Graduation 2012 Welcome Speech

Megan Sweeney
“…our School has been shaped by your curiosity, your love of adventure, your concern for the world and your care for each other. Thank you for making this School a better place.”
By Tim Breen, Ph.D.

The following is the welcome address delivered by Head of School, Tim Breen, at Commencement on May 26,2012.

Welcome to the 126th commencement exercises at The White Mountain School. I am glad you all could be here.

 
I begin by welcoming the parents. We are so grateful that you have shared your children with us, that we have been partners in their education. I know that, together, we have helped them grow – in mind, body and spirit. I am proud to have them as representatives of The White Mountain School.
 
I also want to extend a welcome to a special group of relatives. They have loved unconditionally, and have the broadest smiles today. I am, of course, referring to the grandparents — those who could be here in person, and those who are here only in our hearts.
 
Parents, grandparents and family members, please stand to be recognized.
 
Today, we are also joined by number of current and former trustees.  I am deeply grateful for your stewardship of this wonderful School.  Please stand and be recognized.
 
One of the great joys of teaching is catching up with former students, and continuing to share in their lives. Alumnae/i, thank you for being here to celebrate with us today. Please stand and be recognized.
 
I ask my colleagues to stand. Yesterday, at our ceremony called Pass the Book, students shared reflections on the year. I lost count of how many times students thanked specific teachers and the faculty as a whole. I don’t think I have ever heard so many students recognize their teachers for the amazing work they do. Our students are right. We are blessed with a remarkable community of teachers. I feel honored to stand among them.
 
And now, to our students.
 
First, our freshman class — the rising sophomores. Please stand. You have made an immediate impact on our School. I thank you for the music, the art and the positive energy you bring to our community.
 
The class of 2014 — rising juniors. Please stand. Last year, I noted the fun and spark your class brings to campus, and I would have to say that continues. But I sense a growth of seriousness as well. A depth of commitment. I look forward to learning with you next year.
 
And the class of 2013. Please rise. In about an hour, you will be the seniors, the leaders. Have a fun, restful summer, and please return in the fall with dreams and hopes for your own future, and the future of our school. I look forward to our work together. Thank you.
 
And now, to the stars of today. I ask the class of 2012 to rise. You are headed out today — headed for new adventures. Yesterday, during Pass the Book, we heard a lot about the impact our School has had on you. I would like to note that each of you has had an impact on our School. Indeed, our School has been shaped by your curiosity, your love of adventure, your concern for the world and your care for each other. Thank you for making this School a better place.
 
Before I turn to my introduction of our commencement speaker, one more note for the graduating seniors.
 
Here at the White Mountain School, we believe, as Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Indeed, our job as teachers and mentors is to help you find and nourish the spark within, because we believe that finding and following a passion is central to a meaningful life. I am impressed with the passions you have shared with our community.
 
And we believe not only in passion, but also in compassion. I am impressed with the compassion you show each other. With the compassion that leads you to serve others.
 
Albert Camus, the French writer, said, “To grow old is to move from passion to compassion.” While there is wisdom in this, I would note that I hope you hold both passion and compassion in your hearts throughout your life. You are well on your way. Thank you for sharing part of your journey with us.

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