Each September, Lamplighter fourth grade students and their parents join together with faculty and staff for the annual Senior Luncheon. The event is an opportunity to celebrate the students’ journey through Lamplighter and commemorate the beginning of their Senior year at the School. During this signature event, each fourth grader is presented with their Senior pin by a parent or other influential adult. According to Dr. Joan Buchanan Hill, Lamplighter’s Head of School, “the pin represents the hard work and dedication on behalf of each fourth grade student.”
As always, the event featured a delicious lunch, along with the opportunity for parents and students to reflect on the Lamplighter experience leading up to this moment. Families discussed their favorite Lamplighter memories, as well as the qualities that make the School a special place to learn and grow.
New to this year’s Senior Luncheon was the inclusion of a young alumni panel featuring recent Lamplighter graduates. The panel was comprised of eight middle and high school students currently enrolled in seven different Dallas area independent schools. Clayton Hollingsworth, Director of Advancement and Communications at Lamplighter, served as the moderator and introduced each panelist – Jack Cohen ʼ15, Kate Eastin ʼ16, Danny Enrico ʼ13, Emma Grimes ʼ13, Ananya Jain ʼ16, Klyde Warren ʼ13, John Weinberg ʼ17, and Stella Wrubel ʼ16 – to the crowd of soon to be Lamplighter alumni and alumni parents. Hollingsworth began the presentation by asking each young alumnus to describe Lamplighter in one word. The heartfelt responses from the panel included: “home,” “special,” “creative,” “passionate,” “comfortable,” “nurturing,” “loving,” and “childhood.” Eastin ʼ16 chose “special” because “there’s no place like Lamplighter.” While Cohen ʼ15 selected “home” because “all the teachers want you to be there.”
Next, each panelist was asked to share a favorite memory of Lamplighter from their time at the School. Not surprisingly, many of the cherished Lamplighter traditions – such as Carnival, Kindergarten ice cream parlor, and the Senior Opera – were referenced among the notable memories. However, other special memories mentioned by the young alums included reflections that weren’t necessarily event-specific, but rather represented every day experiences at the School, like hugs from Early Childhood Teacher Mrs. McCullough at morning carpool, and caring for the chickens.
Hollingsworth then directed his next question to the oldest panelists – Enrico ʼ13, Grimes ʼ13, and Warren ʼ13 – all current tenth grade students. He asked them to describe how their Lamplighter experience prepared them for Upper School. Grimes ʼ13 commented that she was introverted as young student, but Lamplighter helped her “become so much more comfortable making friends and going outside my comfort zone.” Enrico ʼ13 also referenced Lamplighter’s influence in helping him build friendships, noting, “my friendships at Lamplighter carried on and still help me get through rough times.” Warren ʼ13 shared that his every day conversations with teachers at Lamplighter helped prepare him to form relationships with teachers in high school.
Younger panelists, Jain ʼ16 and Weinberg ʼ17, also referenced the notable impact that the Lamplighter teachers had on their early childhood and elementary school experience. Jain ʼ16 said, “the teachers taught me to learn and have fun at the same time,” while Weinberg reminisced about his time at Lamplighter remarking, “my teachers I have now at Cistercian are great and want me to succeed…. but they don’t greet me with a hug like the teachers did at Lamplighter!”
The presentation with the young alumni panel concluded with a question for Stella Wrubel ʼ16, whose mother, Lucy Reeves Wrubel ʼ78, is also a Lamplighter alumna. With a now 40-year history with the School, the Wrubel family’s relationship with Lamplighter extends throughout a significant portion of the School’s 65-year history. When asked what her dream is for Lamplighter and its future students, Wrubel ʼ16 responded emotionally with, “I hope everyone can have as incredible experience as I did. I wouldn’t change anything… it’s just perfect!”
The Senior Luncheon concluded with words of gratitude to the young alumni panel and parting words by Dr. Hill. Hill addressed the crowd of Senior parents, in closing, “Thank you for choosing Lamplighter for your student.”