The graduation procedures officially began on May 20 with the Baccalaureate ceremony, during which the graduating class reflected on and celebrated the accomplishments of the senior class and wish them well in their future. It was also a time for the torch to be passed to the juniors, and to welcome them into their new roles as leaders.
During the ceremony 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, and following a brief introductory address by Jennifer Gargano, the Harker String Orchestra, directed by Chris Florio, performed “La primavera” (“Spring”) from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos.
The Class of 2010’s dean (and upper school psychology teacher) Naomi Schatz gave a rousing speech to the departing graduates. She mentioned some of the ideas for the speech that were running through her head as recently as that morning, including a musical number with science teacher Kate Schafer. “I was going to ‘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 her time at the podium by leading sing-a-longs to the songs “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Forever Young.”
Valedictorian Andrew Zhou then got up to speak to his fellow graduates and to the juniors that would soon be carrying the torch. Zhou, who had been selected as a finalist to be a member of the United States Physics Olympiad Team, would unfortunately not be able to attend the graduation ceremony, as he was in Maryland for training camp during the exercises. Salutatorian Adam Perelman spoke in his stead.
In his speech, Zhou reflected on both the “halcyon” and “tempestuous” times that he and his classmates have had since their freshman years. “And now we stand,” he said. “Fledglings no more, prepared to leave this eagle’s nest to pass the torch on to our successors.”
“Disregard proportion, do not walk in a straight line, transcend that path and explore the diverging roots life,” he said to his fellow college-bound graduates. “Take that underwater basket-weaving class you stumble upon! Join that cow-tipping club that catches your eye!”
He advised the juniors to “think of the path you tread now, the infinite possible detours that lie in your future. Do not define yourself based on who you were, what you did. With such perspective, senior year will be the crowning pinnacle of your high school life, preparing you well for the vicissitudes of college and beyond.”