Baccalaureate: A Student’s Perspective

dukesEvery year at the Baccalaureate Ceremony students, families, and faculty members gather to celebrate the Class of 2018. It is tradition that members of the graduating class elect representatives from the student body to speak on their behalf. This year, Ayanna Dukes ‘20 addressed the graduates sharing her perspective of the influence and impact the seniors left on The White Mountain School.

Good evening parents, faculty, peers, and most importantly, the graduating Class of 2018. It took me a while to come up with a speech that I thought was good enough for this diverse class. So here it goes:

Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell computers said, “As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.” Although what he says is well-written, in this case, I believe that this saying doesn’t apply to you all. I think your ‘store-bought’ maps were thrown out long ago. I believe you all have been drawing them since the first day you’ve stepped on campus. You see, The White Mountain School never allowed you to follow someone else’s carved out path. You chose to do white water, and fell in love with it. You chose to stand up in front of the school and speak about something you care deeply about, because you are a passionate person. Everywhere you went, with your custom map folded up in your back pocket, worn down through the years, you all made an unique impact on this campus.

You were some of the first faces I saw as I arrived on campus freshman year. You introduced me to your friends, made sure I was okay, and asked my name when you noticed my face wasn’t so familiar. I went to you to rant. Asked you about your day. You were the first people to make me feel welcome; the proctors, the people standing at the welcome sign. I spent soccer seasons with you guys, shared classes, and went on orientation and field course with you. Before White Mountain could, you were the class that taught me that my path was the best for me, so thank you.

I hope you go to fun parties, climb high mountains, create masterpieces, and make your mark on the world. Even if you fail some tests and spiral into debt, its okay because you no longer have to worry about what day you have crew. Congratulations Class of 2018. I have spent two years getting to know you all, and I know you all will have a fun time wherever life takes you.

Read a parent’s perspective by David Gentes here.

Watch the entire Baccalaureate Ceremony here.


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