Moorestown Friends held Commencement for the 77 members of the 2016 graduating class on Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m. at the school.
Commencement speakers included Chester Reagan Chair for Religious/Quaker Studies Priscilla Taylor-Williams, as well as students Mitchell Mullock (of Moorestown, attending Vassar College) and Alexis Tsapralis (of Hainesport, attending Drexel University). Commencement speakers are selected by members of the senior class. MFS does not compute class rankings or designate valedictorians/salutatorians. Traditionally, one male and one female student are selected along with a teacher, and it is considered an honor to be chosen.
All graduates will matriculate at four-year colleges and universities. This year’s chosen schools include Bowdoin College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, Lehigh University, New York University, Penn State University, Rice University, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, Washington University in St. Louis, Yale University, and many more.
Six students will compete in intercollegiate athletics at the following schools: Haverford College, Ithaca College, Johns Hopkins University, Saint Joseph’s University, Vassar College, and Washington University in St. Louis.
The Moorestown Friends School Commencement ceremony includes a number of significant traditions. Graduates have worn white dresses and formal men’s attire in lieu of caps and gowns since at least the early 1900s (MFS was founded in 1785). Quaker secondary schools traditionally do not use robes, which are an outgrowth of clerical garb. Another tradition is that the Head of School reads the diploma of one of the “Originals” — students who have attended MFS since Preschool, Prekindergarten, or Kindergarten. Seventeen members of the Class of 2016 are Originals.
The graduation ceremony was held outside, with seniors exiting from the front of the Upper School and walking around the driveway known as The Oval to the group seating area.