Gould’s 181st Commencement Ceremony
On Saturday morning, June 3, 2017, Gould held it’s 181st Commencement ceremony. Alumna Hilary E. Hough ’07 lead Head of School Matt Ruby, Board of Trustees President Wendy Penley, keynote speaker Pious Ali, faculty, and students with a traditional bagpipe processional across campus and under the tent on Alumni Field.
Portland City Councilor Pious Ali, the first African-born Muslim elected official in Maine, asked students in his keynote address to accept that there are some things in life that are out of your control, but to consider what really matters.
“What matters is not what we are given at birth, but how we use it. What matters is what we give to our community. How we make a difference in the world. What matters is our integrity, our honesty, and our compassion. What matters is that we belong to each other, and we have an obligation to honor, assist, and love each other. That is what matters in life.
You have inherited a world from people who came before you. Remember to leave it in better shape for those who will follow. Be humble. Stand up for what you believe in. You are capable of changing the world.”
Student elected speaker Samuel McMillan ’17 from Rangeley, Maine also had advice for his classmates, that was delivered in a deadpan that is uniquely his own.
“It’s so easy to get caught up in your own aspirations and experiences, that you forget how much you can learn from the experiences of others. So I would challenge you to listen to people who talk a lot. Who’s someone who talks a lot? Oh! Adam Leff! Listen to Adam Leff. And I mean truly, truly listen to what he has to say. He speaks a lot because he has a lot to say. And if you take the time to hear to his words, you’ll learn a great deal. You’ll also be late for your next class.”
Valedictorian Jialin “Sean” Xie ’17 from Shanghai, China shared how he at first struggled to find his identity at Gould as an international student, but came to a new understanding after taking an icy polar plunge on a cold April morning his first year.
“I realized that making the effort to get to know people worked. Pushing myself out of my culture and social comfort zones became less scary. I realized that my classmates from other cultures were not trying to exclude me. People are kind here. That April morning, shivering in that freezing pond, I decided that I did not just want to survive in this environment, I wanted to live a life here.”
After the presentation of awards and diplomas, 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. Watch the full ceremony below.
Past Gould Commencement ceremonies:
- Commencement Address: Elizabeth McLellan ’69 (Founder of Partners for World Health)
- Valedictorian: Edison Yi ’16
- Class Elect: Will Harvey ’16
- Commencement Address: Richard Blanco (the nation’s fifth inaugural poet)
- Valedictorian: Pratt M. Olson ’15
- Class Elect: Xiaolu Qian ’15
- Video: The Class of 2015 Says Goodbye
- See more photos here
- Commencement Address: Sasha Rearick ’95 (U.S. Ski Team Men’s Head Coach)
- Valedictorian: Marcello DeLuca ’14
- Class Elect: Jongkuk “JK” Lee ’14
- Video: 178th Commencement
- Commencement Address: Linda Greenlaw P ’10 (New York Times Bestselling Author)
- Class Elect:
- Video: 177th Commencement
- Commencement Address: Dr. Frank Lee P’10 (Scientist, Executive, and Entrepreneur)
- Valedictorian: Amalia “Molly” Siegel ’12
- Class Elect: Jesse Tutor ’12
- Video: 176th Commencement
- Commencement Address: John J. Riley III P ’02 ’09 (Gould Academy English Teacher, Entrepreneur)
- Valedictorian: Erin J. Smith ’11
- Class Elect: Jacob N. Dorval-Hall ’11