‘Let the world hear from you; be a force in the world for good’
Christchurch School celebrated its 92nd commencement exercises on Sunday, May 19, at 10:30 a.m. under the great red oak on Headmaster’s Hill.
From his podium overlooking the Rappahannock River, Headmaster John E. Byers addressed the graduating class of 56. In what has become a special tradition, he addressed each graduate personally, remarking on the special gifts and talents that he or she brought to the Christchurch community.
Byers remarked on the bold and leading role the Class of 2013 played in carrying out and living the Great Journeys curriculum.
“It was intentional that your years here would be something so unique and powerful that it would shake you from your comfort zone and challenge you to become a new person with new confidence and new capacities,” he said.
“We gave you problems that made you think, prompts to make you write, complicated questions with open-ended answers, projects to make you work together, riddles to solve. This experience, this education, this place and time exist not to make us comfortable, but to make us capable.
“Capable of achieving our own dreams . . . capable of leading . . . capable of adapting to a new place, people and new realities . . . capable of connecting the dots and making sense of any situation . . . capable of thinking through an issue, forming an opinion, stating your case . . . capable of establishing a meaningful and trusting relationship with others . . . capable of the tough decision and of empathy . . . capable of giving yourself over to something greater than just your own self interest. You have the wherewithal to create lives of great comfort compared to most of the world—exciting, luxurious, estimable, respectable lives. But we did not go through this together to make us comfortable, but to make us capable.
“So let the world hear from you. Be a force in the world for good,” said Byers.
Byers noted the faculty and staff, their years of service and their devotion to the life of Christchurch School and the pride they take in this dynamic and talented class of graduates.
“As happy as you are today with your accomplishments we, your faculty, are equally happy,” he said. “I hope you will say we gave you love, and time, and things to think and care about.”
Byers acknowledged that while the world is not predictable, the graduates are ready for it. He reminded them to do four things: “Ask questions. Believe in the kindness of strangers. Work hard. Be the kind stranger to others wherever you are. And remember, let the world hear from you. The world needs to hear from you, and you can be a force for good. Be that force. Godspeed, thirteen.”
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