The seniors who walked across the stage of the Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts last Saturday morning during the 45th Commencement Exercise at Saint Edward’s School emitted a mixture of bittersweet emotions.
As Bruce Wachter, retiring Associate Head of School and Head of Upper School said his final goodbye, he noted the graduates had dedicated 7,000 hours in service, and as they leave for college will touch every geographic region in the nation, three outside the U.S. and the United States Naval Academy.
“We celebrate with great confidence, joy and pride but also with the emotions that remind us that this marks their time to leave us and the time for them to begin the next phases of their journeys,” Wachter explained. “Graduation commencement is not the destination but a milestone in the journey through life.”
Attorney and Board of Trustees Chairman Kevin Barry winnowed down his philosophy to three lessons: Don’t be afraid to fail, seek out mentors and do not engage in groupthink. “Be yourself and don’t succumb to pressure. Be comfortable in your own skin and don’t be afraid to challenge the group.”
“Graduation is truly a commencement to an exciting new chapter for the lives of these 62 seniors,” said Head of School Mike Mersky.
“My hope for the Class of 2018 is that they feel passion and commitment in their lives well beyond the years of learning and formal education.”
Guest speaker Scott Mohr compared the life changes he and the students have encountered together during his tenure at Saint Edward’s. “You got your driver’s license – I got a marriage license. You are no longer children, and now I have a child of my own.”
Mohr added, “St. Edward’s has empowered you to meet the challenges and changes our world faces. You are important, but you are not entitled. At this stage, you are entitled to very little. The good news is that you can start earning your futures right now.”
Valedictorian Spencer Lindenthal acknowledged that “while the school has given me along with my peers the opportunity to do great things with the next part of our lives by pushing us to our potential and fostering our growth, it is what we do with our potential that will define who we are.”
Salutatorians Allison Eidemueller and Sana Shareef reflected on events of the past four years and noted accomplishments of the class, citing everything from academics to the arts and sharing insider tidbits on chemistry lab experiments, fiery physics, athletic highs and lows, and theater hits.
“This short list of memories doesn’t even begin to encompass all the unique experiences and bonds that have been formed over the last four years by the Class of 2018,” said Eidemueller.
“Today marks a combination of our successes, our roadblocks and at times our failures,” added Shareef. “This day took 14 years in the making, and we should celebrate the heck out of it.”
As its class gift, the Class of 2018 has enhanced student spectator seating in the baseball outfield so that future generations of Saint Edward’s Pirates can support their classmates in comfort.