With great pride and much love, Mayfield Senior School conferred 89 diplomas on members of the Class of 2019, young women described by Head of School Kate Morin as “a blessing beyond measure,” who are destined to change the world for the better.
“Together we learned what it really means to be a part of a Holy Child community,” Mrs. Morin said. “Together we learned about the transformational power of service, how to speak truth to power, to listen to those with different points of view....Together we learned how to be confident and courageous.”
About 1,500 guests gathered on the North Lawn on a glorious and cool Sunday evening, with radiant smiles and cameras in hand, to capture moments with the rose bouquet-carrying graduates in elegant white gowns and long white gloves.
The graduates will be attending 55 different colleges and universities throughout the country, including Barnard, Boston College, Dartmouth, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Fullerton, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Lewis & Clark, Loyola Marymount, Pasadena City College, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Austin, and West Point.
As one of their final gifts, the seniors performed 2,225 hours of community service the week before graduation, serving the homeless, tutoring at-risk children, assisting at centers for women domestic violence victims, and volunteering at public elementary schools. Also, for their parting class gift to their Mayfield sisters, the seniors raised funds for a set of patio tables and chairs so students could have a gathering place to spend time talking and deepening friendships.
In her graduation speech, Senior Class President Julia Watson ’19 honored the legacy of Cornelia Connelly, founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.
“Dedicated to her vows and the order she formed, she challenged powerful men in order to remain true to herself and her beliefs,” Julia said. “The values of community, respect, and creativity that she brought to the educational environment have inspired us all and I think Cornelia would appreciate this graduating class filled with outspoken, stubborn, and strong women.”
Commencement speaker Betsy Sinclair ’98, a professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis, offered graduates personal insights into the Holy Child-inspired education they share. She said she was moved to fly out and deliver this speech because she was eager to share the joy and faith she inherited from her beloved mentor, Sister Barbara Mullen, SHCJ, who passed away three years ago after serving as a Mayfield educator for 25 years.
“Sister Barbara worked to make us not the best scholars nor the best dancers nor the best athletes, but the best humans we could be,” Dr. Sinclair said. “She possessed a deep awareness of God’s love for people, especially women. She spent her life communicating that love—it provided the bedrock of a Mayfield education.”
Dr. Sinclair, who earned her master’s degree and doctorate from CalTech in social science, told graduates that theirs is a distinguished and different kind of high school education when compared to their peers.
“You have been raised with love as an example,” she said. “People who are raised by love see the world differently than people who are raised by survival, avarice, or success...You have been taught to live a love grounded in action.”
She used a metaphor contained in a picture books she reads to her three children as a message to graduates. She said the graduates are like lupines, a perennial flower that soaks up nutrients for two years before fully blooming. Gardeners tend to say that such flowers sleep, creep and, finally, leap.
“You have to absorb, and allow some roots to grow, before you flourish,” she said. “But you have been well-nourished at Mayfield Senior School.”
Dr. Sinclair charged the graduates to live by the Mayfield motto and “transform words into actions” at every opportunity.
“‘Leap with love, ladies. Leap with action,” she said. “Onwards graduates, leap!”