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The Balladeers channeled Mulan, Gloria Gaynor, and Beyoncé as they entertained Middle and Upper School students at their annual morning assembly.

Voices of Commencement 2017

Before the celebratory cap toss and recessional of eager-eyed graduates, Pingry's 156th Commencement Exercises on June 11 were marked by thoughtful words from students, faculty, and administrators. Below are a few, featured excerpts, followed by a slideshow of memorable moments.

Miller A. Bugliari '52, senior faculty member

Some individuals do seem to know from an early age what they want to do—be a doctor, teacher, or financier. But not everyone in this world is born knowing what they want to pursue in life. And that is ok. If you are a part of this second group, have patience. Try to find something about which you are passionate, that fulfills your spirit, that makes a positive difference to the world around you, that adds something to the human experience. Do that, and you will be happy every day.

William DiGrande '17, Class President

Since freshman year, I've grown so much as a person and a student in the blink of an eye. Fast forwarding through the tough moments is well and good, but sometimes it's the toughest moments that mean the most. . . it's strange that here we are walking the line between feeling like the heroes of high school yet feeling anxious and unprepared for the world of college. . . [but] Pingry has been a place for our ideas to turn into reality, a place where we could truly excel at our passions. . . Do what you love, run with it, and never stop improving, just as Pingry taught you.

Zachary Keller '17, Student Body President

We sit on the precipice of great change. . . Soon, we will be attending new schools, living in new cities, and meeting new people. We will enter a world filled with new challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities. Let's not forget that some things should remain the same. Let's maintain the friendships that we formed here. Let's honor our teachers, families, and the traditions of our school by continuing to live by the principles of the honor code that have guided us this far. And let's cherish the bond that unites us, the extraordinary Pingry Class of 2017, with each other and generations of other Pingry students. It's never easy to say goodbye to a place you love and to people you love. But we should take comfort in the knowledge that this is not a final farewell. It's only the end of act one, and we can look forward to sharing many more scenes together.

Ellen Li '17, Valedictorian

. . . life doesn't wait for us to feel ready. It's like in cross country, where you train your heart out throughout the season, but all that preparation falls away when you're standing at the starting line. Coach tells you you're ready, whether you know it or not. And whether that's true or not, the gun goes off. The race starts, and you're on your own. You can look to your teammates for inspiration, you hear cheers from the sidelines to spur you on. But ultimately, you have independence and agency. Your life is between you, your body, and the clock. . . I guess what I'm trying to say is that even if adulthood means independence, we don't have to be alone. And high school has been training us for four years, so chances are you're ready, whether you know it or not.

Jeff Edwards P '12, '14, '18, Chair of the Board of Trustees

"Ideas create. Values protect.". . . To me, these words build on Pingry's succinct motto: excellence and honor. . . The ambition to create is in many ways the most fundamental motivation of life. . . But ideas need guardrails. And this is where your values come into play. They shield you from mistakes, sustain what should be preserved, and defend against excess. . . Go seek great ideas and your individual path of creativity. And do not lose sight of the values that will protect you on your journey.

Nat Conard P '09, '11, Headmaster

Throughout your lives, you will be confronted with countless opportunities to choose among paths. In many of those choices, it will be easy to select the right road. In others, it will be hard—sometimes very hard. . . Whatever the challenge, I urge you to remember the bond that you have with your classmates and with the spirit of Pingry—you are members of this community, bound to each other by your shared experience, and you have a responsibility to support each other in making the best choices possible—for the common good. . . I have great confidence that your accomplishments will meet and exceed your potential, and that the world, and Pingry, will be better for your contributions. Life, like Pingry, demands more than your presence—it demands your full and active engagement.

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,