Anacapa’s 2016 graduating seniors. (Anacapa School photo)

Taking the microphone to address the crowd gathered in the historic Casa de La Guerra courtyard Friday, June 10, Anacapa School seniors confidently delivered their senior speeches.

The honor of a senior speech is a tradition at Anacapa School graduations, and every year each speech is as unique as the individuals who deliver them.

Although the speeches were different, a theme emerged.  Each student expressed gratitude and, in some cases, awe for the transformative experience they had while at Anacapa.

This theme of growth and gratitude for the opportunities they had as students at Anacapa’s strategically small, independent, 7th-12th grade school was as much evident in the words said as in the way each senior spoke to the crowd.

Anacapa students become accustomed to asking questions, initiating dialog and speaking publicly while at Anacapa through programs such as the school’s renowned Synthesis Units, the Channel City Club Program, Breakfast Clubs, school trips and a unique and challenging curriculum that offers student leadership and opportunities for school-mentored internships and civic opportunities.

The senior speeches and intimate feeling of the evening graduation ceremony reflected the fact that students are, in the most literal sense, heard and known as individuals at Anacapa, a sharp contrast to mass graduations across the city and country, and a fact that seemed deeply appreciated by all in attendance at Friday’s event.

In addition to celebrating and honoring Anacapa’s graduating seniors, Anacapa’s graduation was an opportunity to honor award recipients.

Anacapa’s prestigious Jessica Bower Award for Community Service went to sophomore Piero Trujillo. Elena Alcerro, a junior, won the Spirit of Anacapa Award. The Parent Awards went to Marie-Isabelle Dalbadie and Maria Rodriguez.

Anacapa class of 2016 graduates are Sam Bernstein, Nike Tooby Cosmides, Megan Linda Eckert, Jade Tara Mueller-Galbraith, Neeva Pradhan, Thomas Pritchard, Alec Sherwin and Yu Zhuang.

Hilary Doubleday represents Anacapa School.