Actually, I would say that the entire Commencement was particularly memorable—given that a deluge outside drove us into the Athletic Center for only the third time in dozens of years. The address by Joanna Lau P’13 was captivating for the personal journey of courage and determination that it revealed in the story of the speaker’s mother.
But something else happened that was a bit odd. After the diplomas were conferred, I was asked if we could re-present the diploma to one of our young men. His parents had arrived too late to see the live version.
Being Williston—and not to be hung up on unbending ceremony—we improvised. We had the young man return his diploma and then take the walk across the stage, handshakes and all, so that his parents could enjoy the moment.
What I learned later—and what would have certainly made for a story to tell all assembled—was that his parents missed the first half of the graduation ceremony because they had hit a deer on the way to the school from their drive from the eastern part of the state. Fortunately, there were no human injuries, and we were able to graduate one person twice in one morning.
I like this story of improvisation since it tells a story about our community that’s worth as much as the diploma now safely kept in this family’s possession. It’s a narrative of caring and appreciation; it is an authenticity synonymous with The Williston Northampton School.