Charter School celebrates class of 2024

Seven graduating students received their diplomas on Sunday.


Friends and family gathered this Sunday to celebrate the Charter School graduating class of 2024. Seven graduating students in flower crowns sat across the stage, receiving praise, admiration, advice, scholarships, and ultimately their diplomas, preparing each student for the adventures ahead. 

The emotional gathering was one filled with laughter and tears, as students thanked their teachers — and teachers thanked their students — for the lessons they learned from one another. 

Graduates included Ella Blodgett, Sebastian Bennett-Rock, Lucia Capece, Matthew Graham, Vivian Peatie, Grace Robinson, and Kaitlyn Vanderhoop. 

The ceremony was held on the grounds of the school’s West Tisbury campus, under a white tent adorned with colorfully dyed silks.

Graduating students walked into the ceremony with linked arms as the audience rose from their seats and Jack Johnson’s “Upside Down” began playing: “Who’s to say I can’t do everything?”

Peter Steedman, director of the school, commended the class’ leadership, and acknowledged that they “challenged themselves to go beyond their comfort zone.”

This class started their freshman year in the fall of 2020 on Zoom due to COVID. That year, the Charter School was struggling in its search for classroom space to accommodate students, and was also trying to manage the changing classroom culture. “This class chose to lead, and our school followed their example,” said Steedman, referring to the class’ eagerness to keep learning in the face of unknown challenges. 

Each graduating student received a gift from one of the school’s younger grades during the school presentations, a Charter School tradition. 

The high school students gave their former classmates what they called a “Charter Starter Kit,” with everything they might need to go out into the world. The canvas bag included homemade MVPCS pins, thrifted silverware and cups, handmade soap, room spray, seven magic beans, a songbook with all of the Charter School songs, pieces of silks that were formerly used to decorate the graduation tent, and a homemade calendar filled with pictures of faculty and administrators. 

Students were also presented with several different scholarships to aid them in their future; all seven received the Options in Education scholarship, presented by Laura Hearn. 

Blodgett, Peatie, Robinson, Bennett-Rock, and Vanderhoop also received the Holy Ghost scholarship from the Portuguese-American Club, which is able to give out approximately $49,000 in total this year, between the Charter School and the Regional High School.

Bennett-Rock, who had attended the Charter School since kindergarten, and will be attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall, addressed the audience, promising to keep his speech brief, stating, “I’m leaving now, to broaden horizons.”

Vanderhoop, who has been at the Charter School for six years, and will be attending Curry College to pursue early education, said her experience at the school “made me realize my passion for wanting to go into teaching.”

Capece, who will also be attending UMass Amherst, shared a personal goal she had previously set, “to break down the barrier between grades,” explaining that being at a K-12 school gives Charter School students a special ability to come together. She worked “to be someone who is approachable, and who bridges the gap between seniors and freshmen” and “helped create a culture of inclusivity and kindness,” and she urged future students to do the same. 

Robinson shared how grateful she was for the support she received at the Charter School: “I found that there is so much to learn from each staff member and student, if you allowed yourself to listen. The Charter School is one of the only places I’ve found a balance of humanity and education.”

The graduating students also presented the school with new, handmade parking lot signs, which will be installed after future renovations. 

Deirdre Brown, who teaches U.S. and International Baccalaureate World History, delivered the commencement speech. “Our goal here at the Charter School is to create graduates who are lifelong learners,” she began.

She went on to leave students with three pieces of advice: “Never, never, never give up,” “Embrace the journey,” and “Effort is its own worthy goal.”

“As you set out to conquer the world, I urge you to never lose sight of the values that define you — integrity, compassion, and a thirst for knowledge. Remember the lessons you learned at the Charter School, in and outside of the classroom, and carry them wherever you go,” Brown said. 

The students accepted their degrees as another standing ovation ensued. Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” began playing, and the students left the tent on their own, with no direction home, into the complete unknown.


  1. It was wonderful hearing about the Charter School graduation. What dedicated teachers and students! I felt like i was there at the graduation!

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