Of all the remarkable milestones Harker students achieve, none is as great or as meaningful as their final rite of passage when they receive their diplomas. The pride was palpable on May 24 at the Mountain Winery as the Class of 2013 collected their diplomas from Chris Nikoloff, head of school.
Ashvin Swaminathan represented his class as valedictorian, and his speech found a perfect balance between honoring the past and becoming ready for the future. He posed the question, “By what means did every one of us manage to triumph over our tribulations?” The answer? “Our parents.” Swaminathan adjured his classmates, “Let us vow to continue to treat our parents as our heroes,” to honor them and make them proud.
He asked his peers to vow to “never compromise on the value system that our teachers have established for us,” adding, “Let us vow to share our leftover resources with those who are not as fortunate as we are.”
The teachers who had led Swaminathan and his classmates on what he called a “beautiful scholastic safari” were on their feet moments after his talk concluded.
Keynote speaker Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an organization dedicated to volunteerism which has nurtured projects resulting in the gifting of millions of dollars of services.
Mehta’s engaging speech was a rallying cry to fix what is “at the core of all of today’s most pressing challenges: … we have become profoundly disconnected.” He says humans are wired to give and to help each other, and asked, “Will you, Class of 2013, step up to rebuild a culture of trust, empathy and compassion?”
There are three keys to living a life of giving, Mehta said. The first is to give, the second is to receive, and the third is to dance. “Our biggest problem with giving and receiving is that we try and track it. And when we do that, we lose the beat.”
Nikoloff also had an opportunity to offer some words of wisdom to the class, which he did in a light-hearted talk titled “Love like a Labrador,” meaning unconditionally and with joy.