Congratulations to LA’s Class of 2019

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 Academy, and admonished the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 to look up from their books.

“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.

Building Blocks

Nicole Winthrop ’19. Jon Chase photo

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.

Click here for the 2019 Graduation Program.

LA Announces 2019 Graduation Speaker

Kate Williams of “1% for the Planet” will keynote LA’s 226th commencement

Groton, MA – Kate Williams of “1% for the Planet” will keynote the 226th commencement exercises of Lawrence Academy.

Kate Williams. Photo: www.onepercentfortheplanet.org

Devoted to balancing her passion for spending time outdoors with her commitment to doing the often desk-bound work of stewarding and advocating for outdoor places, Ms. Williams stepped into the role of CEO at 1% for the Planet – a global and diverse network, which proves that anyone can make a difference – in May 2015.

Kate brought a strong track record as a leader to the non-profit company, including roles as Board Chair of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), as Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as founder and owner of a farm business enterprise, and as an elected political leader in her community.

Ms. Williams also brings a deep passion for and commitment to the power of collective action; a call for action currently taken up on the LA campus by the student-led Lawrence Academy Environmental Sustainability Council.

“When people come together across traditional boundaries to solve complex problems, they create an unstoppable force,” she says. “It is my best hope that I can lead by creating and supporting these kinds of powerful connections.”

Williams earned a BA at Princeton University where she majored in history, and an MS at the MIT Sloan School of Management where she focused on Systems Theory.

Kate lives in Vermont with her husband and two children.

Head of School Dan Scheibe will lead LA’s graduation proceedings on May 31 on the Quad. Joining Ms. Williams at the podium will be Class of 2019 students elected to speak by their classmates.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact the Lawrence Academy Communications Office.

Lawrence Academy Announces Graduation Speakers

Pamela Nwaoko ‘06 will keynote LA’s 225th commencement exercises

As the school eagerly anticipates Lawrence Academy’s 225th commencement exercises, we are excited to announce that Pamela Nwaoko ’06 will be Lawrence Academy’s 2018 Commencement Speaker.

Pamela Nwaoko '06

Pamela Nwaoko ’06

A member of LA’s Class of 2006, Pamela was born and raised in New Jersey to Nigerian immigrant parents. While in Groton, Pamela engaged in a diverse set of co-curricular activities, including directing a One Act play, founding of one of LA’s first affinity groups, working with students and faculty to develop the Cultural Coffeehouse Series, and, on the weekends, spending much quality time in the library.

After graduating from Lawrence Academy, Pamela attended Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, and Harvard Law School. At Georgetown, she was named a Top Ten College Woman by Glamour Magazine, a Goldman Sachs “Global Leader,” and she addressed her graduating class as a Senior Convocation Speaker. She attended Oxford on a full-tuition scholarship as a Healy Scholar and was recognized during Harvard’s Commencement Ceremony with the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership.

Ms. Nwaoko now practices law in Washington, DC at the multinational law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, representing and advising national and international financial institutions.

“I am excited for the opportunity to return to where my challenging, yet rewarding, educational journey began,” said Nwaoko. “I look forward to meeting the class of 2018!”

Head of School Dan Scheibe will lead the proceedings on June 1 on the Lawrence Academy Quad. Joining Pamela at the podium will be Class of 2018 president Gavin Slattery and peer-selected senior speakers AJ Mastrangelo and Jorie Van Nest.