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Before the celebratory cap toss and recessional of eager-eyed graduates, Pingry's 157th Commencement Exercises on June 10 were marked by thoughtful words from students, faculty, and administrators. Below are a few, featured excerpts, followed by a slideshow of memorable moments.
Josephine Cummings '18, Class President
And so, we embarked on the strange journey that was high school. There were days that we called 'the longest day of our life' and weeks that were suddenly over in what felt like the blink of an eye. Time seemed to flash by, and time seemed to freeze, and the only constant was that—no matter what—it kept passing. The clock kept ticking. But the funny thing about time is that you never really know you have it or notice that it is passing until you take a bow at your last Pingry theatre production, put down the pencil after your final AP exam, hear the whistle blow at the end of your last lacrosse game, or sit down to write a speech for graduation. . . always remember that in just two minutes you can easily pick up your phone, call your old friend from the mighty class of 2018, and reminisce about the wonderful times we had and the lessons we learned here at Pingry.
Jeff Edwards P '12, '14, '18, Chair of the Board of Trustees
There is much in the world that needs fixing. But not everything is broken. . . Before you embark on a program of transformation, I hope you will consider many different ideas of how best to do that and not settle too quickly on any one, seductively easy answer. As you head off to college, you will encounter many articulate and ardent crusaders with solutions to our challenges. And I encourage you to listen to them. But listen also to those who disagree. Do not allow others to define how you must think—think for yourselves, as individuals. And be particularly wary of anyone who is so convinced they are right, that they cannot abide dissent or diversity of opinion. . . I submit that the more you approach life through a prism of gratitude, the more you appreciate every opportunity that comes your way, the more you begin conversations with thank you, the happier and more successful you will be.
Alyssa Chen '18, Valedictorian
This past week, though, I've thought of nothing, except of saying goodbye. That is the meaning of graduation to me now—goodbye. Too often, we think to say goodbye to specific people—our classmates, our teachers, the administrators. Why? . . . What I should be saying goodbye to is this entire experience. The members of the class I've never talked to, and those I've considered to be my closest friends in life. What prom, parties, and even going to the mall, were like, but also what my daily, mostly boring routine was like, too. How it feels to be sitting in the library during finals, and how it feels to laze about on the statue the first time it feels like spring. Classes in which you barely paid attention, but also those smaller classes with teachers and classmates that made you learn and love learning.
Miller A. Bugliari '52, senior faculty member
Today is my 36th graduation from the Martinsville campus, and now, as I watch all of you graduate from our magnificent campus, I wonder if you even begin to realize how fortunate you are, what a gift of a fine education you have received. . . please do not take stupid risks, but do try new things, new courses, new sports. And never, ever be afraid to admit that you may have made a mistake. . . What arrogance it takes to assume that you are always the smartest person in the room, that you have all the answers. . . Know your strengths, understand where you have weaknesses, and work on both.
Michael Weber '18, Student Body President
My entire family was recently reminded of just how precious time is when, four weeks ago, my beloved grandfather had a heart attack. . . Pop Pop has spent 76 years as a great person and friend to many. June 12 will make 53 years as a dedicated and loving husband, 49 years as a caring father, 18 years as an amazing grandfather, and 12 years ago he taught me the sport I love, baseball. Indeed, he has educated me throughout my life. And yes, he's also spent some time on the golf course. . . So, to The Pingry School Class of 2018 I ask, how you will spend and cherish your time from this very moment forward? Will it be as a distinguished person in your field? Will it be as an employee or an executive? Will it be as a caring and compassionate spouse, parent, and friend? Will you seek to balance your time and work hard and work honest to be all of the things I just mentioned? . . . I am confident, knowing the group to the right of me, that we will strive for and manage to balance our time, much like my Pop Pop.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org