Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 13, 2019
GSA ushers the Class of 2019 into “an imperfect world”
Graduates applaud as each receives diploma at George Stevens Academy commencement June 8 in Blue Hill.
by Anne Berleant
Seventy-five young women and men stepped into the larger, adult world after commencement at George Stevens Academy June 9.
“Some of you have walked up the street [to get here] and some have traveled half way around the world,” Head of School Tim Seeley said, as family, friends, students and staff gathered on the school’s front lawn under glorious sunshine.
Seeley compared the cultural climate the graduates will step into to the Vietnam War era of 1969.
“We live in fractured times,” he said. “It’s not clear what kind of world our graduates will head into….I hope GSA has given you the tools to negotiate an imperfect world.”
Speakers ranged from second honor essayist Katherine Forrest, who recalled “running a half mile up a dirt road” to catch the school bus, to foreign students first honor essayist Yiqing “Laura” Liu and salutatorian Ziyuan “Daniel” Li, who spoke of landing far from home in an unfamiliar town.
“Winter was over, and it was the arrival of spring—and [then] it was winter again,” Liu said, contrasting the Maine winter with the “welcoming community” of Blue Hill.
Valedictorian Hattie Slayton ended her address by blowing on a dandelion puff, releasing its seeds into the spring breeze.
“Let the wind take you near and far,” she said. “It is time to break away from our families and find a way to make a difference.”
Commencement speaker and GSA math department chairman, Elizabeth de Sevigné advised her former students to “be humble, be faithful, be consistent, and aim to do the right thing in everything you do.”
Future plans of the graduates include circus school, lobstering, studying economics, nuclear science and nursing, a custom car shop and building up a current blacksmithing business, knowing, as Mallory Charette said in presenting the class gift of two native trees, “that we will be extending our reach wherever we are.”
Editor’s note: The story was updated June 14 to correct a student’s name in the photo gallery. We apologize for the error.