At graduation, we were honored to welcome guest speaker Gerald Griffin, a critically acclaimed and award-winning painter, sculptor, poet, and gallery owner who has been described as the “artist of African American consciousness.” In Mr. Griffin’s moving speech, he described his belief that “artists help to shape the consciousness of society and, therefore, can have the greatest impact on whether we evolve — or devolve.”
His words were an inspirational send-off to the Class of 2018, and a fitting close to a school year that featured brilliant and socially relevant student work all year long. The work of our students not only captivated some of our largest audiences in our history, but caught the attention of the media as well. With The Academy and its students featured on WGN radio, on the front page of the Tribune, on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, on FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS, and in dozens of papers across the country, we are proud to share our story with the world.
That story continues with our announcement today that the 39 seniors in the Class of 2018 have earned nearly $10 million in scholarships to the best colleges, universities, and conservatories in the country. This year’s graduates will attend schools like Juilliard, Princeton, and Stanford, well prepared for a breathtaking variety of paths both in the arts and beyond.
I have often remarked that the arts catalyze the most important things in life: imagination, community, and joy. The arts inspire, unify, broaden perspective, heal, give voice, and mobilize, and I am so, so proud to share this building with so many young people so deeply committed to their work. I thank them — and I thank you — for being a part of this place.
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Head of School
All photos by Thomas Mohr Photography except where otherwise noted. Commencement ceremony photos by Debra Mae.