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Class of 2016 Reflects on Their Time at MCS

Friday, June 17, 2016

On Thursday our eighth-graders walked out of the Courtyard doors for the last time as Manhattan Country School students. In the fall they will start the next chapter of their lives in high school. 

Over the past couple of years our eighth-graders have worked closely with High School Placement Director Cynthia Rogers, Upper School Director Maiya Jackson and their Fifth Floor teachers to identify and apply to schools that would be the best fit for their personalities and future goals. Their high school choices represent a mix of public, private and boarding schools. 

We are so impressed by how these students have grown and what they’ve accomplished during their time at MCS. In their final days as MCS students, Maiya asked them if they were ready to leave. Read what they had to say: 


Trevor Day School

I’m not ready to say goodbye to the friends I have spent most of my life with. I don’t want to have to exit the building that I have received the majority of my education in. Even though I don’t want to leave, I am ready to graduate. MCS has prepared me like no other place could to go out into the real world as a self-aware person, an activist and a community member. MCS has taught me about social justice and the role bias plays in everything I see. During my time at MCS I learned that memorizing formulas isn’t as important as understanding the problem as a whole. At MCS, I learned that you don’t have to get everything right on your first try, and that is important to stand up for yourself when in need of help. I learned a lot at MCS and do not want to leave. But I am ready to graduate, and I will take everything I learned from this incredible school out into the world with me wherever I go.




After going to MCS for 10 years I have learned many things, from my 6-7s bird study on the ostrich to learning about the “wage of whiteness” in fifth floor history with Nassim. But the most important thing MCS has taught me is how to use my voice and that my voice makes a difference. With that lesson I will be able to advocate for others and myself in high school. Leaving the support, stability and happiness MCS provides me will be hard, but I am ready for new experiences and to spread a little MCS everywhere I go. 



Millennium Brooklyn High School

During my 10 years at MCS I’ve grown tremendously in ways I never thought possible. I’ve grown to be a passionate activist, an empowering leader and an understanding friend. Most of all, I’ve grown to be proud and amazed by who I am. MCS pushes us to be all of these things and incorporate them into our everyday thoughts and actions. Although at one point during my time here I struggled to be an individual who makes the community better, MCS has taught me to be everything I aspire to be and has made me the person I am today. That being said, MCS has given me the tools to go out and make the world a better place, and that starts now. Today I am graduating because I need to go off to spread the mission of MCS, continue to speak out against the wrongs in society, and continue my progression on a path of compassion, growth and bringing about change.




I have been at MCS for 10 years. I honestly do not know who I would be without MCS. Throughout my time here I have become a strong, independent thinker. I have learned how to voice my opinions. I have learned kindness towards others. Part of me will never be ready to leave MCS. It is the place where I grew up. Everyone in this community has helped to raise me since I was 5 years old. I will always find comfort and safety at MCS. On the other hand, I am ready to leave MCS because I will always have its values and ideals with me wherever I go. They are the ideals I now have. It may not be easy for me initially, but I know that with the abilities that have been gifted to me by our school, I will be able to continue to grow and flourish. I and the other students will be able to continue the MCS legacy elsewhere because that is what we have learned to do. I will miss MCS with all my heart, but I am ready to graduate.



Ethical Culture Fieldston School

I am ready to graduate from MCS. This school has been my home away from home throughout my nine years here. The memories I have made here will last a lifetime. I have grown so much and in so many ways during my time at Manhattan Country School. I have grown tremendously as a thinker, as a learner and student, as a friend and as a person and this school has been the driving force behind that. This school has taught me how to think critically about everything I learn, even when I am taught it from this school. I believe that I now fully understand the importance of the mission of MCS, a mission that teaches that all people should be created equal and they should be judged by the content of their character, but also that you should treat everyone kindly, and with respect and care. I also now understand this school’s mission of having engaging classrooms with hands-on activities and that school should not simply be listening to lectures and taking tests. But most importantly, MCS has taught me how to learn, so when I go on to high school and throughout the rest of my life, even if I don’t know something everyone else does, I will be O.K.      



Urban Assembly School for Green Careers

To be honest, I do not think I am ready to leave this school. I have only spent two years at this wonderful place. However, I do think I am ready to enter high school. Although I have been here for two years and I haven’t shared as many memories with MCS compared to the rest of my classmates, MCS will always have a spot in my heart. I have learned so much from this community and I am very happy that my family and I applied to Manhattan Country School.



Xavier High School

I never really thought that I would have to write a goodbye speech to my beloved MCS. At MCS I found two homes; I found the beautiful building and nature’s beauty at the Farm. I can recall the very first time I came back from the MCS farm. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to divulge all the spectacular events and techniques I experienced firsthand. The Farm is such a unique experience that not many city kids get to have, and I’m grateful for every second I've spent in the mountains of Roxbury. During my trips to the Farm, I learned how to make a pillow, I learned how to cook (my mother appreciated that very much), I learned to classify different trees in nature and how to plant and harvest crops. I had so much fun hay jumping, going on hikes, staying up late and sitting before the bonfire. The Farm is like no other place. As my dear friend John and I were talking, he brought it to my attention that it feels that the Farm has some sort of mystical power. When a student goes to the Farm, it feels as if the location is only unveiled with your classmates and no one else, and when the class leaves the Farm, it feels as if a magic fog will cloak the Farm until that specific group comes back to visit. Having this idea of the Farm only being shown for you and only you makes one feel as if they are special.

I just want to thank all the current and former teachers who have invested so much time and energy into fostering me into a young, smart, socially aware student. Without your support, who knows where I would be? I am grateful to be a part of this open community, and I’m honored to be leaving my legacy as we transfer to a new school and begin a new chapter. I am very confident that I am ready to graduate Manhattan Country School and will continue to share my MCS ideals with my future school and the world.



Bard High School of Early College

I’m ready to graduate because, after being here for 10 years, I have done work that is worlds more valuable than what people do in other schools. We went to D.C. to lobby Congress to let in more Syrian refugees, not to learn about American history like most schools do.

At my new high school, math is supposed to be very difficult. According to the math teacher, students have to think about how and why math concepts work, not just formulas. This is the core of what MCS has taught me all these years. It will by no means be easy, but I have my time at MCS to help me.

During the high school process, I took insane amounts of test prep. During one of my three-hour classes, everyone was taking a long time to answer a problem by cross multiplying. Instead, I was able to see the relationship between the numbers and answered the problem quickly. When I gave the answer and explained how I got it, my teacher called me, “A good math thinker.” This is the essence of what MCS has taught me: how to think.



The Pennington School

I have not been here for 10 and nine years like some so I don’t feel emotionally attached to this school like others. I arrived in the fifth grade. Something I learned during my time at MCS is to resolve problems that I have with others. MCS has also taught me how to be an activist and fight for what I believe in. MCS has also taught me that my opinion matters no matter what anyone says. I learned to be comfortable in who I am. At my old school I was bullied for being a female athlete but at MCS I was accepted for wanting to play sports. Also at my old school I was bullied by teachers because of my skin color. At MCS I was loved for the color of my skin and not just that, I was also loved for who I was and now who I am. 




I am definitely ready to graduate. It’s not that I won’t miss it, but from showing me how to be self-aware to equations in math, I feel that MCS has taught me all that it can and has prepared me for as much of my future as it can. MCS has shown me what it is to be part of something bigger than yourself, and that you are stronger together than alone. It has taught me to be accepting of both others and myself, and for that I am grateful.  



High School of American Studies

I’ve always seen MCS as a place that would support me at every turn, a place that would have my back, so it’s quite frightening to think of losing that everyday support. That being said, I feel more than ready to graduate. I certainly can’t predict the future, so I have almost no idea of what is going to happen for me in the years to come. However, MCS has showed me how to develop a voice. I believe that I can speak up when I need to and hold my ground when someone tests my moral values. I’m no longer near as shy as I was five years ago, let alone 10. I also have learned community responsibility. In such a close-knit community, you know that your actions and words affect almost everyone in that community.



The Beacon School

During my 10 long years at MCS I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve learned how to think critically, how to question and investigate. I’ve learned that we grow from our mistakes, and that they make up who we are. MCS has taught me to fight the injustice I see in the world and to be passionate in everything I do, to be an active learner. I am ready to graduate because MCS has taught me to be independent and to stand up for my beliefs. I am ready because it has prepared me for the things that I find in the real world. It has prepared me for the things I will find in high school, no matter how daunting. I will always carry MCS with me. The people and the things I’ve learned have shaped who I am, and I hope to use everything I’ve learned to shape this world as I become a member of society.



LaGuardia High School

As a person who spent 11 years at MCS, I can’t believe I’m leaving. And yes, it has been 11 years since I first laid eyes on this building. This building is now being emptied of the MCS spirit. I still cannot picture this school without such a phenomenal structure as this one surrounding it. And now, it is being moved. Just as I am being moved to a new building, and a new school. But of course, never again will I find family like the one I did here. And even though there were times when I never wanted to come back, I still did. Because I felt I wasn’t finished with this school. And I’m still not finished. I just have to trust myself and move on. Of course, I will come and visit. However, my years here are complete. MCS had one mission: it was to prepare me for the rest of my life and make me the person I must become. And even though it took 11 years, it definitely completed that mission.        



Rudolf Steiner School

I feel I am ready to graduate because I have really connected over my four years here.  I have connected socially and educationally. Socially, I have opened up myself by feeling open and not worrying. Through education, I have learned to confront my non-complete work and connected with teachers to complete my work. Both of these skills are crucial to life around people: to feel free, and to express myself with other people. MCS connected to me the first time I spent a day here. The people were so nice and the teachers were so welcoming and helpful. And it has stayed that way the whole time I have been here. I have completed the mission of MCS, which is all that it stands for.



School of the Future

I’ve been telling myself that I can’t wait to get the hell out of here and go to my new school. But the truth is I’m not. MCS will always be my second home. I haven’t been here since the 4-5s but I grew up in this school. Leaving MCS would be leaving my family. I can’t just throw a fit like a toddler and keep saying, “No, I’m staying here till I’m 30 and you can’t make me leave.” I have responsibilities and one of them is growing up. 



The Beacon School

I will never feel completely ready to leave MCS. To me, graduating from MCS is the equivalent of leaving my home. I have not always felt this way. For many years I failed to recognize how much MCS has shaped me as a person. I took its enriching and complex curriculum for granted and I thought for sure that I would be ready to leave. Much of this changed once I reached the Fifth Floor. I started to take notice of how much I loved all of my classes and my teachers. I began to develop a new passion for my studies and I realized the importance of my education. If it weren’t for MCS, I would not be as passionate about learning as I am now. When searching for a high school, I wanted to find a school that focused on social justice as much as MCS does. Eventually, I realized that no such school exists. This made me realize how grateful I am to be part of a school that welcomes each and every student with open arms, no matter their race, gender, sexuality or religion.

I aim to carry each and every lesson that I have learned with me to high school. So much of who I am is MCS and that is something that I will never let go. Even after 10 years of being in this school, I am still fearful of change. I will embrace this drastic change eventually, but I will never let go of the unique, outstanding and loving community that is Manhattan Country School.



The Nightingale-Bamford School

In my five years here at MCS I have learned and grown so much as a person. I have learned and thought so much about what MCS stands for and about injustice in the world. MCS has taught me so much more than academia and how to be a good student. Here I have been able to become my own thoughtful person. I am ready to graduate because MCS has given me the tools to move into high school and the world. I will carry the lessons I have learned from friends and teachers throughout life.




I’m ready to graduate MCS because of the significant changes I’ve made here as a student and as a person. MCS has prepared me for the next stage of my life, but has also taught me skills that I will never forget. I’ve learned how to appreciate and take advantage of the resources around me, the help and support of my amazing teachers and peers. I’ve learned how to be an activist and stand up for what I believe in. I’ve learned about sustainability and gained skills one can only learn on a farm. But most important, I’ve learned about myself. I’ve found so much confidence that I thought was never there before. MCS has helped me become the person I had always wanted to be. MCS is an amazing community that I’m so grateful to be a part of, and I would be proud to call my friends my family any day.



Warwick Valley High School

When speaking about MCS there are so many places I could start. I’ve learned a lot in my nine years as I've grown and become a better person in my time here. MCS has been the perfect school for me and its welcoming environment is like no other. I thrived here and I couldn’t have been so successful anywhere else. I appreciate everything that members of this community have done for me. I’ll never forget my time in this building because MCS will always be a part of who I am as a person.