Graduates, friends and family were once again greeted by gorgeous weather and surroundings at the Mountain Winery on May 22 for the upper school’s ninth annual commencement ceremony. The Harker Chamber Orchestra, directed by Chris Florio, officially began the ceremony by welcoming the graduates with “Pomp and Circumstance.” Following the processional, Susan Nace directed the 2010 Graduation Chorus in her arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Following a brief welcome speech by Butch Keller, upper school head, salutatorian Adam Perelman addressed his classmates in a light-hearted speech; Andrew Zhou, who, as valedictorian, traditionally would have spoken, was not able to attend the ceremony because he was attending the U.S. Physics Olympiad team training in Maryland.
“I was so excited when I found out that I had the chance to speak today. And that’s not just because [college counselor] Mr. [Kevin] Lum Lung promised me twenty bucks if I mentioned his name in this speech,” Perelman joked. He went on to list the many accomplishments of the Class of 2010, which included but were not limited to winning consecutive spirit championships and running a marathon to honor John Near, the much-loved 30-year veteran history teacher who passed away last October. “What I’m trying to say is that, we’re kind of a big deal, class of 2010,” Perelman quipped.
The speech got another big laugh when Perelman reflected on how much the class had changed since freshman year. “A lot of you probably remember that back then, I looked a lot more like this!” he exclaimed, donning an afro wig.
Before closing, Perelman thanked the Harker teachers and families who helped him and his classmates become the people they are. He then thanked his fellow graduates “for making high school so unforgettable.”
After much applause, Catherine Snider conducted the 2010 Graduation Chorus, singing the Taylor Hicks hit “Do I Make You Proud,” before the day’s keynote speaker, San Jose Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold, took the podium. In his speech, Herhold made special note of the accomplishments that the graduating seniors had achieved as part of a collaborative effort.
In another yearly tradition, graduate and outgoing National Honor Society president Anjali Menon then passed the Lamp of Knowledge to upcoming senior and new NHS president Ashtyn Ka.
Chris Nikoloff, head of school, then went to the stage to give his customary parting words to the senior class before individually awarding the diplomas to the class of 2010, along with Keller and Naomi Schatz, class dean and psychology teacher. Nikoloff and Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, then said their closing words before the Harker Chamber Orchestra performed the recessional piece, “March Heroique” by Saint-Saens, to bring the ceremonies to an end.