A Walk to Remember

Veritas Prep and North Phoenix Prep May 19, 2023

Senior Walk at North Phoenix

This was the last week of school for a few of our academies, which means the schools were vibrant with ceremonies, concerts, and commencements to honor our graduating classes. North Phoenix Prep and Veritas Prep continued their ceremonial observation of Senior Walks during their last days of school, as more Great Hearts academies will partake in this meaningful tradition next week.

Picture these seniors parading through the halls of their school, wearing their caps, gowns, and cords, as they are cheered on by underclassmen and lower school students. The excitement is at an apex and emotions race as these seniors walk the halls they have walked as high school students and some even as elementary students.

Seniors at the Senior Walk at North Phoenix Prep

For the seniors, the walk is one of many “lasts” they will experience as they transition out of high school. As they pass by the lockers, the trophy cases, and the many memories that linger in the halls, the finality becomes all too real. There was a moment when the Veritas seniors passed through the archway offices and they saw themselves in pictures on the walls of their fifth-grade promotion photo, probably the first time they had seen the photo since they left the lower school halls. The reality set in of the legacy they have been a part of and indelibly leave on their school.

For underclassmen, the walk serves as inspiration. They cheer the seniors on as they see themselves in that cap and gown one day.  It’s that preverbal dangling carrot that reminds them that all the hard work they are putting in now will culminate in a celebration of their own. It’s a way of sending off their own, with the knowledge that they will get to join them soon. The excitement they exhibit is just as much for their own journey as it is to congratulate the graduates.

Senior Walk at North Phoenix Prep

Finally for the faculty, the celebration provides a “pat on the back” for a job well done. Of all the emotions during these walks, those felt by the faculty may arguably be felt the deepest. The faculty has walked alongside these students, aiding in their human formation. They understand what lies ahead of these scholars. They have watched them grow over the past years and look forward to all that these amazing humans have the potential to achieve. All with the satisfying knowledge that they had a small part of the developing story.

Senior Walk at Veritas

Veritas concluded their Senior Walk with a Send-Off Ceremony where each grade, from ninth to twelfth, recited an excerpt of literature. From My Antonia, A Tale of Two Cities, Republic Book VII, and The Brothers Karamazov to Paradise Lost. The ceremony concluded with a group recitation of an excerpt from The Divine Comedy. The recitation of Divina Commedia was read in Latin, and it was the last words of Virgil to Dante, which proved to be fitting for a farewell.

“Virgil fixed his eyes on me, and said: ‘Son you have seen the temporal and the eternal fire, and have reached a place where I, by myself, can see no further. Here I have led you, by skill and art: now, take your delight for a guide: you are free of the steep path, and the narrow. See, there, the sun that shines on your forehead, see the grass, the flowers and the bushes, that the earth here produces by itself.

While the lovely, joyful eyes, that, weeping, made me come to you, are arriving, here you can sit down, or walk amongst all this. Do not expect another word, or sign, from me. Your will is free, direct and whole, and it would be wrong not to do, as it demands: and, by that, I crown you, and mitre you, over yourself.’”

And with that, the graduating seniors exited the gymnasium one last time as student scholars, as the junior class rose to their feet, ceremoniously taking their place as the rising seniors of the school.

Rising seniors at Veritas

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