English teacher Susanne Salhab congratulates seniors Daniel Lin and Claire Miao on their completion of high school. Daniel and Claire were both members of Salhabs AP Literature class.
English teacher Susanne Salhab congratulates seniors Daniel Lin and Claire Miao on their completion of high school. Daniel and Claire were both members of Salhab’s AP Literature class.
Kairui Sun

Classes of 2024 and 2025 close the year with bricks and Baccalaureate

Seniors, their family members, juniors and faculty celebrated the class of 2024 during the Brick Ceremony and the transfer of leadership to the class of 2025 at Baccalaureate Friday night. 

Veyd Patil (12) poses with an engraved brick during the Brick Ceremony. Each student who received a personalized brick laid it in Graduate’s Grove alongside the bricks of other Harker alumni. (Kairui Sun)

Head of School Brian Yager and Director of Advancement Kim Lobe welcomed seniors and their families for the Brick Ceremony, praising the class’s spirit and dedication throughout high school. Lobe noted that the seniors raised the most money in annual giving in Harker history, with a total of more than half a million dollars. 

Senior class dean Carol Green announced each brick recipient’s name, and Director of Annual Giving Jun Wang handed each of them a custom-engraved brick. Families took photos with Yager and proceeded to Graduates’ Grove, where the students placed their bricks into the ground. 

The classes of 2024 and 2025 filed into the Quad for Baccalaureate and listened to a rendition of Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, mvt. I. Allegro by violinists Andre Lu (11) and Alex Zhong (11), violist Harshini Chaturvedula (12), cellist Jerry Li (12) and pianist Iris Cai (11). 

“What I love about Baccalaureate is that we get to celebrate the current seniors, ‘go class of 2024!’ and also acknowledge the class of 2025 that is moving into its position as school leaders,” Upper School Division Head Paul Barsky said. “It’s both a coming and going of our student leaders.”

History teacher James Tate delivers the faculty speaker speech. He recounted his own unique journey through academia, which took him from a high school dropout to UC Berkeley. (Kairui Sun)

Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs Jennifer Gargano discussed how each senior makes their class unique. Cantilena sang Stephen Schwartz’s “For Good,” where each senior performed a solo, joining together for the chorus at the end. Honor Council members Neo Alpha (12) and Jonathan Xue (11) spoke about continuing to maintain honor and integrity at the upper school. 

Barsky introduced this year’s student-elected Baccalaureate faculty speaker, history teacher James Tate. Tate centered his speech around a quote from 20th-century writer and philosopher Alan Watts, “The reason why you want to be better is the reason why you aren’t.”

“It is the fact that we think we need to be better rather than accepting ourselves for who we are that locks us into the circular logic in which we forever fall short of who we think we ought to be,” Tate said. “All we need to do to break out of this cycle is to simply consider other perspectives. I call it history.”

Anish Jain (12) reflects upon the Class of 2024’s journey through high school during his speech. “Our family, the class of 2024: that family is my forever network,” Anish said. (Kairui Sun)

Tate touched upon his unusual journey through life, describing how he dropped out of high school, worked an array of jobs and eventually graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He emphasized that although the seniors may feel disappointed by certain aspects of their academic or social lives, their perceived insecurities can blossom into future success. 

After Tate’s speech, Barsky introduced student speaker Anish Jain (12). Anish recounted high school memories, like the Senior Assassin rubber chicken game that took place in April. Referring to Harker as his “network,” he emphasized the importance of community over the college admission process in his speech.

“Our family, the class of 2024: that family is my forever network,” Anish said. “Take a minute and show your network how much you care for them because sometimes, the best way to increase your net worth is to network. Even if it’s not for profit.”

Anish also attested to the bond his class formed with the juniors throughout high school. He encouraged the juniors to savor their senior year and enjoy the moment.

“It was pretty sentimental — we’re going to miss them so much,” junior Naiya Daswani said. “They’re going to do amazing. At the same time, I have a lot of anticipation for senior year. I’m looking forward to enjoying some of those final memories.”

Juniors Sonia Yu and Yasmin Sudarsanam react to Anish’s farewell speech. “It was great to see Anish weave seriousness with jokes, and he made them really supportive of his class and of the school,” Upper School Division Head Paul Barsky said.

Yager closed the ceremony by passing the senior role as leaders on campus to the juniors, asking them to follow their predecessors in leading the school with energy and kindness. 

“There aren’t that many times when a whole class gets together for no purpose other than to just be together and reminisce and think,” Tate said. “In a world where we are so caught up in having to do things and complete things and finish things and achieve things, just being able to exist with friends and loved ones and say, ‘Hey, this is a good moment’ — that’s valuable in a lot of ways.”

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