Congratulations, Class of 2013!

Noble and Greenough School graduated 118 members of the Class of 2013 on an unseasonably steamy morning May 31. Extra water and sunscreen were in abundance; most boys and men shed their jackets to battle the more than 90-degree heat and blazing sun.

The ceremony included announcements of awards and the granting of diplomas to a class characterized by its willingness to work hard and its kindness. Speakers shared words of wisdom learned from tragedy, innovation, and making mistakes.

Student Life Council President Cyrus Veyssi ’13 said that Nobles has taught him how to live in the here and now, and that taking a risk—standing out rather than always fitting in—has made his Nobles experience stronger. “There are no recipes for happiness,” he said, but suggested that Nobles has guided him to know himself better.

Head of School Bob Henderson quoted Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster on the occasion of a new railroad in 1847: “’It is an extraordinary era in which we live. It is altogether new. The world has seen nothing like it before. I will not pretend, no one can pretend, to discern the end; but everybody knows that the age is remarkable still for the application of this scientific research
to the pursuits of life.  The ancients saw nothing like it. The moderns have seen nothing like it till the present generation…We see the ocean navigated and the solid land traversed by steam power, and intelligence communicated by electricity. Truly this is almost a miraculous era.  What is before us no one can say, what is upon us no one can hardly realize. The progress of the age has almost outstripped human belief; the future is known only to Omniscience.’”

Henderson expressed his certainty that in 50 years many of the tools we now use will be obsolete—made useless by the relentless change that characterizes modernity. He said, however, that capacity to understand, analyze, communicate well, collaborate and reason through complexity will be skills learned at Nobles that will endure. “The mission of this school is timeless,” he said.

Faculty speaker Alden Mauck, who manages Assembly attendance, enjoyed a chance to identify late-to-assembly culprits and characterize the myriad ways in which members of the Class of 2013 have managed their guilt over the years. Blame was placed on construction and traffic, of course, but also on an unsuspecting breakfast-sandwich-maker Blue Moon Bagel Café. Some were known to beg shamelessly for "just one more chance."

He shifted, then, to the more sublime subject of his Epic Lit. and the Monsters, Swords, and Heroes class, which focuses on characters who heal others and placed communities above individual glory. Post-Beowulf, one epic example of heroism he cited was during the ’38 Hurricane, with winds up to 186 miles per hour. A history of the event identifies a young Nobles student, Steven Glidden ‘41, as responsible for saving the lives of a mother and her daughter. A more contemporary version of New England heroism was on display at the Boston Marathon bombing this year, Mauck said. The heroism that followed highlighted the qualities of pride, determination and toughness, he said.

Class I members Mary McDonald and Pat Toomey also spoke to the Class of 2013. McDonald talked about her propensity for tweeting and, often, for sharing her embarrassing moments via social media. She shares them willingly, believing that “the mishaps are the things that shape us.”

Toomey told his classmates and other members of the audience that he is Catholic and planned to make several confessions. One confession is that after his arrival as a Class III student, he was miserable and wanted to transfer. Toomey felt he didn’t belong. “Success does not come without hard work and failure, and perseverance is the key,” he said. “Only when I was able to accept that I was now part of something that was more important than just myself, only then could I become resilient enough to do well at Nobles.”

The ceremony also included awards, including the Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence to Julia Russell, as well as the Head of School Prize, Miller Medal and Gleason Award, which went to new graduates Grant Rheingold, Natasha Rachlin and Caleb Kirshner, respectively.

After accepting their diplomas, the graduates greeted and thanked faculty and family members. The final musical performance, after a week filled with many memorable performances, was the First Class Ensemble with “Winter Song” by The Head and the Heart.

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Nobles Graduation 2013