The 371st year of the Roxbury Latin School ended on 4 June with Closing Exercises and the graduation of the 52 members of the Class of 2016. Rousmaniere Hall was filled to the rafters with the devoted families of the graduates, while outside the weather lived up to its forecast of sun and warmth. (Only a few present remembered the days before air conditioning in that Hall!)
John Gillespie, class valedictorian, centered his remarks on the wisdom story of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Le Petit Prince.
Following his address, the School was honored to welcome Paula Ebben as the commencement speaker. An award-winning journalist (and mother of graduating senior Will Ebben) Paula Ebben co-anchors WBZ-TV News also reports across WBZ-TV’s newscasts.
Ms Ebben began, "I worked for a news director once who would tell new, young reporters: 'Don't just stand there and give me a list of facts...show me something i don't already know!' So what I've put together for you is what I think you don’t know, smart as you all are: Five experiences to seek out in college that have nothing to do with going to class."
Avoid safe spaces. If you exist in some little echo chamber only associating with people who agree with you all the time, you will learn nothing. Which leads to number two:
There's a presidential election this fall. Whatever you think - throw yourself in to it. You'll remember this for the rest of your life.
"You do you." This is your chance to reinvent yourself. It's a re-boot. Study what you want. Do some things just for the love of it.
Attend to you inner life. Figure out for yourself how to seek the joy in being alive - when you are all alone. Take the time to do it now, and it will be invaluable to you forever.
Make friends — like it's your job.
"Every Roxbury Latin graduate I've ever met, to a man, says that his RL friends are still his best friends to this day. So you're already off to a great start. How lucky you are that you can always return to this place, where you are known and loved for the "real you."
"So congratulations, men of Roxbury Latin. Class of 2016. We're so proud of you. We love you. Go show us something we don't already know."