I have the privilege each year of offering some reflections about the graduating class, and I usually try to focus on the nature of the class and its contributions to the school. Seniors: Though you are a relatively small group, you are powerful; more than half of you have been here 4, 5, or 6 years so we know you quite well and have delighted in watching you grow. If I had to qualify you as a group, I would say you are our philosophical class. There is almost nothing you have accepted at face value, and because of that you have challenged us in good ways (and, in your earlier years, in more typically adolescent ways :). Those of us who have worked with you know that the best challenges come from the heart, in other words from people who care enough to question - and I believe that especially in your work of this year, you have embodied that kind of challenge for us. You want us to be “our best selves,” and I appreciate that in you.
- Seniors - You did it and now begins your journey. You are heading off to the next chapter.
- You will face adversities and injustices of our society because of your genders and your identities. There will be many in this world who will believe that you are not worthy, but I beg to differ because you are phenomenal and because “haters will hate." You have the vision and dedication, so use them to your advantage. Do not ever allow anyone, to devalue who you are, because of you are... use your voice, stand tall, and keep your head held high.
Senior graduating class of 2016, I was absolutely flabbergasted when Sally told me that you had selected me to be one of your commencement speakers. I want you to know what an incredible privilege it is for me to be here with you today, celebrating your special day.
This year's Commencement speaker, chosen by the graduating class of 2014, was visual artist and MacArthur Felllow Anna Schuleit Haber. Ms. Haber has graciously given us permission to post her full speech here. "Believe the Bird" was delivered at Stoneleigh-Burnham School's 2014 Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 6th in Greenfield, Massachusetts.