Life Lessons in Four Stories: Tom Batty Delivers 2024 Cum Laude Address

On April 18, Roxbury Latin celebrated in Hall the 11 members of Class I whose efforts and accomplishments have earned them membership in the Cum Laude Society. Each spring, the all-school Cum Laude ceremony honors the life of the mind—affirming that at the heart of a good school is scholarly engagement.

“This special event is intended principally to do two things,” began Headmaster Kerry Brennan. “The first is to recognize the most distinguished scholars of the First Class. In their efforts and in their accomplishments, they have put to good use the gifts they have been given… The second purpose of this annual ceremony is in many ways the more consequential, for it involves everyone else in this room. In honoring these 11 boys, we are honoring the life of the mind; we are honoring trying hard and doing well; we are affirming that at the heart of a good school is scholarly engagement. I admonish you to take to heart the example of the inductees… All of you boys have the capacity to strive, to grow, to change, and to know the satisfaction of ideas unearthed and potential realized.”

Delivering the morning’s Cum Laude address was Tom Batty, executive director of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition and former headmaster of Scotch College in Melbourne, Australia—home to 2,000 boys in grades Pre-K through Grade 12.

In his Cum Laude address, he spoke to the boys about balancing a rewarding and original interior life with the responsibilities and gifts we are all afforded by living in community. He wove those lessons through four powerful stories, peppered with great humor, beginning this way:

“We carry this stuff around in our heads that only we know about; our personal thoughts and internal conversations; our life in our mind. And we do this while trying to make some sense of all we observe and those we observe it with.

To add spice, there is paradox: We all crave our own personal freedom, but we are quite willing to restrict the freedom of others to get it.

We know that we have something unique to offer; we want our moment in the sun, but we are also conscious that the group can do things the individual can’t and that we can gain from this; that our quality of life is a product of the quality of lives of all around us, near and far.

But this brings restrictions to our freedom: the need for common codes, laws, and regulations. How do we find balance?

We sense when the balance is right: art that transcends culture to tell of our condition; song that inspires the soul; literature that moves us to tears; scientific advancements that reduce suffering; social advancement that leads to respect and dignity; mathematics that simultaneously thumps the heart and hurts the brain; rising to meet your mate’s cross to header the ball into the back of the net; or as I was on Saturday, hugging the stranger next to me at the Gtech when Brentford scored to get their first win in 10 games.

But we also know that when the balance is wrong it can be disastrous: anger; prejudice; greed; repression; persecution; bigotry.

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one or the few? Or are the needs of the many best served by protecting and advancing the needs of the one or the few? How do we find balance between all that is going on in our minds and all around us?”

Read the entirety of Mr. Batty’s remarks.

Between lively renditions of America the Beautiful and Jerusalem, For the Splendor of Creation and The Founder’s Song, Mr. Josh Cervas, president of RL’s Cum Laude chapter, provided a history of the organization before he awarded the twelve inductees their certificates: “By formally recollecting our origins each year, we also reaffirm our commitment to the Society’s original and abiding motto—three Greek words inspired by the three letters of the old Alpha Delta Tau name: Alpha stands for Areté (Excellence), Delta for Diké (Justice), and Tau for Timé (Honor). These three words, with deep roots in our past and far reaching implications for our future, raise qualities of mind and character which, ideally, each member of the Society will espouse as his own values and strive to instill in others throughout his life.”

Os seguintes seniores foram admitidos na Cum Laude Society este ano:

Leo Bene
Theo Coben
Aidan D’Alessandro
Akhilsai Damera
Dennis Jin
Ryan Lin
Jack Tompros
Lucas Vander Elst
Justin Yamaguchi
Evan Zhang
Eric Zhu