The ceremony featured Commencement Speaker Pamela Nwaoko ’06
by Allie Goodrich ’13
— Lawrence Academy (@lawrenceacademy) June 1, 2018
Groton, Mass. — Gray skies, high humidity, and the random raindrop did little to dampen spirits on The Quad, as members of the Class of 2018, friends, family, and faculty gathered to celebrate the 225th commencement exercises of Lawrence Academy.
Throughout the morning, bittersweet tears, ear-to-ear smiles, and stoic faces of accomplishment (and the occasional selfie) punctuated the day, even before LA Head of School Dan Scheibe and peer-selected senior speakers AJ Mastrangelo and Jorie Van Nest greeted the Class of 2018 and the large crowd of beaming onlookers.
“225 graduation exercises,” the Head of School reflected. “That is a lot of exercise; a two century-plus elm-tree-shaded workout.”
“For me, all respect to speakers and prizes, [calling the seniors up by name] is the most energizing and most important part,” Mr. Scheibe added. “It is our mission-powered opportunity to recognize you; to call to mind the essential character as your physical presence is called up.”
“With the diplomas, the responsibility becomes yours. So one last time, we are inspired to ask: who do you want to become?”
Pamela Nwaoko ’06, LA’s 2018 Commencement Speaker, spoke to the value and importance of self-love as she addressed the 90 members of the senior class.
“Entering this new stage of your lives, other people may try to diminish you, perhaps because they don’t yet understand you,” she said. “But I tell you, do not diminish yourself.”
A graduate of Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, and a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership from Harvard Law School, Pamela now practices law in Washington, DC at the multinational law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, representing and advising national and international financial institutions.
Back once more on the LA campus, Ms. Nwaoko talked about “translating the love Lawrence Academy has demonstrated to me and turning that inward.
“As you are,” was one lesson.“Begin your lives as graduates of Lawrence Academy as you are. You are enough. Right now, at this very moment. And for every moment for the rest of your lives, you will be enough.
“Be brave,” she continued. “Because it is hard to be and love yourself in this world. Those things that make us who we are are the same things that may make others uncomfortable… Teach others your value by first setting the example; be brave about loving yourself. Love yourself outloud.
In conclusion, Ms. Nwaoko spoke of the future, adding, “Hopefully, [you will] have gone forward bravely, loving yourself—and in turn, expanding your ability to love others, as they are.”
Congratulations to Lawrence Academy’s Class of 2018! Watch this space and www.lacademy.edu for continuing coverage of LA’s 225th graduation exercises.