Class of 2021 Graduation Speeches

Class of 2021 Graduation Speeches



Oris Bryant, Faculty Speaker

“Perspective in the Unknown”


Good morning and welcome to Dr. Hall, the board of trustees, faculty and staff, alums, parents, guardians, siblings, friends, guests and all those that have supported each and every one of you to this day, hence, we celebrate the Class of 2021. Four years ago, when you began as members of Class IV, it was the first and only year during my tenure here at Nobles that I did not teach ninth graders HHC. However, the following year was also the first year that I taught three US History sections and while I had had the opportunity to begin to know your class in other areas of the school, basketball and advising, that year marked the beginning of a much more intimate relationship. One that I have no doubt has led to my being up here today. For that, I thank you for the honor of sharing this day with you.

As my former students and their qualified scholars can attest, each year, my classes begin with a unit on perspective, many of you may recall this exercise (drop book). The first question I ask is, “what happened?” Clearly, everyone can see what just occurred. The challenge and fun is finding all the different possible viewpoints to write about the historical event, thus, the different perspectives. My talk today, “Perspective in the Unknown,” while not a misnomer, I admit is a bit of a misdirection. It is the recognition and acceptance that today, more than ever, there is so much unknown: a global pandemic that now feels ‘normal’ to live in; an historic, yet fraught, election where the statement, “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people” leaves one questioning Lockean ideology and political theory; the death and conviction in the wake of George Floyd reassuring that “fairness, justice, and freedom are more than just words, they are perspectives.” These realities necessitate that each of us develop and have a clear understanding of who we are and, in doing so, find our own voice. To find one’s voice is a banality, and to borrow from one of my heroes, James Baldwin, “a banality because it is very frequently stated, but rarely, on the evidence, believed.” So what exactly does this mean and how does it happen? Well, to begin, a truism: life is like basketball.… no, in all earnestness, this boils down to criticality, apotheosis, and V for Vendetta.

I attended a public high school with approximately 200 students in my class and 1200 overall. And after having 25 or so different teachers, I admit the gross negligence of my high school educational experience. Of those 25 teachers, only a very small handful taught in a manner that really made me think—be critical, question and learn. At Brown, once I uncovered my interest in law and public policy, all of my classes pushed me to be critical. And because I attended Rutgers Law School slightly older than many of my peers at 28, I approached every aspect of school from a critical perspective. It was there that topics such as critical legal studies and critical race theory were explicitly introduced, and Professor Payne, one of my absolute favorites, would make a seemingly innocuous statement about the tort reading followed by, “So what do you think, Mr. Bryant?” For some of you, you can recall a similar experience in my class—both for being called on and for being referred to by your last name. Students who I don’t teach will often ask me why I call students by their last names. I call students by their last names as a way, for me, to show respect. What Mr. Bryant has to say is no more valuable than what any qualified scholar says in our class. And it is this mutual respect that garners and cultivates an environment that fosters shared discussion about many topics, and particularly challenging, difficult ones. My three US sections affirmed my belief that argumentation as a methodology enhances students’ critical thinking skills. Your sections gave me the confidence to finally apply to present my ideas and pedagogy and is why I am now scheduled to participate at an educational conference in Greece—post-pandemic, of course. That is one of the many ways in which this class has inspired and helped me.

“Um”—just making sure I still have your attention. The ideal example; epitome; quintessence—this is the definition of apotheosis. This is all that we ask of you here—to push yourself to be the best version of yourself. This is what perspective and finding your voice is also about. But finding one’s voice can take a myriad of forms. And at Nobles, and in the Class of 2021, you exude this oftentimes by the way that you manifest and display what you are passionate about. Now, as someone who should be fined for ever attempting to sing, you have amazed me with the beauty of your mellifluous songs. As one who played the trumpet, I am always excited to watch our various groups perform. After pretending to act in high school, I am astounded by the showmanship and theatricality of the NTC productions. And as my colleague can corroborate, the only class I ever failed was painting. Thank you, Mr. Roane. 2021, your artistic expression in multiple modalities, visual, performing, written and oral are superb and sublime. As one who played a little bit of athletics, the level of performance that you strive for and achieve in your athletic endeavors, both individually and as collective teams, is staggering. For example, two athletes I had the opportunity to directly witness who both symbolize what it means to take on a challenge with dogged determination. The first, an athlete who, after playing and excelling in the sport they loved for 10 years, decided to try something new and had the strength and fortitude to step away and not only ‘try’ but to achieve unparalleled success already. The second, an athlete whose journey was exceedingly rare. After being cut from junior varsity to thirds as a ninth grader, they returned and progressed to junior varsity as a sophomore, and then weathered through a season-limiting injury as a junior—who instead of simply calling it quits, continued to work to improve, and achieved their goal.

Furthermore, a student who in dealing with the loss of a very close loved one, channeled that grief, that pain, that love into producing an entire album of all original songs. Students who decided to start a podcast where they would share their own personal stories and experiences, be vulnerable, be truthful—these are the ways that members of this class have inspired me. This is what has nurtured and allowed me to remain fulfilled. This is why I continue and remain here at Nobles. Now you may be wondering, what does V for Vendetta have to do with this. Some of you know that V for Vendetta is one of my favorite movies; in fact, I have already included two direct quotes from the movie. Thus, I conclude by paraphrasing another one of my favorites that is apropos, “Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch—but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let [anyone] take it away.” This inch is you, what you love, live and fight for. But to do that, you have to learn and define who you are, your passion, your voice, your perspective. Because once you do that, then you can do for others. That is what is so exciting about this class. This graduating Class of 2021. We all wait expectantly to see the great things that you will do going forward. Congratulations to the Class of 2021 of the Noble and Greenough School. Thank you.

Avery Miranda ’21, Student Speaker

“Reflections on Independence”


To start off, I would just like to thank the Class of 2021 for electing me to speak today. This is such an honor and I could not be more thrilled to address you all at our graduation. 

Growing up, I was an incredibly stubborn kid. In fact, back when I could barely speak, a phrase that I was often heard saying was, “All by myself.” Well, I would say it a little more like, “All by myself.” 

In preschool, I was enrolled in a dance program. If you’ve ever been to a dance recital for kids you know that the dances are relatively simple and there’s always a teacher in the front row doing the choreography for the kids that would forget it. I was not one of those kids, however. Dance was my passion and I thought I was the greatest there was. So after nine long months of rehearsing and getting ready for this show, I knew what I had to do. 

I learned to stand next to a small group of girls all in one line facing the audience and we would dance to twinkle twinkle little star. It was the same moves for all of us and positively no variation, by design of the seasoned dance teachers. But, at the end, I decided to add a little spice. You can imagine the surprise of my teachers and fellow performers when I added something extra to the heavily choreographed dance. I stepped up so that I was front and center and performed what could only be described as a spontaneous, undesigned, solo piece. 

I wanted to be independent in my recital but I didn’t do it in the right way. While some might say I took initiative and exuded confidence unlike that of any other five year old, others might say that I was incredibly stubborn. Unfortunately, I have found that stubbornness prevents you from growing.

I stayed this way, stubborn and strong-willed, throughout elementary and middle school. I found it hard to ask for help because it made me feel as though I was incapable. Because of this, I wasn’t able to make many connections in my early schooling. 

But when I came to Nobles I was forced to change very quickly. The number of things that you can’t do alone at Nobles is infinite. A couple examples: I’m not sure I would have enjoyed writing the US History paper without the support of Mr. Jankey and Ms. Steim, or learned to write a novel without Ms. Batty. I wouldn’t have found my passion for science if it wasn’t for Mr. Hoe and Ms. McElwee, and I would never have survived high school without meetings with my advisors, Ms. Velazquez, Ms. Charles, and Ms. Ramsdell. 

I was no longer disconnected from the community and afraid to seem weak through admitting that I needed support sometimes. This is when I learned independence. I found a way to do things on my own with the influence of others. 

I used the tools provided to me by those I learned from and with, and I figured out how to solve problems with them. Working with others made me a better student, as well as a better person. I now use the tools from US History and Independent Novel Writing whenever I am crafting any essay or project. I learned to always try my best in any class from my science teachers. And I was inspired by my advisors and the librarians to listen to others and be an ally. 

People are highly influenced by those around them; they are changed by others. I am a firm believer that we are a collage of everyone we have ever met. Family, friends, teachers, neighbors, everyone. Luckily, those of us that attend or have attended Nobles are surrounded with some amazing role models. 

To be stubborn is to close yourself off from the influence of others. Stubborn people, like dance recital Avery, have small and simple collages. Those of us who branch out and learn from others have large and colorful pieces of art, deeply complicated and elaborate. We have so much past advice and experience to help us in challenging situations which may arise in the future. 

I am so excited to see what all of our futures hold, but I am also incredibly grateful for what you seniors have taught me while at Nobles. I have learned so much from you all and I could not be prouder of how each of your pieces fit into my own collage. Without you, I would not be as colorful as I am today. 

We attain tools to solve problems from those that we work with and grow with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we only learn from adults. As I have grown up next to each of my classmates these past four years, I have been inspired by you all as well. I look forward to seeing what kinds of ingenuitive things Adelaide Gifford thinks up in order to save animals and plants around the world. I can’t wait to see how Vivian Tao uses machine learning to solve problems as massive as climate change. I long to listen to the President read a powerful speech that Anna Perez was the ghost writer of. I could go on and on but unfortunately my speech is capped at six minutes. 

To be truly independent you must be able to navigate challenges on your own. In order to do that, you must have tools, and the way to get those is to learn from others. So by some sort of proof that I learned in freshman geometry, independence is not something that you can have without help. 

While I believe that every one of my fellow classmates is more than capable of solving challenges on their own, there are plenty of obstacles that we will run into which we won’t be able to solve right away. Without being open to others and asking for help when we need it, or even when we don’t, how will we gain the tools to solve these problems? Humility is a learned trait just as any other, but one of the most important ones you can possess. It is humility that will allow us to ask for the help we will need from others in order to be truly successful. 

Before I conclude my speech, I would just like to thank my parents. Most of what I have talked about was taught to me by them. I love you both so much and thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself that I could possibly be.

My message to you, class of 2021, is to open yourself to others. We are more equipped than most high school students venturing into college because of what Nobles has taught and given us, but that does not mean that we are fully prepared for all that is ahead. So keep learning and exploring. Think about your own toolboxes and the unique tools that you have to solve problems, but also the ones you might be missing. 

We will find a way to step into the spotlight just as I did in my dance recital, however, we will most definitely find a way to do it more elegantly and without outshining the rest of the dance group and angering their parents. 

Find ways to add a little spice into your passions and make sure that when you stand front and center it is to the benefit of others. You all have so much to teach and anyone who bumps into you will be more than happy to learn something. So keep dancing, Class of 2021. The world will be watching and learning from you, just as you will be learning from the world.



Kamran Bina ’21, Student Speaker



Good Afternoon, my name is Kamran Bina, and thank you to the Class of 2021 for giving me the tremendous honor of speaking here today.

I’d first like to congratulate you, my classmates, for getting to this monumental day in your lifetime. Take a deep breath in, and enjoy every moment, this will be a day that we will cherish forever.

To the parents and family in the audience, thank you and congratulations, without your guidance throughout these past four years, and the years that preceded them, we wouldn’t be here today. We LOVE you so much…more than a few words in a speech can capture. 

And last but definitely not least, to the faculty and staff, the people who have kept the Noble and Greenough School running during a pandemic. Not only have you taught us countless lessons in the classroom, but you’ve served as role models for how we can handle a less-than-desirable situation. To Dr. Hall, Mr. Denning, Ms. Sullivan, Ms. Libby, Mr. Gifford, Mr. Bussey, Mr. Canavan, Ms. O’Connor, and to all of the teachers and Nobles employees who have had to reinvent the school, thank you! With your leadership, we haven’t had to shut down once and we’ve kept students learning on campus. Please join me in applauding all the wonderful folks who work and teach at Nobles!

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the beach looking out at students frolicking about, yes, quite literally, skipping around (I think it was Catie Asnis, but it very easily could have been Lily RVO, Joyce, or maybe even Yaro). While viewing this assemblage of students none other than our “provost with the movost,” Mr. Bussey, who happened to be sitting next to me, looks over and says something along the lines of, “You know…your class has had the best senior spring ever, what could make it any better?” a handful of us started to laugh while thinking the obvious and then James OC replied what we were all thinking, “Oh I don’t know, maybe no pandemic could make it better?” This moment got me thinking about this year as a whole and how in many ways, Nobles has never seen a senior year quite like this one. 

We’ve all grown so much these past four years but over the past 18 months we needed to adapt more than most juniors and seniors were ever required to in recent history. One constant struggle that I’ve always circled back to throughout this year is the juxtaposition of recognizing all that we as Seniors have lost, while also trying to keep some perspective. I try to take a step back and be grateful for what I have, not frustrated at what I don’t have. 

While this year has been nothing but abnormal, and yes, we’ve lost many of what would typically be considered Nobles traditions, we have found ways to adjust and to create new Nobles traditions. So let’s not focus on the loss today, instead let’s celebrate how our community adapted, how we transformed, how we made the most of a year none of us expected.

The Nobles community is stronger than ever. I walk around campus and hear the noises of Vikram serving the spikeball to Eliza, the hackey sack hitting Tommy’s foot and then Wyatt complaining about how there was no chance that he got out, although he most certainly did, I hear the frisbee being hurled across the beach by Albert to Ben Clifford, when was the last time a volleyball net was on the beach, Sydney, Jess, and Caroline have put together massive games, music is finally played in Lawrence by Anna, Emma, and the rest of the orchestra. Over my past four years here, I don’t think I have ever seen turnouts quite as large as the ones we had at Coffeehouse and Art Street! Anya, Hadley, and Kathryn were finally able to hand out physical copies of The Nobleman after releasing digitally for months! Fans now cheer as Ellie, Tate, Alex, and Ethan run down the Lacrosse Field, I hear bacon sizzling on a portable grill as some unnamed students have a possibly illegal cookout in the parking lot, families that were in separate cohorts earlier this year like the Kasparyans or even my brother and I can finally carpool together, and while I might not be happy with the fact that I have to wake up an extra hour earlier, getting to share these last few car rides with my brother make it so worth it. I hear family and friends applauding as the NTC puts on its very first in-person production of the year, poker chips get shuffled in the memorial room, poker chips…that don’t actually correspond with real cash values…because we would NEVER play for money…just the love of the game…

Everyone wants to make connections and feel at home, I hope that my classmates have all found a second home here at Nobles. This past year has truly tested just how much each and every one of us cares about Nobles. Our typical vehicles of connecting with one another were uprooted, but we found new ways, whether it be through a screen or six feet apart. Whether that connection was with a friend, a teacher like Mr. Day, Mr. or Mrs. Harrington, Mr. Polebaum, Mr. Jankey, Mr. Baker, Ms. Batty, or Mr. Nickerson, an advisor who has gone above and beyond year after year like mine, Mr. Halperin, or some of our behind the scene supporters like Mr. Burek, Mr. Diaz, The McHughs, Ms. Flora, Ms. Ahl, or Mr. Brooks, those moments of human connection are what make the Nobles community so strong. 

This school year was different than others in many ways, however, I found that our class and community came together not only because of our common struggles, but also our common goals. In spite of the obvious COVID challenges, it was clear our class was determined to build community, both fostering new relationships, and building upon old ones. Lily Bryant, after sitting next to each other in assembly for our entire Nobles career, it wasn’t until this year that I actually felt like we knew each other better than just “assembly buddies.” Connor, Drew, Duke, Mike, Sam, Arty, Charlie, and all the guys in our Poker group chat that I won “Chips” from, again, “Chips” NOT money, I really enjoyed using Poker to build our relationships. Hey Harri… I don’t think we had ever had a conversation before Frisbee, now you Mike and I are hanging out after practice! Angie and Mishara, while I’d been in classes with you both, I cherish those long chats during Blues Band this year! These are just a few examples of people who I’ve been fortunate enough to spend more time with this year but was unable to make the connection with sooner. At the end of the day though, that’s life, and I’m grateful that at least in this last final stretch I can say that I’ve been able to become closer to my class.

When I think about my Senior year at Nobles, the moments listed will be some of the most profound. To be quite honest, I don’t know if some of these traditions and experiences that we took for granted over the past three years would have been as special this year had we not been living in a pandemic.

To the Class of 2021- I admire every single one of you for your courage, your resilience, for putting on a brave face when those in the grades below needed a strong senior class to look up to amidst the uncertainty. When we leave campus today we will no longer be Nobles students, but the lessons we’ve learned here will live on with us for the rest of our lives. We will join a long line of Nobles Alumni who have left this incredible institution, and gone on to change the world. Mr. Bussey was right, well sort of, this may not have been the senior year we were expecting, but it’s the senior year that we received, and I don’t think we could have asked for a better end to this year, we played WELL with the hand that we were dealt, we adapted.

Thank you and congratulations to the Noble and Greenough School Class of 2021!!!

Dr. Catherine J. Hall, Head of School

Head of School Remarks


It is a pleasure and truly a privilege to be with you here today—in person—for this wonderful event as we gather to celebrate the Class of 2021.

This is a special class for many reasons, not the least of which is because we started as freshmen together at Nobles! Four years ago, when I began my tenure as Noble and Greenough School’s seventh head of school, so many in this class had their own first day at Nobles, and all of you began a journey together as the Class of 2021. Over the last four years, I have grown so fond of this class as a group and of each of you individually. Your wonderfully diverse and extraordinary talents, abounding kindness, and ability to find joy and light despite the adversity of this last year will leave a legacy for others at Nobles to follow for decades to come.

During the fall of your Class II year, with Lawrence Auditorium under renovation, our ability to gather as a full community for assembly was in doubt. Lacking better options, I remember joking, “Let’s just throw up a tent in the middle of campus.” Then it hit us. No, really, let’s just throw up a tent in the middle of campus!

Each morning that fall, we gathered for assembly as a Nobles community under what Bill Bussey quickly coined our “Tent of Miracles.” I am embarrassed to admit that, at the time, having assembly under a tent felt like a bit of a hardship. It is safe to say that we have a slightly better perspective today!

The tent of miracles was an important symbol at the time, a clear reminder that our community is not defined by any building, and that the secret sauce of Nobles is about relationships and our shared experiences. All we need is to be together—even if under a tent—and the magic of our Nobles community endures.

Our students will likely remember the assembly morning that fall that featured 50 mph winds. With the tent roaring with each gust of wind and a mounting feeling we were about to head into orbit, I got on stage to assure everyone that the tent was hurricane rated, with deep stakes in the ground to keep it secured.

Just a few months later, of course, the winds around our Nobles tent would only blow stronger, and our stakes holding it down would only burrow deeper, as the pandemic closed our campus doors and moved our community into a virtual space we had never envisioned. While we all greatly missed being together on campus last spring, our virtual tent stood strong and the Nobles community endured, as the strength of our relationships and connections saw us through that challenging spring.

This fall, we called upon our tents again, this time to provide us with dozens of outdoor classroom spaces needed to reopen campus to start a new school year together. While far from perfect, it was a joyous return to campus, and we quickly found new ways to teach, learn, and connect as a community.

Today, as we gather together under this great graduation tent, eager to honor and celebrate the Class of 2021, you are surrounded by the people who care about you most, who have invested in your lives, cultivated your learning, supported your growth, and been there to pick you up after you have had a massive fail, only to help you dust yourself off and try again.

As you graduate from Nobles, you are heading into a world that is simultaneously hurting, healing, and hopeful—a world still reeling from the pain wrought by the pandemic and our reckoning with systemic injustices, one that is increasingly fractured and fighting. It is also a world that is lifting its head up optimistically as you step forward from this tent, filled with so much light and hope for what your future will bring.

As I thought about what I want to convey to you today, before I invite you to walk out of our Nobles tent, I sought wisdom from our mission statement.

Nobles’ mission is rooted in a strong commitment to inspiring leadership for the public good. This is a bold promise that reflects our enduring priority of ensuring Nobles students and graduates seek to make a deep and meaningful difference in the world. While leadership for the public good might feel reserved for those who stand behind a big podium with a loud microphone and many followers, every single one of you is ready to fulfill our mission- in your own way, with your own voice, and your own impact.

Embedded in our commitment to leadership for the public good is a strong belief in demonstrating respect for self and others. This principle is threaded throughout our community norms, and is one we have long drawn upon at Nobles as a beacon to guide us.

As I reflect upon the fractured climate you are entering as a Nobles graduate, where civil discourse, respect, and kindness seem to be increasingly rare commodities, Nobles’ mission has never felt more important, and the world has never needed each of you more than it does now. I want to share several hopes I have for you, hopes for how you lead for the public good in the months and years to come.

First, I hope you clarify for yourself what you believe, knowing and hoping it will evolve.

I do not want you to adopt what you want others to think you believe, nor what anyone else says you should believe. What I care about is what you actually believe. At Nobles, we have focused on teaching you how to think, not what to think, and I hope you use your ability to think critically to clarify your personal beliefs and to also allow them to be challenged and evolve.

Your beliefs will, of course, continue to develop. I hope you see that as a lifelong journey, one I still embrace in my own life with open arms. Being willing to change your mind is not a weakness but a clear strength. You are surrounded by those espousing way too much certainty, where people label what are actually opinions as right or wrong, fact or fiction. I hope you reserve your own temptation to declare certainty and instead replace that space with more questions!

Second, I hope you share your voice often.

The highly judgmental and vicious social and news media of today leave the stakes increasingly high for anyone to risk voicing any difference of opinion, making a mistake, or admitting they don’t understand something. It can often feel smarter to just keep quiet rather than to risk cruel judgment or social stigma.

Please don’t do that!

We need you to lend your voice to discussions and debates. We need you willing to make mistakes and say the wrong thing. We also need you to extend the same empathy to others who make the same mistakes you fear you will make yourself. You will mess up and so will they if we do this right.

Be forgiving of others, just as you hope others are with you. Steer clear of the cruel models of public shaming and ridicule and instead focus on kindness and compassion. We need you willing to model what you are not seeing around you, using your voice to help others use theirs.

Third, I hope you listen well.

Listening well seems to be a dying art, replaced with a space people use simply to pause- not so politely- before launching a rebuttal. Do not listen with the intent of just waiting until you declare “the right answer”—but instead listen with the simple goal of understanding what the other person is saying and learning how it could inform what you think and believe. It does not mean you agree with the person if you don’t have a rebuttal ready to launch. It just means that you have listened.

I hope you listen to those you know share your worldview and those who do not, that you read the headlines that resonate and those that confront your ideas. Doing this will only make you a better person and leader.

Fourth, I hope you disagree well.

Unfortunately, you do not have very many models of this to draw upon lately. Debate with others with the goal of elevating ideas seems to have been replaced with the tearing down of ideas, along with the people who dared to have shared them. When confronted with someone who disagrees strongly with your views, instead of jumping to the trend of labeling and canceling, I hope you take the path of seeking to understand. This is easier said than done, as the court of public opinion has other plans!

Of course, when you are confronted by hate and intolerance, you need to interrupt and be an upstander. That is a given and those are not the moments I am describing. I am talking about the times someone says something you simply disagree with or when someone directly challenges your ideas. I hope in these moments you choose to resist the trend of assuming and concluding and instead find ways to give others the benefit of the doubt, all while you seek to understand their intent and context.
Always—and I really hope you are listening right now—always choose a personal conversation when you disagree with someone over an angry email or text, social media post, or anonymous petition. The angrier you are the more important this advice becomes. Making things personal—in all the right ways—always wins the day. Our world has grown so impersonal, and it has become too easy to forget the impact our words have on others.

I firmly believe that some of our biggest interpersonal challenges—perhaps some of our biggest global challenges—could be solved by in-person conversations. In the end, remember that healthy civil discourse and disagreement only run the risk of deepening both relationships and ideas.

Last, and certainly not least, I hope you laugh. A lot.

Humor is a very intentional part of the Nobles mission statement. For those of you who think I am looking for a laugh here, which is a reasonable guess, it is actually in there- check it out!

We laugh a lot at Nobles, and know how much laughter matters.

Yes, we work incredibly hard, are highly aspirational, and insanely well accomplished all over the place. There is no questioning how seriously Nobles students take their studies and how invested they are in pushing to be their best selves.

As part of that journey, we also recognize the critical role humor and laughter can play in keeping us humble, making us vulnerable, creating memorable shared experiences, and, let’s face it, keeping a healthy perspective on life! Humor and laughter promote creativity and, of course, joy.

For me, it was the laughter that was missing the most from campus during this pandemic. When you go into education, you crave kid noise. If you are wondering what “kid noise” is, it tends to equate to inappropriately loud talking in tight spaces, periodic and unpredictable shrieking, and, of course, laughter—lots of it.

This spring, our laughter returned as you returned. When our seniors came back to campus full time in April, I heard the kid noise again— a welcome roar of it.

While, yes, there was that awkward moment where Sixies realized the Beach was not actually their hang-out space, there was a more important moment when they witnessed and learned from the joy that you, the members of the Class of 2021, brought back to our Nobles community.

One of my favorite memories from this class will be the Spikeball tournament you created where older and younger students teamed up together. Yesterday’s finale between Class I and IV students felt like the Super Bowl! The joy, humor, and laughter this tournament created was palpable and lifted the spirits of all on campus, both on the beach and in our classrooms and hallways. As a side note, given your success on the Beach this spring, I have petitioned the ISL to add Spikeball as an official sport. From what I have seen in recent weeks, I have a feeling Nobles will fare pretty well…
This year I have been so grateful for the leadership of Parents Association Co-Chairs Kate Saunders and Anne Gatnik. Recently, Anne Gatnik shared with me the story of a very special pine cone. While this leads me to inject a mixed metaphor, it feels worth it!

In places where forest fires are common, some pine trees have developed serotinous cones. Instead of spreading its mature seeds like a typical pine cone, the serotinous cone holds its seeds tightly glued inside, sometimes for years. It is only when the heat of a forest fire rages that the cone opens up to release its seeds into the wind, to be carried when and where they might make a meaningful difference in the world.

Class of 2021, we have held you tightly under our tents at Nobles, nurturing you, challenging you, and being inspired by you. If we have done our jobs right, you are ready to leave this tent to be released into the wind, landing at just the right time, ready to lead for the public good—in your own way, with your own voice, and with your own impact.

As you walk out of this tent today, I want you to know that those of us here are not going anywhere. I also want you to know that the Nobles tent remains here for you. Always.

All of us here today will continue to stand right there behind you and beside you, cheering you on every step of the way.