With ‘two wheels and an open road,’ Class of 2023 says goodbye to Archer in Senior Farewell Ceremony


Photo credit: Nina Sperling

Wearing flower crowns designed by the seventh graders, seniors Azel Al-Kadiri, Olivia Torrington, Margaret Morris, Sophie Altemus and Alyssa Ponrartana listen to Delara Tehranchi’s (’23) speech. “Something I’m really going to miss about Archer is that sense of community, and everybody is one big group of friends and you never feel ostracized or alone,” Morris said. “All the time, there’s always someone you can turn to.”

By Nina Sperling, Senior Reporter

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?”

These are the last two lines of the poem “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, which Mia Ronn (’23) recited at the senior farewell ceremony. The ceremony was held  Thursday, May 25, in the courtyard. All students, faculty and staff members came together to celebrate the Class of 2023, as well as families of the seniors who received awards.

The celebration, a tradition which has taken place annually for more than 15 years, gives seniors the opportunity to say goodbye to the Archer community and campus before their graduation at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Before the ceremony began, some of the Class of 2023 performed an impromptu dance to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin‘” from “Teen Beach Movie,” which Student Body President Rose Chuck (’23) petitioned as their eighth grade recognition ceremony song in middle school.

Senior Ella Poon, who had been at Archer since seventh grade, said the Senior Farewell Ceremony was emotional for her because she realized it was the Class of 2023’s last time on campus as Archer students.

“It was probably the most emotional senior thing,” Poon said. “I guess it’s mainly because we’re sharing it with our fellow students and peers that it feels more emotional. It’s our last time in the courtyard, so I think I enjoyed it actually more than I did the actual graduation.”

Similarly, Margaret Morris (’23) said it felt surreal to be graduating, but she was grateful she and the other seniors were able to celebrate and commemorate their time at Archer together.

“It’s really nice and very emotional to gather everyone together and celebrate each other and the amazing things everyone in this grade has accomplished and the people they are,” Morris said. “I’m very lucky to experience it with them.”

At the beginning of the ceremony, Chuck delivered her last speech to the Archer community before ceremoniously passing the gavel, per Archer tradition, to the next student body president, Anaiya Asomugha (’24). Chuck said she is grateful she was able to represent the student body this year, as it was a goal she had for many years.

“I have enjoyed every moment of my time on student council. You guys have given me a place to express the weirdest, most creative parts of myself, and for that I’m forever grateful,” Chuck said. “Being all of your guys’ biggest cheerleader and planning events that brought even the slightest amount of joy to this community has been the most rewarding experience.”

Senior Delara Tehranchi addressed her class and the audience as the senior farewell speaker. She told the audience about her grandmother’s background as an Iranian woman and how that impacted her experience at Archer. Tehranchi spoke about how the seniors have “grown in [their] own distinct ways.”

“We are artists and writers, philanthropist and entrepreneurs, activist and performers,” Tehranchi said. “Alone, we may just be one of these identities. But that’s the thing about Archer. Here, you’re never alone, and together, we are collectively so much more.”

In addition to the speeches, certain seniors were given awards for their contributions to the school and community throughout their time at Archer.

The seniors who received awards included Sophie Altemus (’23) who was given the Visual Arts Award for her work in photography. Spanish teacher Talia Geffen presented Lizette Gonzalez  (’23) with the Gary David Goldberg Award for modeling “courage and conviction” as well as and being a “dedicated and compassionate leader” throughout her time at Archer.

Poon received the Performing Arts Award for her contributions to Archer performing arts as a leader of the stage crew in multiple Archer productions.

“It was a good feeling because it was validating that all the hard work and hours that I’ve put into Archer performing arts were being recognized,” Poon said. “So, I was just like, ‘Okay, all the time I spent was something that was of service to the wider community.'”

Towards the end of her speech, Chuck talked about the sense of connection within the Class of 2023. She said she felt the seniors were just recently in middle school. Chuck added she felt emotional about moving on from Archer, but she is grateful she got to grow up with the other 72 students in her grade.

“As badly as I wish I could do another six years here at Archer, knowing that I am venturing off into this scary, unknown world with my 72 sisters by my side gives me all the hope I needed to leave this place with my head held high,” Chuck said. “The connections we have made here do not end after tomorrow. I know without a doubt that these bonds will last a lifetime.”