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"Thank Yous and Apologies," by Ben Perelmuter, co-president

Mr. Henderson, faculty, fellow students, family, friends and the graduating Class of 2014,

Welcome again to Nobles graduation. Or, as Katherine [Kirk] would put it—"It’s that time of year again. The sun is beaming down on the castle. The boys’ ties are as blue as the Charles River, which runs with the exuberance of young graduates stepping into a world of beauty, and the grass is as green as the meadows of North Dakota—where Mr. LaDuke lives."

But anyway, as I reflect on my four years at Nobles, I realize how incredible and formative an experience it has been. I entered Nobles as a slightly awkward, slightly nerdy, theater kid from Needham, and I’m leaving Nobles a slightly less awkward, slightly more nerdy theater kid from Needham. So I probably shouldn’t be the one imparting wisdom to future generations of Nobles students. However, I am extremely appreciative of Nobles and feel grateful to the people that have shaped my time here. And, like every high schooler, I have made a few mistakes. So—out of some mix of nostalgia and narcissism—I’d like to take this time to thank the people that have made my experience at Nobles special and apologize to those I may have disserviced.

I’d like to start by thanking the assembly audience when I made my first announcement Sophomore year. I was announcing the first meeting of Diplomacy Club.It’s a club where you play a board game based on international relations and European History. And I was the only member. I’m thankful for the assembly audience that day, because they laughed at my announcement even though I wasn’t trying to make a joke. However, I experienced an incredible communal support for the first time.The fact that so many people enjoyed my announcement was empowering. I had previously felt invisible at Nobles, but I had six hundred people responding to what I was saying, and it was gratifying. That response gave me a new sense of confidence that I started to carry with me and led me to make more assembly announcements and eventually to be Katherine Kirk’s straight-man for a year.

That’s the beauty of assembly. Along with being a common experience, it’s a way for the community to rally behind different students’ talents and passions and make the community a more vibrant, supportive place—it also got three more people to join Diplomacy Club.

I’d like to quickly apologize to the sixie who I spilled coffee on at the Castle coffee station a few months ago. But, in my defense, sixies shouldn’t be drinking coffee anyway. It’ll stunt your growth. Trust me. I speak from experience.

I have so much gratitude for the faculty here. Your classes have challenged me and changed me more than I imagined they could. In class you make us better mathematicians or readers, but you also make us better critical thinkers and learners, and, ultimately, you make us better people. The community you all foster is easy for an outsider to underestimate. At a Nobles’ admissions event in eighth grade I remember hearing that teachers here really want to meet with you outside of class. I expected those meetings to be similar to the times I had spent hanging out in the backs of my middle school classrooms. What I did not expect was to have frequent meetings with teachers who sought me out regardless of how I was doing in their classes. I didn’t expect to spend my free periods going out to lunch with teachers to talk about a shared academic interest or life. I didn’t expect you to care so much about me, and I didn’t expect to care so much about you . I have the utmost admiration for those of you got to know, and I hope to keep in touch after we leave.

I’d like to apologize to my family for not spending more time with you over the past four years. As we say, Nobles isn’t a school; it’s a lifestyle,  and in a never-ending litany of classes, homework, rehearsals, debates, games, and social events, I am sorry I often chose Nobles over you. That sounds really bad now that I say it outloud.While I’m at it, I also want to thank my family. I think the last time I got to publicly thank you was during my Bar Mitzvah speech five years ago  where I was far less thoughtful and far more angsty,so I’m glad I have the chance to do so again now. I’ve realized recently that verbalizing my thanks for you is not easy, but hyperbole aside, my Nobles experience could not have happened without you in a number of ways.  You always pushed me to do my best academically, whether it was in studying for the SSATs to get into this place, or editing a paper so I would successfully get out and to do my best socially, and morally.   I have loved feigning knowledge of the Red Sox and European soccer to keep up conversations with Jake, venting with Marla, and having great role models to look up to as parents. Thank you for that and for countless other manifestations of emotional, academic, and social support, your unconditional love and care.

On a different note, I’d like to thank the regurgitator for reminding me to follow my passions no matter what the consequences, and for reminding me not to swallow girls’ rings because they probably won’t like you if you do.

I’ll give a quick thank you to my friends and classmates over the past four years. It would be impossible to encapsulate my feelings for you so briefly, but you are an extremely impressive group of people that would be intimidating if it weren’t for your immense amount of support, passion, and positive energy for each other.You have changed me, and forced me to push myself and understand myself. I have loved spending my days with you, and can’t wait to see what you do in the future.

Finally, I want to thank the kid who hosted me on my revisit day at Milton for making that day so bad, because it led me here and I haven’t looked back once,so thank you Nobles for a great four years and a lifetime of newfound passions, skills, and friends for which I will always be grateful.

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"Thank Yous and Apologies," by Ben Perelmuter, co-president
graduation, apologies, thanks, Perelmuter, Nobles