Graduation exercises officially began May 20 with the baccalaureate ceremony, during which the Class of 2010 reflected on and celebrated their accomplishments and wished each other well. It was also a time for the torch to be passed to the juniors, and to welcome them into their new role as leaders.
During the event the soon-to-be graduates and rising seniors were treated to a pair of special performances. Cantilena, directed by Susan Nace, sang “The Circles of Our Lives” by David Brunner. The Harker String Orchestra also played, following a brief introduction by Jennifer Gargano. The orchestra, directed by Chris Florio, performed “La primavera” (“Spring”) from Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons concertos.
The Class of 2010’s dean (and upper school psychology teacher), Naomi Schatz, gave a rousing speech to the departing graduates. Some of the ideas for her speech had been running through her head as recently as that morning, she revealed, including a musical number with science teacher Kate Schafer. “I was going to sing ‘Hey Soul Sister’ while she accompanied me with an interpretive clog dance,” she joked. Proclaiming that she felt fortunate to have a job that she loves, Schatz advised the students to live their lives passionately. “Find out what it is that makes your heart sing and your soul soar, and by all means make sure to keep that as a major part of your life,” she said.
Schatz concluded by leading the seniors in sing-a-longs to the songs “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Forever Young.”
Valedictorian Andrew Zhou then spoke to his fellow graduates and to the juniors who would soon be carrying the torch. Because he was a finalist for the U.S. Physics Olympiad team and was in Maryland for training camp, Zhou was not able to attend the graduation ceremony. Therefore, he and class salutatorian Adam Perelman switched the traditional roles, allowing Zhou to speak at Baccalaureate, while Perelman filled in for him at graduation.
Zhou reflected on both the “halcyon” and “tempestuous” times that he and his classmates have had since their freshmen year, and managed to work into his speech an astonishing number of the vocabulary words and literary classics the seniors studied together in class. “And now we stand,” Zhou said, “fledglings no more, prepared to leave this eagle’s nest to pass the torch on to our successors.”