Category Archives: Baccalaureate Service

Baccalaureate Poem: Remembering Not to Forget

Delivered at Baccalaureate Service, Williston Northampton School
May 28, 2016
By Sideya Dill ’16


Like a vapor in the wind

Or the falling of a leaf

Like snow hitting your skin

So many moments are so brief

Some would say it felt like it all started an eternity ago

Some would say it feels like it all started yesterday

Some would say that time here has gone by so slow

But it all went too fast is what others would say.

But here we are about to transition out of this phase of our lives

Here we are trying to figure out what comes next

Trying to piece together how to keep these Williston memories alive

Trying to remember not to forget.

There was that time skated on or swam in the pond

That time we got kicked out of the library

That time we got an email and decided not to respond

And that time that we had too many packages to carry.

When we nailed it in the dance concert

When we painted something beautiful

When the dining hall had that good dessert

Or that thing that time that wasn’t really chewable.

Having gone to our favorite classes

Or having gave the victory bell a ring

In the winter, having smelled the molasses

Or relaxed on the quad in the beautiful spring.

Beating Suffield or really any other school

Hanging with our best friends every day

Going to get mount toms ice cream to keep cool

Or hiking out to Galbraith because we had games to play.

Having fun going to Willy Gras each spring

Heading to the theater to watch a production

Going to assembly and being forced to sing

Playing games on the surface then realizing you missed the instruction.

Being excited and somewhat sad on Senior days

Sitting in the dining hall too long on weekend nights

Clearing the boards to put up new art displays

Or getting ready to play on Sawyer under the lights.

Doing fun things or sleeping on the weekends

Parking in the day student lot

Filling out white sheets to go off with friends

Or running to check in because you forgot!

Acing that test you studied hard for

Making honors and feeling proud

Painting the lion a whole new color

Or winning big in front of a Williston crowd.

So slow down and take time to fill yourself with sweet memories

They say the older you get the quicker time will pass

And if you think that to not be true, you better believe

Because tomorrow we will be the graduating class.

Many of these memories cannot be repeated and this I will bet

So take some time to stop and remember all the things you don’t want to forget.





Baccalaureate Remarks by Head of School Bob Hill

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

Good evening and welcome to parents, faculty, guests, and especially the Class of 2015.

As most of you know, the tradition of the Baccalaureate Service dates back to the Middle Ages where it signified a student’s attainment of his religious orders. For the Class of 2015, I have seen the list where you are headed to college next year and as best I can tell none of you has listed a monastery or convent, though there might be parents in the audience who think that’s not such a bad idea.

Given the historical roots of this ceremony, which retains all of the symbolism and meaning of a significant rite of passage, I’ve been searching for the right speech, should it be a homily, a sermon, a lecture. Whatever I decided, I knew that I must find a theme that befits the occasion, words that are fittingly solemn, maybe even filled with wisdom.

So I’ve decided to talk to you, Class of 2015, about household pets. Specifically, I want to talk to you about dogs and cats. In a show of hands how many of you have had one of these wonderful animals living under your roof at home. Some of you may even permit that beloved pet to sleep in your room, on your bed, or perhaps even in your bed with you.

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Baccalaureate Reading by Bennett Wheeler ’14

Editor’s note: The following was presented by Bennett Wheeler ’14 during the Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naïve.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, and has nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, or live.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.


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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