On Saturday, May 21, 2022, 107 graduates and their families, classmates, faculty, trustees, and alumni gathered on the lawn in front of Meservey Hall for New Hampton School’s 201st Commencement. As the first class to return to this historic grassy lawn since 2019, it marked a time of reflection and connection for many members of the class who sat in these white chairs as freshmen, and not again until today, at their own Commencement.
New Hampton School’s 201st Commencement Ceremony
Head of School Joe Williams welcomed graduates, trustees, faculty, students, and families before introducing Student Body Co-Presidents Jo Tattersall ’22 and Charlie Truesdale ’22, who had the honor of sharing opening and closing remarks. Jo reflected on their high school careers with both pride and a piece of advice she held onto from Coach Churchill—”Control the controllables.” Noting times that were beyond possible to control, the important thing was to do the most with the time the class was given.
“We knew not to take time for granted and to enjoy what we had. We came together to help one another end our years on a strong note. Church, along with many other faculty members, have been amazing outlets for our class, recognizing the battles that many of us faced on a day-to-day basis, and making New Hampton the home it is. Whether it was about our mental health, school struggles, or life, these adults were there to help bring the New Hampton family closer together.
The New Hampton experience will stay with you as you embark on your new path. I believe we will all look back on the core memories and friendships made here. I ask that you all carry these experiences with you and continue to control the controllables throughout the new challenges that you will face.”
Head of School Joe Williams then shared a personal address for the Class of 2022.
“Seniors—this is your day! The day you thought might never come and can’t believe is here. A day that is exciting and probably a bit terrifying at the same time. Those are the emotions that reassure me that you are ready. Ready to explore the opportunities before you with confidence and an awareness of risk, striving to make calculated decisions, leaning on the tools you have developed under the guidance of the faculty and staff. Not afraid of failure, rather, embracing each decision as a learning opportunity that will inform future decision making.
I have a great appreciation for your class—what you have achieved, contributed, overcome, and leave behind as your legacy.
Your four years of high school have been plagued by disruption beyond your control. The joy and freedom you experienced as freshmen and during the first half of your sophomore year abruptly changed. You responded with flexibility and maturity to make the most of a difficult situation, which I admire and appreciate. You arrived this fall with optimism and energy, ready for the opportunity to strengthen our community and re-establish tradition as we tried to return to the pre-covid routines and culture that make this place so special.
You have done what has been asked of you so that we could remain together—managing ever-changing health protocols, supporting each other, and focussing on the opportunity, not the loss.”
Mr. Williams acknowledged the achievements of the class and the strength of each member. He noted that nearly 40-percent of this year’s graduates are four-year students, marking the power of the class’s connection in many ways. Mr. Williams also thanked the class for welcoming Carter Williams ’22, noting, “I want to extend a special thank you on behalf of Mrs. Williams and me for allowing Carter to be just another member of your class, not keeping her at arms-length because of her parent’s role at the school. It has been a real honor for us to get to know you in different ways through your friendship with her and open our home to you as extended members of our family.”
Next, Mr. Williams introduced our honored speaker for this year’s ceremony—Dr. Clare K. Rothschild P’15.
Commencement Speaker: Clare Rothschild P’15
Clare Rothschild P’15 held the distinguished honor of being this year’s Commencement Speaker. Dr. Rothschild addressed the Class of 2022 with gratitude and acknowledgment of their achievements, their resilience, and respectable adaptability in the face of a pandemic. Rothschild noted:
“Unwelcome surprises and unanticipated demands like taking your high school classes online; like wearing medical masks to class; like getting nasal-swabbed weekly; like moving away from home thinking you can return now and then, only to find out that if you wish to stay in school, you can’t go home—not at the holidays, not in the summer, not at all. And you’re not from Maine. You’re from Singapore. So you have been forced by circumstances to cultivate this adaptability to unforeseeables. The question then is: how might you harness this skill for success in your futures beyond New Hampton?”
To connect students with advice of her own when faced with their futures, Rothschild wove an inspirational anecdote found in her own work after twelve years of working on a book on the Muratorian Fragment, which she describes as “one of the key pieces of evidence for establishing the second-century canon of the Christian Bible or New Testament.” One of her goals was to visit this manuscript in person, which is “carefully guarded” in Milan, Italy. Throughout her endeavor to see it, with her request denied, she changed her approach armed with advice from a colleague, remained tenacious, and, ultimately, was granted a visit to examine the codex. What began as a one-hour visit, turned into several hours, and led to vital discoveries—including a drawing of two lovers by an unknown artist in the margins.
Rothschild offers two lessons within the tale. First, “there is a Latin phrase that I think sums it all up: fortuna eruditis favet. It means something like, “Luck favors the prepared.” Chance discoveries are inevitable when you are prepared. This lesson pertains to you: New Hampton School has prepared you to be “lucky” wherever you go.” Secondly, a lesson in adaptability.
“There is another lesson that I learned from this experience that I think is perhaps even more important. I saw the lovers doodle when I opted to adapt. And so, I conclude, Members of the New Hampton School Class of Two-thousand Twenty-two, you are mentally flexible nimble adapters and I charge you to keep adapting. Slouch down. Direct your eyes to the margins. Tilt your perspective. Reconsider your assumptions. Stay curious. Not because you have to, but because you can. And because you never know what you will discover.”
2022 Cum Laude Speaker
New Hampton School began a new tradition in 2019 to recognize academic excellence and to promote a scholarly perspective at Commencement. Selected by the members of the Cum Laude Society, this year Alexander Boriss ’22 held the honor of representing the very best of the academic minds on campus. Alex discussed the pillars of the society—the Greek motto “Areté, Diké, Timé”, “Excellence, Justice, Honor”. He noted that the pillars to him represent “keys to success in whatever endeavor someone may pursue, academic or otherwise.”
While excellence and honor stand of utmost importance in the pillars, Alex closed with justice, the second part of the motto, noting that to him this is the most important ideal.
“Justice shapes the way our excellence and honor affect the people and world around us. When someone excels at something and receives the honor they deserve for that excellence, they are being given a certain level of power and authority. It is therefore the responsibility of the excellent and honorable to never misuse that. One of my dad’s favorite quotes comes from the English historian Lord Acton. ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ This is a somewhat cynical view of society but unfortunately is all too obvious in the world around us. There are people with power, at all levels, that dispense their own forms of justice in an overly biased and subjective manner.
With this in mind, I urge all of you, but especially my fellow graduating students, to ensure that this quote becomes false. I know that every one of you will achieve further excellence and I hope that you will consider what defines your own sense of right and wrong. The Class of 2022 has had a high school experience like very few other graduating classes. Take the good, take the bad, and use it. I hope that you take on the responsibility of using the power you are given, in whatever form, to influence your piece of the world for the best.”
In closing, Alex offered a break from the “heavy talk” and offered congratulations to his classmates: “Enjoy this success, it is no small feat.”
Student Body Co-President Charlie Truesdale ’22 took to the lectern to present final remarks to the Class of 2022 and the families and friends gathered. “Every single person in the audience has played a meaningful role in our success,” Truesdale noted three salutes:
“First, thank you to New Hampton’s faculty and staff for all of their efforts and patience, even through difficult times.
Let’s also extend our endless gratitude to our families, who have blessed us with an opportunity to receive a world-class education and consistently support us no matter what.
Third, thank you to the New Hampton students that have come before us, and have helped keep our school strong.”
Truesdale also paused with the audience to consider those who were unable to attend in person, before taking his reflection back to 2019, when the class first experienced Commencement as audience members, as freshmen. “We had no idea that event would be the last all-school, in-person graduation until ours, today. We assumed things would happen on a cycle like things had every year. Since then, so much has changed: our class, our school, and the world as a whole.”
When looking at the class, Truesdale shared that there are many events they would miss, of the pride of their class’s strength during many challenges, and the growth they all experienced.
“I think every speech I’ve heard in my time here has mentioned the quality of people that are at New Hampton, and I hate to be cliché, but it’s true. I’ve met my best friends in the world here, people who really looked out for me, and I’m happy that so many of you are sitting with us today. This is what makes leaving bittersweet, but I know that we are ready, and it is our time to go.
Class of 2022, our adventure has only just begun.”
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.
2022 Commencement Recognitions
Cum Laude Speaker: Alexander Boriss
Faculty Award: Charles F. R. Truesdale
Faculty Award: Joanne Tattersall
New Hampton School Commencement Medals
Academic & Personal Growth: Calvert Nolan
Intellectual Curiosity: Alexander Boriss
Intellectual Curiosity: Talia Shirley
Citizenship Medal: Linda Mukundwa
Meservey Medal: Sophia Hausberger