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With rain holding off until nearly the end of commencement ceremonies on Sunday, June 9, George Stevens Academy granted diplomas to 74 seniors, ushering them into the next phase of their lives.
“Enjoy the moment and envision the future,” said Paul Perkinson, head of school.
Marion Morris, chairman of the board of trustees, welcomed members of the Class of 1963 in the audience, before passing the microphone to the students themselves.
Nolan Schroth Ellsworth, class valedictorian, used his speech to paint a broad picture of high school life, where time spent and decisions made at lunchtime held equal importance, at least, with what one learned in the classroom.
“We cultivate our personalities like a garden,” Ellsworth said. “We don’t make sense because we’re learning how to be us.”
Salutatorian Lorna Lilly Stephens began her speech by stating “high school is easy.” Yet the transition from secondary student to potential college student poses challenges to one’s identity. “Every time we take a big step in our lives…we have to find ourselves all over again,” she said.
“The things we will remember from high school are the things we’ve worked the hardest at,” said Mary Elizabeth Prescott, one of two first honor essayists.
Gavin Lavoie Rogers, first honors essayist, asked for a moment of silence to honor the moment. “This is graduation. This is it.”
History teacher Bill Case, chosen by the Class of 2013 as commencement speaker, pulled out several choice memories, like teaching 50s slang in his From WWII to Viet Nam class.
“You fractured me with your illumination,” he told the graduates. “I hope next year is radioactive—and you end up in orbit. Because you are gone. You dig?”
On a more serious note, Case advised the graduates to “Take what we’ve given you and create something—and leave something…Pay it forward.”
Before the graduates approached the podium, one by one, to receive their diplomas, Dean of Students Libby Rosemeier presented the scholarship awards, followed by Perkinson conferring the Head of School Award to coach Bill Gray and teacher Martha Horn.
The ceremony ended with second honor essayists John Robert Ciampa and William Tyler Navarre sharing the podium and final words. “We find ourselves with mixed emotions,” said Ciampa. “It is said nothing lasts forever,” finished Navarre.
Class Marshal Charlotte Reiter led the recessional accompanied by Pomp and Circumstance, performed by the GSA band.