lived with purpose, showed passion in the classroom, excelled in scientific research, and won more ACIS championships than any other class in school history. “You have so much to offer the world,” she said. “We are not just proud of you, we are delighted by you. Show up the way you did here in your new community and leave your walking stick for the next person.”

Remarks from the Dean of the Class of 2024 Tasheana Dukuly

Upper School Director Jane Moore led the presentation of diplomas with Chair of the Board of Trustees Chad Ruble P '24 and Head of School Lisa Yvette Waller. Each member of the class walked onto the stage to receive their diploma and a single white rose. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2024! We are so proud of you and wish you all the best as you begin your college journey. 

Class of 2024 College Enrollments

Lucien A. - Tufts University

Oliver A. - Wesleyan University

Noelle A. - Dickinson College

Malaka B. - Emory University

Alexa B. - Williams College

Allahji B. - Tufts University

Lily B. - Tufts University

Adam B. - Brown University

Aravind B. - University of Pennsylvania

Moss B. - Cornell University

Theo B. - McGill University

Noah B. - Manhattan School of Music

Wyatt B. - Macalester College

Aiden C. - University of Richmond

Nile C. - Tulane University of Louisiana

Sarah C. - Muhlenberg College

Theo C. - Macalester College

Nellie D. - Cornell University

Madelin D. - Syracuse University

Jack D. - Rochester Institute of Technology

Brooke E. - Williams College

Laila E. - Drexel University

William F. - Tulane University of Louisiana

Finn F. - Rochester Institute of Technology

Kaitlyn G. - University of Richmond

Joaquin G. - Vassar College

Nicolas G. - Pratt Institute

Isaiah G. - University of Chicago

Max G. - Bowdoin College

Jacob G. - Brown University

Rose H. - Washington University in St. Louis

Ian H. - University of Pennsylvania

Samuel H. - American University

Nicholas H. - Brandeis University

Arianna H. - University of Hartford

William H. - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mulan J. - Middlebury College

Dean J. - Wesleyan University

Avi K. - Wesleyan University

Aman K. - Temple University

Oliver K. - Williams College

Basant K. - Bowdoin College

Sarah K. - Princeton University

Ruby K-M. - Skidmore College

Lou Lou LBK. - Boston University

Molly L. - Boston University

Charles L. - Bard College

Amelia L. - Smith College

Samuel L. - University of Oregon

Michael L. - Northwestern University

Delphine L. - Bates College

Mia M. - McGill University

Max M. - Northeastern University

Emma M. - George Washington University

Ava M-M. - Georgetown University

Anne M. - Washington University in St. Louis

Madden N. - New York University

Rachel O. - Bard College

Juno PN. - Syracuse University

Ajay R. - University of St Andrews

Nurielle R. - Colby College

Leander R. - Boston College

Charles R. - Vanderbilt University

Jacqlene S. - Boston College

Irwin S. - University of Vermont

Jake S. - Oxford College of Emory University

Sofia S. - University of Miami

Spencer S. - University of St Andrews

Molly S. - Wellesley College

Harrison S. - Tufts University

Camille S. - Tulane University of Louisiana

Claudia T. - Hamilton College

Benjamin T. - Emory University

Mina T. - Wesleyan University

Charlie U. - Colby College

Jeremiah V. - University of Miami

Orville W. - Santa Clara University

Theodore W. - Trinity College Dublin

Benjamin Z. - New York University