The Class of 2021’s seven-year seniors commemorated their hard work and recalled their cherished memories at KO with the Seven Year Dinner on Thursday, May 20.
This dinner is held annually for members of the senior class who have been at KO since Upper Prep. In order to include members of the KO community who have especially had an impact on the seven-year seniors, the students involved were able to request specific faculty members to attend the dinner. Families were also invited to attend to help celebrate; this year, each senior was allowed three guests.
Like everything else this year, the Seven Year Dinner was tweaked to uphold KO’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The three-person limit was instituted to allow tables to be six feet apart; the dinner itself was held outside in a tent that was also used for Senior Prom the following Sunday.
Unfortunately, some of the traditional aspects of the dinner were ultimately unable to be carried out given the circumstances. “I’m a little sad because usually the faculty shows photos of us throughout the years in a big slideshow in Roberts [Theater], but this year we aren’t able to do that because of social distancing,” senior Caitlin Budzik said.
Despite missing out on some aspects of the Seven Year Dinner, the seniors were still very appreciative of the event. “I am very thankful for the fact that we even get to have a Seven Year Dinner this year, because I know that last year’s class didn’t have this opportunity,” senior Sydney Smith said.
Speeches were given at the dinner by four seniors: Ahana Nagarkatti, Mary Ellen Carroll, speaker Eden Nenshati, and treasurer Henry Mandell. These students addressed their classmates, teachers, and others at the dinner who have aided in their growth as individuals, learners, and athletes over the past seven years. Speeches referenced the class’ shared memories from both the Middle School and the Upper School.
“The speeches brought back times that were challenging in the moment but are really fun to look back on,” senior Brandon DeLucia said. “I think all the references to our years together showed how much we’ve grown.”
In addition, Middle School history teacher Andy Krugman delivered a speech to the graduating class. “Mr. Krugman spoke at our dinner because he definitely helped a lot of us through middle school,” Sydney said. “He taught a lot of us, and he’s also just a very funny and amazing teacher.”
Brandon agreed that Mr. Krugman was an apt choice to deliver the speech to their class. “Mr. Krugman had a big impact on the vast majority of the Middle School because he has a personality and teaches a lot of people,” he said. “He taught us a lot about how the world works through his history class and through his personal stories, so I think it was really special that he got to speak to us at our seven year dinner.”
The night was a bittersweet one, as the seven-year seniors celebrated their time at KO by reminiscing on both fun and difficult times. The tradition of the Seven Year Dinner carries on to give KO’s longtime students closure and commemoration for their diligence through all of their years at KO. “It made me feel really accomplished to look around the room and see the evolution of everyone in there that I started with in sixth grade,” Brandon said. “Of all the minor achievements that I’ve had at KO, I realized the real prize is who I’ve become afterwards.”