Good morning and a big hello to the Williston Northampton School Class of 2013, teachers, parents, grandparents, siblings, bagpipers, webcast-watchers, and kids. Welcome and thank you all for showing up to our high school graduation.
Speaking in front of a crowd of 1000+ people is something that not a lot of people get to experience in their lifetimes and being awarded this opportunity today is a really special honor. Some people try and picture the audience in their underwear to get the nerves down. I just stuck to not wearing contacts, so if something comes out wrong, well sometimes you can’t see the whole picture in widescreen vision.
So, what’s next? Seriously though, did we get that figured out? I need to let my mom know…
Editor’s note: The following speech was presented by John Katzenbach during the 172nd Commencement Exercises at the Williston Northampton School on May 26, 2013.
I was delighted to be asked to stand in for the Ambassador from Colombia at this graduation. After all – what is a graduation speech? Mostly it is an opportunity for older folks to exhort younger people with all sorts of incredibly heartfelt and probably utterly useless advice. But – that said – You are – for better or worse – the classic captive audience. That is, it is my sincere belief that until Bob Hill actually hands you that diploma it is unlikely you will flee from this ceremony, regardless of what I say.
So, my first thought in putting this talk together was – obviously: What would the ambassador from Colombia tell you?
This was easy: One: Learn Spanish – a very useful language.
And two: Be diplomatic.
Editor’s note: The following speech was presented by Head of School Robert W. Hill III during the 172nd Commencement Exercises at the Williston Northampton School on May 26, 2013.
Good morning and welcome parents, families, guests, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and especially the Class of 2013.
On Tuesday, this grand canopy that we are gathered under transformed our quad so that we could experience Commencement as one upper school for the first time in anyone’s memory (I even asked Mr. Teller). It seems right to me as well that we are all under one big tent, because as all of you students know better than anyone else, the essence of our school is found in community.
Editor’s Note: The following Baccalaureate remarks were presented by Head of School Robert W. Hill III on May 25, 2013 in Stephens Chapel.
Good evening seniors, parents, colleagues and welcome to our Baccalaureate Ceremony for the Class of 2013. I wanted to share a few remarks before we begin this traditional ceremony which dates from Medieval times signifying the attainment of learning and knowledge.
Preparing for this weekend, I face an annual recognition which all speakers at this time of year realize—if they are honest. It’s a dilemma which comes from trying to think of something interesting or, even harder, something memorable to say to seniors who are about to graduate and who have had their fill of advice, nostalgia, and predictions. It’s times like this that I wish I could go to Mrs. Sawyer’s writing center, or better yet, just ask her to come redeliver the message to you guys from a couple of weeks ago: Remember that lesson? “Be kinder than necessary and work with love.”
Editor’s note: The following Award Ceremony Welcome was presented by Robert W. Hill III on May 25, 2013.
Good Morning Williston!
I want to welcome everyone to the 2013 Academic Awards Ceremony, especially parents and out of town guests. Yesterday, Mr. Conroy conducted the spring Athletic Awards Assembly and I am still in awe of some of the numbers that I heard. I am not sure how many pre-college athletes can claim to have the kind of run that Karly Simpson had over six years with a record of 72-3 over six years—I’ve never heard anything like that before. And in case you missed Jilly Lim’s documentary of the girls lacrosse season, her performance making that film was gold. One more thing while I have the podium—Gabby Thomas, I don’t think that I could run the length of the first floor of the school house in 12.06 seconds but I want to challenge you to a race there anyway.
The achievements we honor today are not measured in hundredths of seconds or in won loss records, but they do have in common with their athletic counterparts, Purpose and Passion and Integrity. It takes really hard work to be good at something—doing good well is not easy no matter what the venue.
I have been around a lot of classrooms this year and I am in awe of the work that I see from Williston students. It is a mark of this school that talent abounds and is so widespread. From the art and dance studios to the science and math classrooms, you students produce astonishing results. This morning we celebrate those accomplishments and so without further ado, I call upon our first presenter.