Category: Around The Circle

Academic Convocation 2019

Last night’s academic convocation celebrated the stunning success of our students in the classroom, but it also celebrated the way our experiences within the classroom can have a stunning impact on our lives.

At last night’s ceremony, Head of School Steve Griffin announced the permanent renaming of our 10th Grade Departmental Award in Visual Arts. Ms. Hastings then had the honor of bestowing the Jo-Ann Hastings Award to its first recipient, Marie Hua.

“The Jo-Ann Hastings Award in the Visual Arts recognizes the contribution of Jo-Ann Hastings, MacDuffie Visual Art teacher from 1986 to 2019. This award recognizes the qualities that Ms. Hastings encourages: technical excellence, creativity, and the understanding that through perseverance, one can always improve one’s artwork,” said Griffin.

As Ms. Hastings enters retirement after 33 years, she brings with her a magnolia tree gifted during the ceremony.

These are some photographs of last night’s academic convocation. A complete honor roll list is forthcoming.

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Magnolia Day 2019

Magnolia Day, hip hip hooray! Awards, stories shared, and tears shed for good times past turned to laughter and play in this traditional end-of-year community celebration. Students enjoyed a bounce house, photo booth, and a cookout on the lawn courtesy of SAGE. Students also received copies of The Muse literary magazine, The Magnet, and the yearbook. This year’s yearbook is dedicated to Ms. Valentine.

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8th Grade Rite of Passage 2019

There were plenty of happy tears and proud moments last night as students, family, friends, and faculty gathered together in celebration. The cause was to reflect on the school year past and wish our eighth graders good luck in high school at the 8th Grade Rite of Passage. We also thanked Head of Middle School Darcy Albanese for her six years of service to the school as she moves on to her next adventure.

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Save $200 off England 2020 if you sign up by May 31!

If you missed our information meeting, you can still learn about and enroll in our March 2020 trip to some of the best tourist and literary sites in England.  “From Shakespeare to Harry Potter” includes such sites and events as:  a West End theater performance, Windsor Castle, Shakespeare’s birthplace, the spires of Oxford, and a tour of Warner Brothers where Harry Potter met the big screen. Just go to:  CHA-TOURS and type in the tour name or email Ms. Tomkiel at: for an itinerary and enrollment form. Enrollment is quick and easy. Family and friends of the MacDuffie community are welcome to join us.  This is a great opportunity for reunions, new friendships, and new connections with those we see every day.

Save $200 off the cost if you enroll by May 31.

An interview with MacDuffie’s Michael Cruz by Perfect Game USA


In introducing you to Micheal Cruz, the talented outfielder at The MacDuffie School in Massachusetts, it is best to use his words when docmenting his journey from a young man in Puerto Rico to a college athlete at American International College this upcoming fall.

“The greatest challenge I have overcome was leaving my family/friends behind in Puerto Rico when I was 12 years old after my parent’s separation. I had to start a new life in the United States and also learn a new language. Throughout this journey, we also faced homelessness. We were moving from shelter to shelter and sometimes stayed in relative’s house. I had to switch schools multiple times and I also had to take a year off from baseball. After a couple years in the United States, I learned English and started excelling in my academics and on the baseball diamond. With hard work and dedication, I earned full scholarships to attend prep schools and eventually earned a scholarship to play at the Division 2 level,” Cruz shared.

“A person that inspires me is my mother Idaira Capeles,” Cruz continued, “I’ve seen this woman encounter so many hardships in life such as dealing with her disability (fibromyalgia) and homelessness. Throughout all these struggles, my mother has never given up on me or my little brother. She has taught me to always stay solid through any adversity and to always dream big. She is the main reason why I strive everyday to play at the next level.”

The courageous and determined athlete also gives immense credit to the selflessness and guidance of head baseball coach Neil Domer-Shank.