GA Celebrates 187th Commencement
Posted 05/27/2014 07:52AM
There were smiles, hugs, and much merriment Thursday as Greenwich Academy celebrated the Class of 2014 at the school’s 187th Commencement ceremony.
Under a canopied walkway, the girls processed into the tent, each carrying a single yellow rose. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the audience was led in an invocation by Harper Robinson ‘14, followed by opening remarks from Chairman of the Board of Trustees J. Timothy Morris.
Head of School Molly King then spoke with great affection for the Class of 2014, highlighting their accomplishments, and also lauding their character, commitment to the GA community, and deep bonds of friendship. “The gifts of education and true friendship—you have received them both here at GA,” she said, “and you have truly made them your own.” Mrs. King went on to share several anecdotes from last weekend’s reunion and reminded the girls that, surreal though it may seem, they would momentarily be joining the ranks of GA's incredible alumnae.
Commencement speaker Dr. Cynthia Breazeal was introduced by valedictorian Lara Tang ‘14. Dr. Breazeal is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where she also founded and directs the Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group. She shared with the girls advice and lessons based on her own experiences as a scientist, technologist and innovator, asserting that, “The world needs you to help make it a better place. As young women, it is especially important for you to take on this quest.” Dr. Breazeal explained that, “It’s not easy to do the extraordinary. To do the extraordinary often means being different and thinking differently. It takes courage to be different.” A special guest accompanying Dr. Breazeal was Dragonbot, one of the social robots designed in her lab. The furry blue Dragonbot also congratulated the girls on their graduation, and playfully mentioned that he would appreciate it if some of them could take the time to design and build a companion for him.
The highlight of the ceremony, the presentation of diplomas, was filled with both cheers and tears of joy, and was followed by the singing of the traditional, Jerusalem, by Upper School students and faculty. Head of Upper School Tom Sullivan then presented the Katherine Hewitt Award to Catherine Tubridy ‘14. This is a particularly meaningful prize as it is given to the student who best exemplifies the qualities of companionship, compassion, and abiding friendship and loyalty; it is the only award given at graduation and the only award whose recipient is selected by her peers.
In her final presentation as a GA student, Senior Class Speaker Pamela Petrick ‘14 delivered an address that was humorous, thoughtful and touching. “I couldn’t be more proud of this class and what they have accomplished,” she said, “We take advantage of doors open to us, and when a door is locked, we may even break it. . . . This is the group of girls who will be there for anyone who needs a friend, who will support and champion each other on any given day.” She also voiced a deep appreciation for GA’s faculty saying, “We are so lucky to go to a school where our teachers and Mrs. King care not only about our academic success, but our success as people as well. They have challenged us to solve problems; they have inspired our curiosity; they have been our mentors; they have been our biggest fans.”
The ceremony continued with some of the oldest traditions of the Academy: the Entrusting of the Symbols, in which outgoing student leaders present tokens such as an arrow and a gavel to their incoming counterparts, and the Flower Songs. As Groups VII and VIII students sang the customary folk songs, Lower School flower girls delivered bouquets to the graduates for the recessional. Commencement concluded with all those gathered singing the Academy Song, and a benediction delivered in Sanskrit and English by Gayatri Nangia ‘14.
While today marked the end of the girls’ journey as students at GA, it was also a celebration of great things to come. As Pamela Petrick ‘14 said, “I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish, and what incredible people you become. Congratulations to the Class of 2014; it really was one for the ages.”
Commencement Photo Gallery