On the morning of 2 June, the 373rd year of The Roxbury Latin School ended with Closing Exercises and the graduation of the Class of 2018. When Headmaster Brennan finished reading the names of the 48 members of Class I, and each had received his diploma from Board Chair Bob O’Connor ’85, thunderous applause burst forth from the family members, friends, and faculty who filled Rousmaniere Hall. Following the benediction, the tolling of the school bell, and a rousing rendition of The Founder’s Song, all in attendance streamed outside onto the Senior Grass for hugs, handshakes, and farewells. (See photos)
Class valedictorian Thomas Bulger spoke on the subject of humility, a quality he saw in his classmates and which, among other things, “made this class special.” An accomplished student of the Classics, Tom began by offering Socrates as an example of what humility is not. (“Students appreciated that he recognized how much he did not know, but for a man who recognized how little he knows, he sure liked to show people how much he did know.”) Tom went on to describe in poignant anecdotes the many examples of humility shown by his classmates over their six years together. In closing, he said,
“There is no better example of character than taking time from your own life to help a person in need, especially when it would be all too easy to keep your extraordinary talents to yourself. …It’s not about whether or not you all change the world, because I am confident that you will. It’s about the manner in which you do it. I call on you today to keep your humility and to keep your character…. Continue to lend a hand to the struggling man, not in hope that it may one day be reciprocated, but because you all know it is the right thing to do.”
The commencement speaker was faculty member Dr. Sally Stevens, retiring this year after eleven years with the school. Having taught many of the Class of 2018 in her economics and history courses (and guided as many through the college application process), Dr. Stevens took this opportunity to draw deeply from her own expertise to address “some challenges facing the United States that will engage the Class of 2018 now and as adults when they are long gone from their seats of honor.” She discussed the ways in which Russia, China, and the US have evolved since WWII and the ways that the resulting relative power shifts are challenging what binds our nation together: “Not blood, not religion, not race, but a secular liturgy that proclaims all men, and women, are created equal.…”:
“The United States is not entitled to forever enjoy the privileged position it held after WWII and after the end of the Cold War. Yet, without correcting flaws in our economic policy, we will find our remaining privileges waning in the years ahead. Without paying attention and exercising our citizenship responsibilities, we risk compromising our political system. The task for you—the Class of 2018—is to ask questions, to search for what is true, and to be active and involved citizens in the long-term future of the country that has given you so very much.”
Three major senior prizes were also awarded during Closing Ceremonies.
The Richard A. Berenberg Prize, for generosity of spirit and concern for others, was presented to Reis White.
The Class of 1913 Award, for significant contributions to the life of the School, was presented to Andrew White.
The William Coe Collar Award, for achievements and contributions to the School that are deemed by the faculty as most deserving of recognition, was presented to two boys: Ben LaFond and David Ma.