Advice includes ‘be curious, be kind, be happy, be grateful’ — and ‘Go chop a log’

Staff Report

Nearly two dozen bid farewell to their high school education as they celebrated their graduation from Midland School, the small boarding school on the outskirts of Los Olivos.

All of the graduates have been accepted to at least one four-year university, according to school officials.

Head of School Christopher Barnes speaks to students and parents about their mission and philosophy.

Besides Head of School Christopher Barnes, a number of students addressed the class during the intimate ceremony — School Prefects Duncan McCarthy and Anneliese Silveyra, Senior Speakers Mark Gong and Nefertari Wall-Arbuckle.

In a Midland tradition, a junior, Adrienne Howard, also gave a speech full of memories and good wishes for the graduating class.

This year, an alumnus-created patch was attached to each student’s diploma. The phrase “Go Chop A Log” brought a sense of humor and reminded students of the unique community they had been a part of at Midland.

Every year, a parent speaker is included in the ceremony. This year, Head of Food Services, valley resident and four-time Midland parent Gloria Murillo shared an inspiring message with the students. She sent them off from Midland with the advice to “be curious, be kind, be happy, be grateful.”

Midland students live, study and work on the 2,860-acre campus that was founded by Paul Squibb at the foot of Figueroa Mountain.

A Harvard graduate, Squibb and his wife Louise founded Midland in 1932 and created it to be a small, rural community. The students and teachers live together and are bound by the tenets of self reliance, minimal consumption and closeness to nature.

“Coupled with academic excellence and a love of the outdoors, we see a maturity, confidence, and know-how that will serve him his entire life, no matter what direction he may choose to take,” parent Pamela Doiron said.

Midland is guided by the following principles:

– The essential ingredients of learning are a student, a teacher, and an idea.

– A high-quality college preparatory education should be accessible to families of all economic means.

– A simple, self-reliant lifestyle, close to nature, teaches us to develop our inner resources, to distinguish between needs and wants, and to appreciate life’s fundamental joys and challenges.

– A school community entrusting students with authentic leadership roles, emphasizing individual and collective responsibility, and relying on its own work to meet its basic needs, prepares students to take care of themselves and to serve others.

– Connection to the environment, through academic education and everyday example, teaches students to be good stewards of the earth.

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