INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – St. Edward’s Upper School Saturday graduated 63 students in the Class of 2011, all of whom plan to attend college in the fall.
“Congratulations on making it this far and good luck in your future endeavors,” Valedictorian Lin Tan Nguyen said. Nguyen addressed his classmates with a mixture of humor and hope. Headed to Rice University, Nguyen urged his fellow graduates to find something they are passionate about and pursue it vigorously.
Salutatorian Anastasia “Stacey” Oswald, who will be studying communications at Vanderbilt University, said the past few weeks have been a series of “lasts” for the seniors and that graduation is “the biggest ending we’ve ever had to face in our short lives so far,” but that the prospect of college is an exciting “blank slate” for her and her classmates.
Before diplomas were handed out, Board of Trustees Chairman Ronald Edwards spoke and various members of the faculty were recognized for their service and achievement.
Keynote speaker Dr. Donna Shalala imparted what she called her golden rules for surviving and thriving at college. The former Secretary of Health and Human Services and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient advised students to make the most of each day and to consider college training for their sixth job, not their first job.
The ceremony marked 38 years of St. Edward’s commencements and Associate Head of School Bruce Wachter has attended all 38 of them. Head of School Mike Mersky joined the St. Edward’s family just two years ago, but also received lots of hugs from the graduates as they walked across the stage.
Mersky described graduation as a “time to reflect and celebrate the gifts of our students” and characterized the Class of 2011 as having compassionate hearts, perseverance and spirit.
The students, 33 percent of whom have attended St. Edward’s School since at least the first grade, will go on to study at 43 different campuses around the United States.