Tag Archives: Baccalaureate

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 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.

Swanee’s Remarks at Baccalaureate 2014

So what is this event called Baccalaureate, this evening with the members of the senior class, their mentors, and their parents? It is  historically a religious celebration dating from the Middle Ages when universities were first established.

The first Baccalaureate service was likely held at Oxford University in Oxford, England in 1432, and in some cases graduating students receiving their Bachelor’s Degree—the bacca part—had to give a speech in Latin before they received their laurels—the laureate piece. Because the universities were connected to the Christian Church and because the Renaissance was the rebirth of classical learning, the Baccalaureate appropriately combined the power of the church with the traditional search for wisdom through learning.

The role of the Church has diminished here, but the solemnity of the event and the reflection on the past remain a key part of our own Baccalaureate service.

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Baccalaureate Speech by Matthew Freire ’13

Aristotle once said “We are what we repeatedly do. Then excellence is not an act but a habit.” It’s not about what you have done in the past, but what you will do now and in the following years, to make yourself a more knowledgeable student, a better athlete, a more talented musician, or just a better individual.  Whatever you do in the following years do it for yourself, do it so that you become a better you. Whether that translates into starting a foundation and helping others, serving your country, or study for your college major, set your goals and aspire to achieve them.  Be the one to take the initiative and guide others in everything you do. Why sit back when you have to opportunity lead, the opportunity to perhaps help someone and change their lives.

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Baccalaureate Speech by Robert W. Hill III

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.”

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