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ESD Celebrates 46th Annual Pass It On Ceremony

On May 1, 2024, the ESD community came together in profound reverence for our school’s most enduring tradition, the Pass It On Ceremony. Conceived by our Founding Headmaster, The Reverend Canon Stephen B. Swann, this ceremony is a sacred rite of passage. It symbolizes the spiritual transfer of the light of Christ, the very essence of ESD, from our graduating seniors to the incoming freshmen, formally welcoming them to the upper school. 

Father Swann and Elsie Monnette, Head of the St. Michael School, determined that the essential, non-negotiable element of our schools was the belief that all children are made in the image of a loving God, and this knowledge must be passed on from generation to generation. ESD formalized this belief in the Founding Tenets and through the creation of the Pass it On ceremony in 1978, which remains our oldest and most powerful proclamation. 

The ceremony begins with a long-term ESD faculty member lighting the senior candle from the Paschal candle, also referred to as the Christ candle, which signifies Christ and the resurrection. The Class of 2024 then reverently lights their candles from the senior candle and then passes on this light to the candles of the rising freshmen.

“[The passing of the light] boldly proclaims our belief that the image of Christ dwells in each of us…like the burning bush in the Old Testament and the sanctuary lamp in All Saints Chapel that burns 24 hours a day, reminding us that Christ is present in the Eucharist,” The late Reverend Canon Stephen B. Swann said. 

In his Homily at the 46th Annual Pass it On ceremony, long-term faculty member Eddie Eason, Director of Outdoor Education, Employee and Alumni Engagement, addressed the seniors and said, “The teachers or coaches who taught you, inspired you, mentored you, loved you, made you feel special…that incredible community you have had since the first day you stepped foot on this’s ceremony is your validation that what you have experienced here as a community is special, and it should be passed down in perpetuity. It is also an affirmation of your lifetime membership in the ESD community. Seniors, look where your feet have brought you today. Know that wherever life takes you, I love you very much. You are special, you are a unique individual created in the image of a loving God, and you may always call ESD home. That is what you are passing on.”

Addressing the eighth grade and senior class in her Homily, legacy Charlotte Tomlin '24 said, “I’ve never really stopped to think about the name Pass It On until I sat down to write this. The “It” is intentionally vague, varying from grade to grade. So, what exactly are we passing down to the Class of 2028? If there’s one thing I hope you can learn from the Class of 2024, it’s to never stop fighting for what matters to you. Don’t stop fighting for the ability to honor your classmates. Don’t stop fighting for the keeping of traditions and the beginning of new ones. Don’t stop fighting for the college you want. Don’t stop fighting for your friends, teammates, classmates, and your grade. Don’t stop fighting for what you believe in.”

As ESD prepares for its 50th Anniversary celebration, we look to the past with appreciation for the sanctity and unity exhibited in our school’s most cherished tradition. Experiencing the inclusivity within the ESD family is not only remarkable, it is a testament to the unity and shared values that bind us together. 

Read Charlotte Tomlin’s Homily in its entirety here. 

Parents, please check Waldo for more event photos.