Circle photo of Stacy Turner outside with notes from the head next to it

During the months of May and June, we begin to receive graduation announcements from our community.

College graduations, high school graduations, and here at HRS, we are planning our Level 8 graduation. It’s a time of reflection, celebration, and reaching a major milestone in life.

Graduation represents so many things to different people. It’s the culmination of countless hours of studying, learning, testing, growing, struggling, and ultimately achieving. I hear regularly from parents how proud they are of what their student accomplished, how they weren’t sure the day would arrive, and most importantly, how they appreciate our school and program, crediting it for helping their student find success in school.

These words of reflection are filled with emotion. Here is a snippet from one of the many messages I received:

“We are huge fans of HRS and the people who make it so special. It has been such an important piece of our children’s education and the gratitude I feel is hard to fully quantify. As we were walking to the car (after graduation), I was talking casually with another grandparent, who had not attended an HRS graduation previously. We were both commenting on how nice the ceremony was. She shared how she was so impressed at how the kids all spoke about their shared experience of struggle and feeling different, othered, and often like an outsider, but now they all felt included, seen, valued and how everyone spoke with such confidence.”

This sentiment is common. We often hear how HRS is the first school where our students really feel safe. It’s a place where they feel they belong and fit in. Our graduates articulate this best.

Here are excerpts from their 2022 graduation speeches:

“I remember coming to Hamlin Robinson and realizing that others were struggling with reading and writing too. Knowing that I wouldn’t be made fun of made me feel safer and more confident. When you feel safe and confident, you can do anything.”

“I will always be thankful for the education I got at Hamlin Robinson, and I will no longer have to be afraid of reading in front of people or worry about being able to spell simple words. I am proud to say I am prepared to move forward.”

“I remember before I came to HRS I was really insecure about my dyslexia because people always thought it was weird. But when I got to HRS no one thought my dyslexia was weird or abnormal. They treated me like a normal kid and that was when I realized I was one.”

“Hamlin Robinson gave me a freeing yet supportive space to work and ask for help.”

“I used to feel like having dyslexia was a bad thing, but Hamlin Robinson has changed that. I don’t mind telling people or feel embarrassed if I can’t read or write accurately. HRS has made me feel welcomed and safe.”

The Class of 2022 experienced a multitude of change during their middle school experience. We all know the challenges of the last three years. What we’ve come to know to be true from this experience is the importance of community and belonging, and how feeling safe is an integral part of being successful in whatever we try, including and especially in school.

The Class of 2022 persevered, showed up, and did the work. They reached the finish line and are ready for what comes next. How incredible is that?!

Stacy Turner
Head of School