From Our Graduates

Class of 2017

As is tradition at commencement, each graduate walked to the stage with his or her “kindergarten buddy,” and addressed the audience by sharing thoughts about their educational journey.

Head of School Jim Heus addressed the audience, which included the entire student body, along with family and friends: “We are here today to celebrate all the young men and women seated on this stage. At Ridgefield Academy we do not determine a Valedictorian; we do not sponsor honor rolls; lead roles in school plays are often shared; we do not have season-long athletic team captains. This is simply our way of doing business and the culture it produces challenges us to focus on all students, to measure progress and accomplishment by different standards and to recognize and cherish each students' individual journey."

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mr. Heus challenged the graduates to “embrace the school’s mission of caring service to others” and to “go forward, share your talent, and challenge your mind, body, and spirit.”
I will miss something about each person I have met at RA because whether in a small or significant way, they have made a difference that has shaped me into a better person, one that will be prepared for the future because of their dedication.Olivia A.
I have gone through a lot while being at Ridgefield Academy. From times of great happiness, where nothing could possibly go wrong, to times when almost everything went wrong, RA has provided the support to keep me going through any situation.Sophie A.
I came to RA in the Three’s and even though I can’t remember my first day here, I had a great time meeting my new friends, some of whom are behind me right now. I remember watching all the past 8th graders giving their speech on this very stage, wondering if I would ever be in their place and here I am, a “lifer”.Andrew A.
I always imagined myself standing up here, giving my speech, and saying my goodbyes. But this is not what I had imagined it would be. My journey at this school has been full of challenges, discoveries, happiness, success, and also trial and error, but that is how you learn.Ryan A.
I’ve learned so many things about life and academics during my time here that it would be impossible to fit into this short speech. But through my time here not all of those lessons came easy which leads into one of the most important things I learned at RA and that is to never give up.Will B.
From learning trigonometry with Mrs. D. to European history with Mrs. Reid, I’ve had my fair share of late night study sessions. Now though, no matter where life takes us all, we’ll have a great foundation to build upon.Liza B.
I think optimism is a key factor that determines success in your life. It can determine minor things like the grade you get on a test, or it can determine something major. Thanks to my experiences at RA, I learned to look on the bright side.William B.
Please take a moment to behold the extraordinary view to your right. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to have that view be an immense part of my life for the past eleven years.Zoie B.
The most magical things in life can be forgotten if we fail to see their significance…. Throughout my RA journey, I have tried to hold onto the piece of me that smiles at the simplest things, and standing here today, I can say with confidence that although many special moments have become memories, I will cherish them for years to come.Lily C.
I heard a saying once that “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Well, I myself cannot sail. But you don’t need to be a sailor to see the author’s point: Take Risks.Alaina C.
I don’t believe by any stretch of my imagination everyone here will remember me or my speech, but that's alright because I promise not to forget a single one of you. Because without you, RA is just a building, just like how a home without a family is just a house. So sincerely thank you for making RA my home.Neil C.
Change has been a very big part of my life and will continue to be, shaping me for the new environments and obstacles to come. I look forward to embracing the changes ahead. They keep you sharp, keep you growing, keep you learning- with change comes opportunity.Chris C.
At the end of my time here at RA I wonder why can’t I go back to grade 1? Back to Mrs. Khanna’s class? To the art room? The band room? Mrs. Reid’s couch? But as Christopher Robin points out “all stories have an ending.”… I’ll continue to explore and adventure but this place will always be my origin and I am forever grateful for that.Stella D.
Today, being my last day of Ridgefield Academy, will require a lot of breathing. If I don't keep taking deep breaths I'm positive I will start sobbing because I am so sad to leave all of the people I love. My friends, my teachers, my peer leadership kids, and my kindergarten buddy Abby have all made this year better than it ever could’ve been.Hannah G.
Mr. Nash’s lower school science class was one of my first memories of really loving learning. And just a few weeks ago, I was able to teach by Mr. Nash’s side and get to see the faces of his students really loving learning. That will be one of my final RA memories that will last a lifetime.Ryan H.
My life is changing at a rapid pace and I will have to adapt to because in eighty-five days I will be attending my new high school, Avon Old Farms. I will have to adjust to the new setting and find new friends. RA has prepared me to do that and make a positive impact in the world.Xan H.
So while I may not love waking up early every morning, Ridgefield Academy has prepared me for the future. It has helped me develop not only into a smart student, but into a contributing member of society. I look forward to the challenges life holds for me.Pete H.
As I look out at this horizon, it reminds me of every day at school we have had the opportunity to appreciate this incredible view, and although the sun is setting on my time at RA, I know that after the sun sets here, it rises over another place.Rex J.

At Ridgefield Academy, I am leaving behind a lil’ bit of me with: the strength of the tiger, the healing qualities of the tigerlily, and the hope for tomorrow. I hope that when any of you see a tigerlily flower blooming, you will think of me out there, embracing new challenges and blooming in all sorts of ways.Tigerlily J.
I have graduated from RA, and am on my way to a new challenge in my journey called life. But wow, when I think back to when I first started going here in 6th grade, it feels like those years went by in the blink of an eye. However, in those years, I know I’ve progressed leaps and bounds.Evan K.

It feels as if I was just a shy second grader entering a classroom filled with a bunch of new faces for the first time. In those seven years, I have learned many valuable lessons from my teachers and peers, but I’ve also made amazing friendships.Isabella K.

Being an eighth grader, my classmates and I are “the leaders of the school” …. Over this year I got to know my buddy Luke and in peer leadership I worked with Mrs. Hirsh’s first grade class who always put a smile on my face. I hope have taught them how to be better people.Archie M.
RA has given me new experiences that I never would have had otherwise.. ….Throughout this one short year I have grown more than I could ever have imagined. My time here has been short but impactful and I cannot imagine where I would be now without it.Kaela M.
I’ve learned during my time here that yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today is a gift…..Although I sometimes feel like each day here at RA is just like the one before it, I still experience something new and inspiring every single day.Cate M.
To me, the alma mater means it’s time, time to execute, flourish, and continue to grow….These lyrics brought out the best in me, the worst in me, the power, the passion, confidence, and freedom. RA is my song and will forever be a part of my story.Simone M.
And now I stand here, with much to tell
Of good times and adventures on which to dwell
All of my life has been a blast
And I’m hoping all of the fun times will lastElla N.
I realize now that I am only exhausted at the end of every day because Ridgefield Academy has helped me become stronger, smarter, and more independent. As stated in the school’s alma mater, it is true, Ridgefield Academy really does prepare promised lives.Jonah P.
You have all been there for me through the ups and downs and have helped me make everyday a good day. Now as graduation concludes, I will be walking down the aisle for the third time, but this time it will be my last. I will continue to make everyday a good one and I encourage you all to do the same.Sophia P.
But through the good grades and the bad ones I have had the best guidance through it all, my friends. My friends have made attending school everyday not just easier, but lots of fun. Each of you in your own way have challenged me, encouraged me, and most importantly, taught me the value of friendship.Talia R.
When I started here in fifth grade as one of five new kids, I was originally worried about finding friends and fitting in. RA made that very easy for me and I could focus on other new things that I wanted to try.Neil S.
One day you will walk down these halls for the last time. One day you will drive off this campus forever…One day, this won’t be your life anymore and when that day comes, make sure you wouldn’t change a thing.Abigail S.
Because of this school, I learned to make decisions I would have been too afraid to make -- decisions like I do today, such as joining the fencing team. I’ve tried new things and want to continue to try new things too.Julian S.
But the construction of my building is not complete and I will continue to grow with the years that await me in my next school. Just as all buildings need a solid foundation, I know that Ridgefield Academy has done an excellent job giving me a strong foundation that I can continue to add levels upon for the rest of my life.Gabriel S.
But, what I think truly stands out and makes this school special, are the people, especially Mrs. Dominicus. I have not only gotten to know her as my teacher, but also as my advisor. She makes me think outside the box and go beyond my comfort zone everyday, making me work hard for everything in her class.Maeve S.
Definitely, 100%, make the most of your time here. Ridgefield Academy is a special place with so many opportunities, such as field trips, taking languages, and even a Farm to Table lunch program. Time is so precious. We only have so many years in our lives, and we have to spend them carefully.Chris S.
From day one, it was clear that the academics were always going to be tough…But the one thing that made it better was the help and moral support of the teachers…They aided me, and now I’m no longer a shy student who only knows a few people.William S.
Happiness has no age limit, so you should never stop doing what makes you happy. If you believe in yourself, no one can stand in your way, because anyone's happily ever after can come true with hard work and occasionally a little bit of magic.Margaret T.
As I take my last steps here at Ridgefield Academy, I start a new path in high school. I’ll be taking my first steps all over again, only this time I’ll be prepared for whatever’s coming, and that is largely thanks to RA.Sofia Y.
While attending RA, I have developed very strong relationships with each of the graduates that stand before you today and I am happy that they were the ones to help me get through my toughest moments and problems with their inspiring words and actions.Max Z.