Gould Academy’s 182nd Commencement Ceremony
Gould Academy presented diplomas to 75 seniors at its 182nd commencement exercises on Saturday, June 2.
Led by bagpiper and Gould alumna Hillary Hough Anderson ’07, speakers, faculty and graduating seniors made their way from Hanscom Hall and across Alumni Field where several hundred family and friends gathered under the tent to celebrate the Class of 2018, the 182nd graduating class at Gould Academy.
Former Gould English Teacher Holly Christine Clark, who recently graduated from the Yale Divinity School as a Master of Divinity, gave the invocation.
Barstow wondered aloud his conundrum of which life lesson to impart on the Class of 2018 that didn’t sound like an advertising campaign. He hesitated to advise them to “be all that you can be,” or to “just do it.” Observing that there isn’t a life lesson that they didn’t “know somewhere in [their] bones already,” he instead offered this “plea and a prayer.”
“We need you. We need your brains. We need your heart, your passion; your grit and your grace; and your music and your humor. We need all of it. We need you to help this world find new answers to the biggest and toughest questions. How do we end the insanity of school shootings? What can we do about climate change? How should we think about artificial intelligence? How do we win this forever war we’ve been in since 9/11? How do we protect privacy when Facebook already knows all our secrets? How will the Celtics ever get by LeBron?” he joked. “There are so many big and pressing problems out there. Problems that sometimes seem impossible to solve. Except, when I look out at you, I think, ‘hell no.’ Your generation…you have something special in you. A willingness to insistently question authority. A chutzpah that says, ‘don’t tell me I’m too young.’ Your peers in Parkland, Florida proved that under the worst of circumstances.”
“We need your heart, your passion; your grit and your grace; and your music and your humor. We need all of it. We need you to help this world find new answers to the biggest and toughest questions.”
– David Barstow | New York Times Senior Journalist and Pullitzer Prize Winner
In the end, despite his best efforts, the investigative journalist in Barstow bubbled up to the surface and shared a life lesson. “I’ve spent my entire life working, trying to nail down the who, what, where, when, and why. And the thing I’ve learned over and over again is that nailing down the truth…requires patience, commitment, and humility. Facts need to be tested. And truth is hard.”
In an address that brought down the house, student-elected speaker Andrew Gray of North Reading, MA talked about why the class of 2018 is special. One of the underpinnings he identified was their ability to be present and engaged with the community.
“In our time here we have occupied the campus in more ways than just our sheer size. We occupied the mountain and Nordic trails where our on-snow athletes put in work day-in and day-out. We led Gould teams and occupied the fields and roads competing and motivating our peers. We’ve occupied the stage and the art cottage with creativity and passion. We’ve occupied classes, labs, dorm meetings, assemblies, and the list goes on.”
In his Valedictory speech, Donovan McKee of Amesbury, MA addressed a principal tenet of the Gould experience, the importance of failure.
“What allows us to disregard the fear of failure in order to move towards our goal? The answer is trust. The assurance that you won’t be cast out for your failure, and the idea that a failure is just a course corrector; a way to let us know that adjustments need to be made. With the family environment that has been established here, we don’t have to be afraid to get up on a stage for a residential rumble, or present a Four Point to the entire school in assembly, or to give a speech to a crowd full of your peers, their families, and your teachers on your graduation day. We may be nervous, but I think we can all agree that we don’t have a fear big enough to keep us from trying.”
Before the presentation of awards, Phyllis Gardiner P’09 took a moment to recognize the contributions of Matt and Kathy Ruby, who are leaving Gould after six years. Ruby was thanked for his service, and presented with a proclamation from the board of trustees naming him Head of School Emeritus.
After the presentations of awards, Ruby and Gardiner presented diplomas to the 75 graduating seniors, and Holly Clark gave the benediction. After joyously tossing their mortarboards in the air, the new graduates formed a receiving line for faculty and families on the upper field and celebrated being part of the Gould community one last time
On Friday evening before commencement, Gould held its traditional baccalaureate exercises in Bingham Auditorium with Holly Christine Clark officiating.
The Class of 2018 selected graduating senior, Huanjun “Valentina” Liu, of Shanghai, China, and Director of Advancement, Jeff Candura, to address them at the ceremony.
After baccalaureate, the graduates and their parents attended a reception under the tent and a special dinner in Gould’s Ordway Hall, followed by the annual Spring Concert in Bingham Auditorium.
Past Gould Commencement Ceremonies
- Commencement Address: Sasha Rearick ’95 (U.S. Ski Team Men’s Head Coach)
- Valedictorian: Marcello DeLuca ’14
- Class Elect: Jongkuk “JK” Lee ’14