In his commencement address to New Hampton School's 196th graduating class, Roddy W. Ames '02 of Charlestown, MA spoke to the assumptions associated with "Generation Z." Rather than emphasize the criticisms of a generation entrenched in technological advances, and a world defined by electronic and online advances, Ames highlighted the strengths of this generation: "You are constantly on the move, you have energy, you are creative and forward thinking. You are socially aware, and you never back down from a challenge. Use the momentum you feel today to confidently begin your next challenge. Continue to embrace change, implement and master the newest and best technologies, embrace cultural difference, compete to your highest capabilities, and put your best foot forward every day."
Dennis John (DJ) Leary of York, ME received the Ben Cecil Award, electing him, by his peers, to address the class at graduation. Leary thoughtfully reflected on the graduating class closing with: "The connection to New Hampton will take us far. But make sure to never forget that our campus will always be a place we know we are welcome. If there were one last piece of wisdom to take from our time at New Hampton, it would be to take risks and fully commit to those risks. As the well-known intellectual, Chazz Michael Michaels from the timeless classic, Blades of Glory, once said, 'Hey. They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he's up there, laughing back at them.' Congratulations Class of 2017, we finally made it!"
"We are a special group of people. Each with the bold courage to set goals just beyond reach, and the undying resilience to achieve them," said Class Valedictorian Anthony Han, who will matriculate at University of California, Berkeley in the fall. "We are truly a class of greatness."
One hundred eight graduates and their families gathered for Commencement. Twenty-nine graduates are full IB Diploma candidates, the largest IB class to date in the school's history.
Head of School Joe Williams thanked the Class of 2017 for welcoming him, and his family, to campus this year. He reminded graduates "With the confidence gained by successfully climbing this mountain, you are now ready for your next ascent. You have learned how to prepare, to embrace a challenge, to access the necessary supports and to know when to take a break. You also understand that while there may be times when you are physically alone on the trail, you are never truly alone. Your family, your friends, this school, will always be behind you. Cheering for you, ready with words of encouragement and rejoicing in your accomplishments."
Congratulations to the following graduates who received distinguished awards for their contributions to the school and their class at Commencement. Photos are available on Flickr.
Ben Cecil Commencement Welcome Speaker
Dennis (DJ) Leary
Academic and Personal Growth Medal
Intellectual Curiosity Medal
Dennis (DJ) Leary
Xiaochen (Anthony) Han