Commencement Ceremonies of the Class of 2024

Congratulations, Dear Graduates!

The commencement ceremonies of the Class of 2024 took place on May 21, 2024.

Here are some captured moments and wise words that were shared with the graduates on their special event.

As is the tradition, ACS President Emily Sargent Beasley addressed the graduates first:

"…This class began their ACS journey in the fall of 2019. Your five years at ACS began at the height of COVID. Through this year and within the years that followed, you demonstrated a commitment to excellence. You committed to a community of peers in ways that carried forward the caliber of academic achievement this institution invites and a spirit of contribution this community deserves. Between the time you graced the steps of Sanders on your opening day photo of your Prep year through your celebration of Last Bell[…] a relentless personal investment took place. Each of you found a way over their past five years to not only participate but to contribute in ways that make us stronger as an institution.

"Everything you need is already within you as it has always been and as it will always be. The person who you were in your earliest years when you first learned to look at life, was enough. The pride that emerged from the simplest of feats is the same sense of pride that is called on today. The joy that comes from you and through you, is the joy that will continue to sustain you. BUT there is more of you to discover and to discover you must continue what you have already done, to accept that with life there is responsibility–and to accept that such responsibility requires courage: to accept that aspiration is set within conditions that invite risk and insist on challenge; being wise enough to recognize that such risk and challenge is best driven by joy. It is this relationship between risk and challenge that invites an inspiration that is so inherently your own. When the bold edges of what you dream possible steer you. When these same bold edges transform fear into opportunity. How lucky you are to engage in this discovery among peers who share in life’s responsibility. It is this space of interaction between self and others that enables you to deeply recognize what you stand for. It is here where you orient yourself and have the opportunity to engage in values that have sometimes silently but always bravely carried you– that when these values stray and you find yourself adrift, it is these familiar values that will redirect. 

"Enjoy this self discovery. It lasts a lifetime.."

With much wisdom and just as much humor, Class of 2001 ACS alum Vesselin Arnaudov addressed the graduates on behalf of the ACS Board of Trustees he is part of. After ACS, Vesselin went on to study Computer Science at Brown University and spent most of his career in software and research at VMware Bulgaria.
“Not all those who wander are lost… Some are merely finding their paths. Еxplore the world with the courage of adventurers and the wisdom of scholars. Cherish the friendships that inspire you, rise to the challenges that refine you, and never forget your way back to this community that has shaped you.
"Now, forge ahead with audacity and grace. Remember, the future is not a place you are going, but one you are creating. Congratulations, graduates! The world awaits your brilliance. No pressure!"

Opera singer, educator, and cultural diplomat Carla Dirlikov Canales taught the ACS Class of 2024 a captivating voice lesson through her moving keynote address.

"Remember, don’t let anyone take your voice from you. Find it, and hold onto that precious jewel with all the care you can give it. Your voice is your gold, and your most important tool. Use it wisely. Strengthen it. There will be times when you can use your voice to help amplify the voiceless. And there will be times when you will need someone to help you amplify your own. But most importantly, don’t just find your voice. Find ways to let your voice siiiing!"


Pavel Constantinov, ACS Class of 2004, addressed the graduates on behalf of the alumni community. After ACS, Pavel studied English and American Studies at Sofia University and Visual Arts in New Bulgarian University and is today the owner of a translations company and the founder of a scholarship at ACS for students from single-parent households.

"The friendships you made here, they are yours always. They will stay with you," he said.

"Working with people can sometimes be very tough. But working with ACS alumni, in my experience, is both a pleasure, very productive, and fun."