Highlights of Laurel Springs’ 2024 Year-End Celebration

“Our Year-End Celebration is a one-of-a-kind experience that I’ve never seen in any other school environment. I love watching students’ faces light up when they see each other in person. And, because our families join us as well, this truly becomes a celebration of connection and community, capped by a beautiful Commencement ceremony to celebrate the success of our seniors.”  –Laurel Springs’ Head of School

Cue the tassel turn and confetti! Laurel Springs School wrapped up the 2023-2024 school year with an incredible, 3-day Year-End Celebration (YEC) in sunny Orlando, Florida. Families and graduates from all over the world came to join in on the fun! From luncheons and amusement parks to prom and graduation, our students and families watched online learning come to life in person throughout the week’s events. Let’s relive the highlights.

Academy Luncheon at Planet Hollywood

“Over 130 Academy students and families kicked-off YEC events with the first ever Academy-only luncheon,” shared our Academy Education Manager. “Students and families reconnected or met in-person for the first time while enjoying the positive energy and delicious food at Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs!

Grad Night at The Fun Spot

What high school senior doesn’t love an evening spent at the amusement park?! Our 2024 grads let loose at The Fun Spot, where laughter was the soundtrack of the night. New friendships were developing left and right, and there was truly something for everyone to enjoy – roller coasters, go-karts, arcade games, cotton candy, and even a 300-foot Sky Coaster

Meetups, Field Trips and Hangouts

Throughout the week, Laurel Springs hosted special events for different grade levels.

K-7 students were invited to the Sea Life Aquarium in Icon Park for an immersive experience followed by lunch with 8-11th graders! “I saw so much delight on her face at the aquarium,” said one parent about her 3rd-grade daughter. K-7 students also spent an evening together with their families at the family hotel, where lively conversation, food and drinks were enjoyed!

Underclassmen had their own exciting schedule. “The 8-11th Grade Social was so much fun,” mentioned a Laurel Springs high school teacher. “Students were hanging out and playing card games, including those around them in their groups, enjoying treats from Kona Ice, and having a really good time!” 8-11th graders also took a field trip to the Museum of Illusions for a mind-bending exhibit, and enjoyed lunch with the K-7 students after their aquarium visit.

One experience that was particularly special for Laurel Springs’ 8th graders was their 8th Grade Celebration Carnival, where they met with a special guest, Abigail the Advocate, connected with each other, earned prizes, and celebrated their transition to high school at Laurel Springs!

“It was so much fun to provide a unique experience for these kids that honored all of their hard work and allowed them to celebrate this milestone with their peers and families,” said Laurel Springs’ Dean of Counseling.

Graduation Ceremony at Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center

This year’s Commencement goes down in the books as one of our most spectacular experiences to date! Our graduation ceremony at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center was nothing short of wonderful. Speeches from graduating students Jaydan Youngblom, Stella Payne, Luke McLeod, Sofia Corte-Real and Nina Galeano inspired us all, while Commencement Speaker Blake Canterbury delivered a motivational speech about living life with purpose. The event was topped off by Alumni President Alexander Lebedev welcoming our new graduates into the Laurel Springs alumni family. Finally, tassels turned and students enjoyed a beautiful reception with their families outside of the auditorium!

“The rehearsal was so efficient and well thought out,” reflects one graduate. “The graduation itself was incredible! It was a very proud and honorable moment for me.”

Those who were unable to attend in-person Commencement in Orlando joined us for Virtual Commencement online, where they were still recognized in live programming and had their own chance to walk across the stage!

Senior Brunch and Parent Ambassador Breakfast

Friday’s events kicked off with a Parent Ambassador Breakfast, where Laurel Springs’ Parent Ambassadors joined Head of School and Dean of Community Engagement for a morning of connection, coffee, and bites.

Seniors celebrated their achievements with brunch at Paddlefish Restaurant at Disney Springs. Laurel Springs’ Alumni Association President, Vice President, and other distinguished alumni spoke to the senior class, and everyone who attended received a special alumni swag package! It was a chance for everyone to connect after commencement and relish in the beginning of a new life chapter.

Prom at Trellis 925

Laurel Springs’ Prom was a total hit! “From students doing the worm, a more modern macarena song, and the ultimate beach ball toss (but with blow-up safari animals), prom was filled with laughter and smiling from ear to ear!” shared a Laurel Springs staff member.

The safari-themed event took place at Trellis 925, a cool loft venue with an iconic dance floor. Seniors took a bus over from the family hotel and were invited to dance the night away, take pictures in a professional photo booth, enjoy a range of refreshments, and participate in prize drawings! The night was a lively one.

“YEC is such a fun event for so many different reasons, but my favorite part was getting to see all my friends in person and dance the night away at prom!” said one student.

Those who weren’t able to attend in-person prom in Orlando enjoyed our Virtual Prom hosted by a professional DJ, and packed with interactive games and contests.

Parent Social

Parents deserve to have fun, too! Our Parent Social took place during prom and presented an opportunity for folks to connect with one another more intentionally. Drinks, bites, and music were provided. “I danced the night away!” shared one of our parent ambassadors.

Laurel Springs staff and faculty joined in on the fun as well! “Having the opportunity to meet our Laurel Springs families at the parent social was extremely memorable,” said our Director of Partnerships. “It was incredible hearing parents speak about how Laurel Springs has reignited their child’s passion for learning. One particular parent from Bulgaria spoke glowingly about our recorded lectures, interactive assignments, and live sessions, which has kept her student engaged and motivated.”

Why Families Love Laurel Springs’ Year End Celebration

Never mind the fun events and free food, families and students love our Year End Celebration mostly because it’s a chance to spend time with each other in person for 3 days straight and celebrate their child’s accomplishments! Some students meet one another in person for the first time at YEC. Others discover something in common with the peer in front of them in line at commencement and become lifelong friends. 2024 graduate, Jordan, shares their powerful experience:

“I was super nervous going in, thinking it would be very awkward for me since I knew nobody. During the lunch before graduation rehearsal, I invited another student to my table. We immediately became friends, and my initial fear turned into excitement for the rest of the weekend. More people came to sit with us, and I’d already made a group of friends to hang out with. Overall, I had a blast meeting these new people and making unforgettable memories. Everyone was kind and helpful – teacher and student – throughout YEC. I hope future graduates have as good of an experience as I did.”

As the celebrations came to an end, the sense of community and joy was palpable. Our Year-End Celebration is a powerful illustration of the bonds our students build with each other throughout the year via classes, clubs, hangouts and in-person field trips. Further, it is such a fun celebration of important milestones for 8th graders and seniors. We can’t wait to make more memories with our families next year (and all of the years to come)! San Diego, California, you’re next!

Written by

Laurel Springs School

Laurel Springs School

Laurel Springs is a fully accredited, private online school for K-12 students. With a premier college-prep online curriculum including AP and Honors courses, an ever-expanding schedule of in-person and virtual events, and a global community spanning over 100 countries, we’re ranked as one of the top online private schools in the nation.

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