Commencement Gallery

Check out the 2015 Commencement photos of the procession, ceremony, legacy families, and candids!

College Destinations

The Class of 2015 boasts a diverse list of college destinations, as varied as the students themselves. We congratulate them on their College choices!

College Shirt Day Gallery

To celebrate the seniors' college choices, we dubbed May 1st - the day that most students commit to colleges and universities - College Shirt Day. They had a lot of fun with this visual celebration of the next phase in their lives!  Check out their mugging for the camera in the  photo album here.

College Counceling Blog - May 1st, 2015

Susan Tree - Director of College Counseling 

May 1st… a day of historical and emotional significance. Spring festivals, International Workers’ Day, debut of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, and birthday of Jake Foushee (ask your teenage daughter). To high school seniors around the county, May 1st is the official Candidate’s Reply Date: the date by which they must reserve a space in the first-year class at the college of their choice. Most colleges require a hefty financial deposit – upwards of $500 – and require the student to sign a statement affirming that s/he is making this commitment to enroll at one and only one college. It is an important formality marking the end of a long and challenging process for students and parents – and the teachers and college counselors who have educated and guided them. 

At Westtown, we recognize this day by asking our seniors to sport a t-shirt proclaiming their choice. Of course many have been wearing college garb picked up on campus visits (and their older siblings’ hand-me-downs) for months, even years. A t-shirt carries so many unspoken messages… “I visited here, someone I know visited here and thought of me, I liked this place but could never get, I like these school colors…” It is a joyful day at Westtown as we share the names, the colors, and the stories. The seniors run in and out of the South Room with different groups of friends, having their pictures taken. The laughter spills out into Central and down the Main Hall in both directions. “Come with me – let’s have our picture taken together! We are all going to college in Boston. We are all going to the West Coast. We are all going to colleges that start with the letter B”. Groups forms, friends pose, smiles spread to those of us who stop in Central to watch. We feel their excitement, the joy of their accomplishments, the hopefulness of a future just beginning to unfurl, the love of the parents standing invisibly behind them.

We feel their excitement, the joy of their accomplishments, the hopefulness of a future just beginning to unfurl, the love of the parents standing invisibly behind them.

You would think that the final selection of a college would be the easy, natural result of a thoughtful college search. Well, sometimes. Sometimes it just happens without much to-do. Colleges are suggested by the college counselors, family friends, the pediatrician, the hairdresser… campus visits are made and applications filed. Acceptances confirm what student and parent knew to be a good fit and one college rises to the top of the list. Get that shirt – you are on your way! But for many, there is a more arduous journey to May 1st. Students and parents may disagree about location, fields of study, or affordability. Unspoken concerns and limitations may suddenly spring into the conversation like unexpected rain on a picnic. Families may have to discuss harsh realities but, with any luck, come out of it with a greater understanding of the choice that is right for everyone: the student and the soon-to-be parent(s) of adult child.

So many seniors wear their t-shirt proudly on May 1st as an emblem of their accomplishments, their ticket out the door of high school, or maybe their Red (or blue or yellow or white) Badge of Courage. They are already immersed in the Facebook page of the incoming college class to which they belong, even choosing a roommate and scoping out the best dorm and first-year seminar professors. Others? Some struggle to even picture leaving Westtown. They can’t imagine finding friends and this profound sense of community elsewhere. They know in their hearts that they will, that they don’t want to stay at Westtown forever, but it’s hard to see this special time coming to an end. There are always a few students who aren’t going to their first choice college; maybe it was unaffordable or their parents weren’t on board. But on May 1st, everyone recognizes that college choices are as varied, interesting, and exciting as the seniors themselves.

So here’s to May 1st, one of those dates that celebrates an ending and beginning rolled in to one. The next one will be graduation – and there will be no college t-shirts then. That day will be all about white dresses, dark suits, and the solemn yet joyful optimism of young people ready to take the next step on their journey. But for now, let’s enjoy t-shirt day.

Susan K. Tree 4.2015 - susan.tree@westtown.edu

 

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