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Packer’s 177th Commencement: The Class of 2024 Takes Flight

For more photos of the event visit our Flickr album.

On a perfect spring night, in a state-of-the-art theater a short walk from campus, faculty, staff and families convened to honor the class of 2024. This year’s ceremony was held for the first time at the Theater at City Tech in downtown Brooklyn. Graduates were able to invite twice as many guests and enjoy the comfort of an air-conditioned venue where every seat afforded a view of this extraordinary graduating class. 


In front of a packed audience, speakers remarked on the unusual nature of the four high school years the class of 2024 had to navigate, and their unflinching drive to show up for each other in every circumstance. Several members of the graduating class performed on stage, with Benjamin Nashel playing his own composition on piano, Kini Clement, Ella Hegarty, and Matilda Ledger delivering their rendition of Father and Son by Yusuf/Cat Stevens, and Stella Badrutt-Baer and Isabel Levine singing Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell.

Their classmates selected Elisabeth Schell and Millie Nathanson to deliver heartfelt speeches reflecting on their time at Packer and how it will inform their college careers and lives beyond. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2024! Don’t forget to come back and visit us on Joralemon Street where you will always be a part of the Packer flock. 

Enjoy excerpts from each of the Commencement speeches below:

“I think the Packer mission is a recipe for cultivating the “arts of life.” Keep on with the steps—think deeply, listen actively, speak courageously, and act with purpose and heart. And remember, these steps aren’t linear—they work together. Listening actively is not only what people say, but the larger endeavor of “taking in” another person, a text, a performance, the environment. Listening is about being open and experiencing. And then your thinking gets deeper once you have really listened.”



“One of the reasons our grade feels so connected is the support we have. Not just the support we are given by Ms. Gilfillan and our teachers, but the immense support we give to each other. The packed Pier 5 soccer games, the sold out Packer productions in the Pratt, the huge audience at the Brooklyn Historical Society for the Archives presentations, the list goes on. High school is a scary, challenging world of discovery that we were able to navigate because we had each other."



“The last thing I would like to note about pelicans is how they manage to survive when diving from such great heights. They have air sacs beneath their skin which inflate and act like cushions. They also turn slightly to the left to avoid impact on their vital organs. No matter where we are or what we are going through, we all have what we need right inside of us.”

-Millie Nathanson 
Senior Speaker


“Two particular qualities of this class that I’ve admired over the years are the way you’ve looked out for one another and how you’ve shown up for each other. You care. You made sure you found support when it was needed and you celebrated each other’s interests and passions. That's not always a given and should not be taken for granted. And I hope that it’s something you’ll continue to do—look out and show up.”

-Kate GilfiLlan 
Dean of the Class of 2024


“At Packer, our culture is built on a love of learning and a commitment to justice. We ask that every community member is seen and respected and valued for who they are as an individual. We’re by no means perfect, but we try hard to meet that ambition. We know that such a joyous and mutually supportive community does not happen by accident. We know that it’s up to each of us to do our best to nurture and safeguard it.

My greatest wish as you leave Packer is that you take that knowledge with you. That you recognize that the culture of any community comes about as the sum of the attitudes and actions of those who belong to it.”

-Maria Valentina Nunes 
Upper School Division Head



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