When Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School director Pete Steedman thinks about the 15 seniors who make up the class of 2022, he said he is struck both by how close and resilient they are.

“They have spent the last two and a half years navigating the education system in ways that we could not have imagined five years ago,” Mr. Steedman said. “There’s not a cent of bitterness in their voice, they’re optimistic for the future, they’re excited, they like each other.”

The charter school graduation ceremony will be held Sunday, June 5 on the grounds of the school’s West Tisbury campus. The event begins at 1:30 p.m.

Charter school seniors gathered at Owen Park for traditional end-of-year lunch. — Ray Ewing

Graduation will be back in full force for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Mr. Steedman said, meaning among other things the return of the tradition of having the younger grades present gifts to the graduates.

“I’ve been involved in education for 30 years and I’ve never been involved in a graduation ceremony like this,” Mr. Steedman said. “Bring a hanky, it’s an emotional affair.”

This year the school will celebrate two milestones, marking its 25th anniversary and also its largest graduating class.

Last week seniors gathered at Owen Park for the traditional end-of-year luncheon to reflect on their experience and celebrate next steps. The school’s project-based curriculum allowed the students to complete portfolios which were deep dives into their various interests, they said. Emma Mayhew focused her project on fire rescue and emergency medical services. She plans to supplement her summer job at Squibnocket and Lucy Vincent beaches by working toward becoming an emergency medical technician.

Jaylin Johnson talks about her experiences at the school. — Ray Ewing

Ella Oskan is the only member of the group who has been at the charter school since kindergarten. She spent one year at the regional high school but then returned to the charter school, saying it is where she belonged.

“If I could stay here for another five years I would,” Ella said. “I’m not excited to be leaving charter, but at the same time I feel like charter has made me so passionate about learning that I genuinely want to go out and learn.”

Abner Oliveira came to the charter school in middle school after a few years at the Edgartown School. He described himself as shy before coming to the charter school, but said the school’s welcoming environment helped him come out of his shell.

“Coming to the charter school, it’s helped me find my voice and be more confident in myself,” he said.

Ella Oskan began at the charter school in kindergarten. — Ray Ewing

The small size of the charter school means it does not have all the facilities the bigger schools do, but that is also what makes it special to Brendan Donnelly. What the school misses out by not having a track or gym it gains through collaboration and determination, he said.

“Our kids will slug it out for three hours at the amphitheater in November because that’s the only way we’re getting theatre,” he said.

Passionate, selfless classmates are also why Brendan enjoyed his time at the charter school, he said. He pointed to JJ Polleys, a 3D printing aficionado who in his spare time does printing for his classmates, as an example.

“He is supplying the student body with entertainment and cutting edge technology because it’s his passion,” Brendan said.

Over the summer the students will work at Island day camps, beaches and hotels while a few will travel around the world. And come next fall the seniors will head off to college, attend cosmetology school, work in the trades or take some time off to figure out what their next steps will be.

But last week they were enjoying their last days together as students at a school they universally said they love.

“It’s how school should be,” said Morgan Scanlon. “Charter school is just the hub of acceptance.”