On Saturday, May 25, 2019, 106 graduates and their families gathered on the lawn in front of historic Meservey Hall for New Hampton School’s 198th Commencement.
New Hampton School’s 198th Commencement Ceremony
Head of School Joe Williams welcomed graduates, faculty, students, and families. He opened the ceremony and introduced Student Body Co-Presidents Kelly Matthews ’19 and Johnny Beaudet ’19, who would go on to open and close the ceremony’s speeches. Kelly had the honor of addressing the class and guests first.
“Earlier this year, I recall being deeply moved by New Hampton School alumnus Judge Thomas Motley as he spoke about the special people that he met here over 50 years ago. Sitting amongst the class of 2019 in the auditorium, I looked around at the teachers and coaches who have been there for us as a class and thought about how lucky we all were to have such open-minded and genuine role models looking out for us day to day… As I sat in the auditorium that day, I thought about how much the people of this community have given to us and how much we have given to each other: knowledge, conﬁdence, and happiness.”
Between reflections on student life, inclusivity and what makes this school a community, Kelly offered gratitude for many of the difference makers on campus: the teachers, coaches, advisors, and house heads. “This place is special because of those who have walked here and those who walk here every day who have made Husky Nation an uplifting place.”
Mr. Williams then addressed the Class of 2019.
“We know you are ready – your rambunctiousness and desire for greater freedom and independence are tell-tale signs, as is your body of work in the classroom, on the fields, and in the community. We began the year under the theme ‘We Are One’ and you have not disappointed us in carrying that mantra as you have supported each other and nurtured our underclassmen.
You will be lauded for surviving the year without spring and having come together for important causes during our year together. This fall you spearheaded efforts to raise money and support for our neighbors in Bristol who experienced devastating fire and you took time this spring to bring awareness to healthy relationships through the One Love Foundation. You dedicated numerous hours of service to others in the Lakes Region throughout your time with us learning valuable lessons about our relationship and responsibility to our extended community.”
Mr. Williams acknowledged individual graduates to showcase the diverse interests and accolades of this unique class. This included an exceptional host of musicians including Emily White, Leandro Yang, Sil Park, Brenna Crowder, and Maggie-Molloy Van Dyne. Our one-man Nordic ski team, Caleb Duggan. The marathon runner, Carter Cress. The one-wheel riding Will Rowan. An all-star hair crew, the scooter-riding gang, among others. Mr. Williams continued, “the joy and laughter you have brought to this community are needed now more than ever in the greater world. As you splinter off to exciting destinations next year, we know you will do well and I empower you to do it your way!”
Jennifer Shackett Berry ’83, P’07, ’10, ’15 had the distinguished honor of being this year’s Commencement Speaker. Ms. Berry addressed the Class of 2019 with words of gratitude, celebration, advice through key stories from her life. And, lastly, a final lesson in language and literature, framing the classes relationships to each other and their school through the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once spoke at a New Hampton School commencement many years ago.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson, my favorite of the transcendentalists, defined success through poetic verse and these words I have had on my desk or tack board since I started teaching; I try to live by these as a teacher and perpetual student. He begins: ‘To laugh often and much…’ Laughter makes every situation better, whether a slip on the ice in February while traveling the path from the ARC to Lane, or observing a silly ‘minute to win it’ game during school meeting, we are all better as a result of laughter.”
Ms. Berry continued to work her way through Emerson’s poem, connecting each line to both relatable experiences or students in the class who exhibit qualities within Emerson’s words. As a final touch and thank you to the class, Jen closed by sharing, “Live a fortunate life, appreciate beauty, find the best in others, and each day, get better, not worse. I have a fortune cookie for each of you. Perhaps the quote inside will prove to be your words to live by…if not, enjoy the cookie!”
2019 Cum Laude Speaker
New Hampton School began a new tradition this year to recognize academic excellence and to promote a scholarly perspective at Commencement. Selected by the members of the Cum Laude Society, this year Christopher Fridlington ’19 had the honor of being the first speaker in representing the very best of the academic minds on campus. “When I was composing this speech I sought to find a theme that would apply to all of us, and I eventually settled on how each of us share three moments of change in our lives: one when we came to New Hampton, one whilst we have been here, and, finally, the change we are celebrating today.”
Chris continued on to describe time as a ‘constant change agent of life.’ Walking the audience through shared experiences, journeys of each of the class members, gradual change and moments of immediate change, Chris illustrated growth and, ultimately, the bonding of a class to each other, their teachers, and their school. Going on to inspire his classmates, he presented words from such notables as Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, and Architect Norman Foster. In Chris’s own words, he closed with, “Fellow classmates, as you make this next transition, keep looking for what you love; keep your eyes open, and lead with your heart.”
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.
2019 Commencement Recognitions
Ben Cecil Commencement Speaker: James Hatzepetros
Faculty Award: Caleb Duggan
Faculty Award: Yanabi Sierra
Faculty Award: Johnny Beaudet
Honorary Class of 2019 Diploma: Jennifer Shackett Berry ’83
New Hampton School Commencement Medals
Academic & Personal Growth: Harry Secor
Intellectual Curiosity: Jun Cha
Citizenship Medal: Evgeniya Mirmanova
Meservey Medal: Christopher Fridlington