Lawrence Academy’s 226th Graduation Exercises
Groton, Mass. — Sunny skies greeted Head of School Dan Scheibe as he moved from the Schoolhouse to the Quad and stepped to the microphone to preside over Graduation 2019.
“226 graduation exercises at Lawrence Academy,” he began. “That is an awesome substantial history and you, the class of 2019, are an awesome, substantial class.”
No doubt feeling the crescendo of joy that back-dropped the morning, and with 109 smiling senior faces staring back at him, Mr. Scheibe took a moment to take it in and revel in the wonder of the Class of 2019’s collective accomplishment.
An Awesome Class
“Things can be so good,” said Dan of life’s ups-and-downs. “We have this sense of exaltation, but we have this sense of vulnerability too.
“You may feel giddy and sad and agitated all at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with us. We’re just experiencing constant recovery from the human condition.
“The fact today, and any day is that life can be complex. It has beauty and it has its burdens, but somewhere in life’s extremity, there is this transcendent, disruptive, transformative mystery and maybe that’s where life’s real energy emerges and we happen just to be sensing it now,” he said.
Change The World
In the “now” was where Kate Williams (of “1% for the Planet”) placed her keynote remarks.
“I know you have a million thoughts and emotions running around in your head on this big day and that’s as it should be,” said Williams, who brings a deep passion for and commitment to the power of collective action. “I hope this one point, this one gift of perspective that I can offer you can penetrate and stick: Our world needs you and you have power to change the world.”
To that end, Ms. Williams spoke to the work of LA’s current students and that of former Spartans.
“At Lawrence Academy, you’ve not only learned in the classroom but you’ve also learned by doing; you consider the real issues facing the world,” added Williams. “You rolled up your sleeves and you’ve gotten to work.
“Through Winterim projects, both near and far, that are focused on improving communities, to awarding your Greater Good Award to alumni like Rob Kaplan, [who is] investing in solutions to plastic waste in the ocean, to working diligently right here on campus to eliminate single use plastics.
“[I want to thank] Shelby [Guinard ’19] and Emily [Leung ’19] and the Environmental Sustainability Council for their great work right here on campus,” she said. “So as you leave here today with your diplomas in hand, I invite you to act. I invite you to keep an eye out and an ear to the ground.
“And invite you to own your stake in a healthy and dynamic planet.”
From Now to Nostalgia
From the now to nostalgia, senior speaker Will Adam took to the stage to paint a picture of life at Lawrence
“This is by no means me supporting an indolent, carefree lackadaisical mindset for you,” he said. “But it is me encouraging you to focus on making memories; because you won’t remember that homework you took hours to complete or that test you studied a week for or that bad grade you got at midterm, but you will remember the good times you had with friends.
However, Adam reminded students to choose those friends wisely.
Learn From Your Peers
“Most importantly, learn from your peers,” said Will. “They are by far the biggest influence on who you are in high school, but also who you can become…so make sure you are surrounded by those who will make you your best self.”
Nicole Winthrop ’19 added to Adam’s painted picture, speaking to the building blocks the Class of 2019 had garnered along the way at LA.
However, Nicole explained that those “LEGO blocks” of experience don’t come in one shape or size, and didn’t necessarily come from inside a classroom.
“They can be ideas, mannerisms, friends, or just straight up joy; whether I’m playing with record on stage as you guys walk into assembly or making a winning dragon fruit smoothie with Justin [Chen ’19], I’m showing not only my classmates but also myself, who I am,” said Winthrop.
“And yeah, I’m not exactly sure what I’m building with these LEGO-type clocks.
“And I know that the things that I did at la, are not the only thing is that the defined me. It simply added on to who I am and who I want to become,” she said.
Get After It
Scheibe, who set the caps flying to complete the ceremony, left the graduates with final words of instruction.
“Class of 2019, make of yourself a light,” he said. “Absorb as much light as you can, spread as much light as you can.
“The world needs your radiance. Get after it,” he said.