Baccalaureate Senior Prayer by Maddy Stern ’14

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

As we gather at the official closing of our Williston careers, looking at you for all one last time I am reminded that while we may be de jure leaving Williston, de facto what we’ve created here, the memories and the friendships will stay with us forever. As my final words to you I’d like to thank you for all you have done for me, each and every one of you. In the words of an African Proverb, “I am because you are.” You have been my world for the last six years and I won’t ever forget, so here are my last wishes:

I wish for you the ability to embrace the uncertain. Live not just through it, but in it. Williston has taught me that uncomfortable moment usually matter the most.

I wish for you continuous chances to expand your comfort zone, until you find yourself doing things you cannot imagine as you sit here today.

I wish you the ability to embrace what Williston has made you and the courage to keep changing. So that you are never entirely satisfied with who you are but always happy with who you know you can be.

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Baccalaureate Remarks by Maddy Stern ’14

My name is Maddy Stern and I have had the pleasure of being the president of this class.

In all my other speeches, I tried to avoid clichés, attempted to create some new piece of writing. But graduation is a time for clichés, the moment to reminisce in the most painfully stereotypical way possible. To listen to the songs that make you cry, and watch the movies you bonded over freshmen year, to look through old yearbooks and laugh at the horrible haircuts you had and think about all you’ve gone through together.

The theme of this speech is supposed to be transitions, about leaving Williston, about moving on. But honestly I can’t even think about that, even though in less than 24 hours we will graduate. I want to enjoy the last clichéd moments of high school with you all.

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Baccalaureate Remarks by Elizabeth Calderone ’14

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

I’m Elizabeth Calderone, the senior class treasurer. Many of you know me as Liz. Williston has been a magical place for many of us. To best describe the time we’ve spent here, the allegory that comes to mind is the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Many of us know the movie The Wizard of Oz, even if we haven’t read the book. this novel was just the first of 14 in L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. Much happens after the movie is over.

In the Land of Oz, Dorothy and her companions had to deal with…
Lions, Tigers, and Bears (“Oh My”).
In our journey, we’ve had to deal with…
Homework, Papers, Exams (“Oh My”)
History, Calculus, English (“Oh My”)
Activities, AP Tests, and Mr. Gunn (“Oh My”)… and so much more.

But now, we’ve done it! Our yellow brick road is behind us. We have reached the Emerald City. We now have new adventures to look forward to. This is just the first in our series. How are we supposed to envision its end?

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Head of School Bob Hill’s Academic Award Remarks 2014

Good morning, Williston, and welcome parents, families, and guests.  A couple of technical thoughts this morning. If you come forward this morning and it starts to get a little wet just please be really careful, students, if you walk on the plywood boards. We may have rugs to put down there to make it a little bit better. But another three inches of rain, just like last year, has made things a little soggy. but as I look at some of the girls with the blankets over their knees, I’m reminded that last year at Commencement it was about 37 degrees or 40 degrees, so we’re doing a little bit better than that.

As we always do at this time of the year, we meet to honor work done in our classrooms, to recognize the achievements and the talent of Williston students who have excelled in a particular area. Yesterday, at our athletic awards ceremony, I commented that while we recognized individuals for their athletic prowess, my mind turns to the traits that lead to individual accomplishment: dedication, commitment, hard work, persistence. Each of us holds these latent potentials and so it is this morning, as we recognize truly remarkable academic performance, that I am reminded of the collective whole, that all of us under this tent make each one of us better. Before I emcee this mornings ceremony, I want to recognize all the students here for a year well done—I guess the underclassmen still have some assessments coming up though. (Laughter.) You guys love that—and to note that as academic awards are read by the department heads, please pay attention to the names and the citations of those awards that you hear because what they do is they memorialize the connection that you have to the long and storied history of Williston. And I think it’s really important and really nice to listen to those names of the honored teachers who came before and students who came before and classes who’ve paid to honor and tribute to friends and mentors though the names of these awards. So please pay a little bit of attention to that. Now on to the events.

See the full list of award winners here.

Baccalaureate Reading by Persis Ticknor-Swanson ’14

It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar Albert Guest (Read by Persis Ticknor-Swanson ’14) 

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.