Lucy Foerster ’03 Returns to Hyde To Give Speech, Receive Diploma

This July Hyde-Bath graduate Lucy Foerster ’03 journeyed back to the high school that “changed her life,” stood under the chandelier in the Mansion, and delivered a graduation speech. Why did she give a speech 14 years after she had graduated? Hadn’t she already given a speech in the Sunken Garden in 2003?

Yes, she delivered her first speech in 2003, but not for a Hyde Diploma. A Hyde graduation is a unique event, unlike traditional high school graduations. At Hyde, a student can be the recipient of a Diploma, a Certificate, or a Document. Traditional education places a primary focus on a student’s talents and abilities based on a particular standardized level of measurement. A Hyde education places a primary focus on a student’s character and unique potential, and focuses on each student’s personal best as opposed to a best compared to his or her peers.

A Hyde senior goes through a process called Senior Evaluations, during which he or she expresses a self-evaluation of his or her year and selects a designation upon which others might comment and eventually vote in favor of or against. This process occurs in a seminar-like fashion. The overall purpose of the process and the graduation is to enable the senior to take a deep, honest look at him or herself.

The three designations they must choose from are;

Diploma – the Diploma signifies that the individual is ready to conduct his or her life according to standards of personal excellence.

Certificate – this designation is symbolic of significant growth at Hyde, but is indicative of a few “loose ends,” which cause the senior to fall a bit short of the Diploma standard.

Document – the Document signifies that the individual passed the academic requirements for a Hyde graduation, but has not experienced a level of growth sufficient for participation in a Hyde graduation.

The word “commencement” means beginning, and the Hyde graduate begins a new phase of life. Preparation for this phase requires introspection, but also comment and reflection from peers and faculty, leading to the designation which the graduate leaves the school with. Some choose to leave with the Certificate designation, waiting to get their Hyde Diploma until they either have more life experiences, or if they feel they need more time to reflect on their character growth and vision for the future. They then have an open door opportunity to return to Hyde and give a speech when they feel ready to receive a Hyde Diploma, which is exactly what Lucy Foerster ’03 returned to Hyde to do this July.

Of her experience returning and giving her Diploma speech, she said,

“Yesterday was an amazing morning, one that has been a long time coming. I might have spent two years as a resident student but the life lessons of The Hyde School Process have continued to shape the person I am today & the person I look forward to being in the future. Huge thanks to my family, friends and all the faculty at Hyde. Special thanks to Laura, Mal and Mary who set up the time. Also much love to my amazing cousin Will and beautiful friend Allison for being a part of experience. It was amazing to talk in front of some newbies who are just starting their own journey at this special place.

As this day has been approaching I’ve talked with many people about their life outlooks and what is important to them. One of my friends asked how I knew that I was ready for this day, the day to come back and get the Hyde School Diploma. It really came down to knowing that I wasn’t afraid to fail. Fear of failure was so scary for so long. To get through each day I have to trust that Everything Happens For a Reason. My best happens with the power of curiosity, the pursuit of truth, embracing love and trusting in courage.”

We applaud Lucy for the growth she has made in her life journey since Hyde, and congratulate her on her receipt of a Hyde Diploma.

If you are a Hyde alum and would like to come back to Hyde and give a graduation speech to receive your Diploma, please contact the Alumni Office at