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2016 Commencement Remarks by Head of School Rebecca T. Upham the field and observed that not a single one of these millennials was focused on a cell phone.) The moment I’d like to point out, though, is the surprisingly late time of day that these seniors insisted on leaving for the two-hour journey to New Hampshire: 1:00 pm. This was a group decision among the class so that they could support the Relay For Life efforts initiated by the underclassmen earlier that morning. It’s that sort of wonderful, generous spirit that defined the Class of 2016—they brought a seriousness of purpose to endeavors in and out of the classroom, yet also a sense of levity and a bit of whimsy amid these halls. Perhaps that’s why this year has so quickly flown by. ***

Today is an important day for the Class of 2016. This graduation and the diplomas these students will soon receive mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another. It is a meaningful moment for all the faculty, family, and friends assembled here. This is a moment when students are suspended between the terra firma of BB&N and the world of new adventures. In the past few weeks, there have been many opportunities to talk about this class. We certainly applaud our soon-to-be graduates for their many accomplishments in classrooms and studios, for their work in the local and global community, and for their spirited competitions, be it with an ISL rival or each other in their color wars. The other evening, Senior Class Dean Ms. Makrauer remarked on how this was a very “connected” class—how they moved beyond personal concerns and leaned toward supporting others around them. We saw that virtue in full flower just this past Monday. The seniors had worked with the school to stage a “Back to Bivouac” day at Camp Marienfeld. It turned out to be an amazing gathering, and a perfect bookend to frame their four years as a tightly knit Upper School community. (In fact, one faculty member noted the almost-impossible-to-believe moment when he looked out at the 120 seniors assembled on 2

Every moment of transition, and this is surely one of those, brings a few butterflies to your stomach. You’re leaving BB&N for something that is not yet fully formed. But you’re leaving equipped to make a difference in the communities in which you tread and the world in which you live. My message today is that you are leaving here with lessons, habits, and values that are not just important for getting you into college. What you have learned here is important to your School and your family, and yes, even our culture and our democracy. Certainly, your habits of analytic and creative thought will serve you well in whatever path you take. I know your minds are both well trained and well exercised. But think for a moment about some of the other lessons you’ve learned about what goes into a high-functioning community, into the creation of an environment that allows for and encourages growth. In my travels around the country, alumni/ae time and again refer to the different perspectives they experienced at BB&N; they cite the diversity of their classmates and friends as a major influence, an influence that broadened their own perspective and understanding. “Making” a community is something you’ve done at BB&N. Some of it happened naturally but some of it took work, work that isn’t always comfortable. Think back to Community Building Assemblies we’ve had or the Community Day students put together earlier this year. These events change us, sometimes in big ways, sometimes in subtle ways. You were compelled, indeed required, to hear perspectives not your own. And all of this happened in an environment of respect. At BB&N you have learned the value of listening to—of hearing— not just some other voices but all other voices. You’ve also

BB&N Bulletin Summer 2016  
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