Nobles Celebrates 153rd Graduation
On May 31, Noble and Greenough School celebrated the accomplishments of the Class of 2019. As everyone gathered for the final assembly, Head of School Dr. Cathy Hall noted, “Today marks our last time in this space as it is…this space is where we begin and end our year.” The crowd cheered as a string of Class I performances wrapped with an epic delivery of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “Talk about nailing it,” said an impressed Provost Bill Bussey. Class I took their last walk through the Castle as Nobles students, many pausing to take one last “Castlegram,” fuel up on a snack for the long ceremony ahead, and adjust boutonnieres and flower crowns.
Mike Hoe, Faculty Speaker
“Don’t Be Sorry. Be Better.”
Before I get started, I’d like to apologize for any major grammatical issues that are in my speech today. My hope was that Mr. Kehlenbeck would be able to proofread this for me. If he were able to, I am certain that it would be littered with red pen corrections and comments that I know would have made this speech better. We miss you, Bill. And I hope this speech does you proud.
When this year’s senior class were freshman, “Life Tips by Mr. Hoe,” were created. For those of you who don’t know what life tips are, they’re just a list of simple, direct and truthful statements that I make to my students each year. Some classic examples are: “figure it out,” “don’t do that, it’s weird,” “cry me a river, build a little bridge, and get over it,” and “Mr. Hoe is life.” Some may argue that these sound a bit harsh and insensitive, but really, I just see it as truth telling. These life tips continued on through the next generations of Hoe Bio students with these current juniors (Guys, I’m kind of a big deal. No, but really these next couple of minutes are going to be hard for me since I have no feelings…JK LOL), sophomores (remember that Post Malone crusty life), and freshmen (Yo Hoe Bio, Let’s Kick It!). Anyhow, every year, we always joked about how I should have my own column in the Nobleman or my own Vlog, but nothing ever really panned out. Until now. So here are three of my favorite life tips.
Life Tip #1: Be More Meta.
Most of my students know that I love to be meta and that the three things that absolutely blow my mind are: the human nervous system, space, and human childbirth. Why these three things, you might ask? Well, thinking about the nervous system is essentially thinking about how we think. Thinking about space makes my head hurt. The sheer vastness of the universe is unbelievable. In fact, the average human on Earth only takes up 8.452 x 10–52% of the mass of the universe, which gives you a sense of just how small humans are in the grand scheme of things. And, lastly, I don’t know what can get any more meta than human childbirth—I mean, it’s a person growing inside another person!
However, being meta isn’t always about just thinking about the big stuff. Part of being truly meta is also maintaining a childlike innocence that enables you to still be idealistic and to notice the little things that happen each and every day. Two years ago, when my daughter, Ellie, was in Pre-K, we were coloring at the table one day. At this point, we were trying to practice staying inside the lines, but, of course, I got distracted and accidentally colored way outside the lines. Immediately, I started to apologize for my mistakes. Ellie calmly looked at me and said: “Dad, sometimes it’s okay to color outside the lines.” My first reaction was: OMG you’re the smartest, most profound child ever! But the bigger takeaway for me was noticing Ellie’s blissful innocence that made this comment so profound yet completely unintentional. At that moment, I realized that, in life, you’ll have all these moments where you don’t think they mean much, but they’re actually important opportunities to stop, and reflect, and they can help shape the way you think, the way you grow, and the way you learn. So when you have those moments, be more like Ellie Hoe.
Life Tip #2: Don’t be complacent and never settle—even if life tries to force you to settle.
Living in New England for the past 15 years has really forced me to take my own advice. The weather has made it really trying for me to do this. The other day, at a highly competitive kindergarten soccer practice, it was a balmy 45 degrees with 20 mph whipping winds. It was overcast, and the clouds were moving rapidly, so there were pockets of sunshine throughout the day. As the sun peeked out, my friend said to me: “You know, when the sun is out, it really isn’t all that horrible.” I looked at him and responded: “Since when has ‘not all that horrible’ been the ‘good’ option?” In that moment, I realized that I’ve actually been settling for this ridiculous weather for the last 15 years. Which is why I’m moving back to California.
Sometimes, however, life tries to force you to settle.
Let’s go back in time a bit. The year is 1989. The setting: Los Angeles, CA. A man whose lifelong dream it is to open a pharmacy with his best friend from pharm school sees that dream materialize. Their pharmacy: Western Pharmacy on Olympic Avenue in the heart of Koreatown. One day, after closing up shop, the man stops at a gas station to fill up before going home to his family of a wife and two kids (who are 8 and 3). That day, that particular day, however, the man never makes it home. The man in this story is my father.
Life tried to force me to settle with the fact that my dad passed away when I was 3. But, my mom wouldn’t let me. My mom would always tell me that, though we can accept the hands that are dealt to us, we don’t have to prevent them from allowing us to move forward and to grow. Even after losing my dad, my mom never settled. She went ahead and was awarded two doctoral degrees, all while raising two kids on her own and working full time. She always instilled in me the idea that we have the ability to make what we can of our lives. She also was, is, and continues to be a living, breathing example of a strong, independent, intelligent, and incredibly successful woman. She constantly reminded me that being truly kind requires intent, that being sensitive is not a weakness, and that while chivalry is, indeed, not dead, girls can be anything they damn well please. And, my wife and my daughter continue to remind me of these things each and every day (Hi, Honey—I love you). I have come to terms with the fact that my dad was taken from me way too early in my life. However, it took me a while. But once I finally did, I vowed to my family and myself that I would never let this get in the way of becoming the best son, brother, friend, colleague, husband and father that I can be. Loss, especially, during our lives can feel like it’s life trying to force you to settle. Just remember this: don’t. Learn from loss, and challenge yourself to grow from it.
Life Tip #3: Don’t be sorry. Be better.
Every year, when I say this to my classes for the first time, my students all gasp at how harsh this sounds. However, in that moment, I always ask them to think about it some more. And, naturally, they all come to terms with it. Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that we should never apologize and/or feel remorse. In fact, I think the hardest and most important skill to have in life is knowing how and when to apologize. But to be truly sorry means to be better moving forward to prevent whatever happened in the first place from ever happening again. It means getting out from behind the screen and standing up for what is right. It means speaking up when no one is watching. It’s really easy to be a hero when everyone is watching, but the true heroes are the ones who speak up and do the right thing when no one is watching.
Let’s take one more journey back in time for a bit. The year is 2008. The setting: the Castle. It was my second or third day living in the Castle and I lived on the second floor, next door to the Harringtons. I was woken up early due to the hammering, drilling and loud noises from the Castle re-roofing project, so I made myself a cup of coffee and turned on the TV. At around 9 a.m., Mark, Bo, and Mikey Harrington all ran out into the hallway with squash racquets, lacrosse sticks and other objects. Confused, I poked my head out of my door only to narrowly avoid a squash racquet that Mark tossed to me. I asked: “What is going on?” To which Mark replied: “Bat!”
At first, I thought he was referring to a baseball bat and thought we were going to go outside for some sort of athletic activity. Shortly after that, however, I heard squeaking and flapping. It then hit me—he was talking about the animal bat. First, bats shouldn’t be out during the daytime. If they are, I’m almost certain that they’re rabid. Second, bats shouldn’t be indoors. If they are, I’m almost certain that they’re rabid. Third, I don’t like bats. And fourth, I’m irrationally terrified of rabies.
Anyhow, as the Harrington Men rushed into the hallway and onto the staircase to go bat-hunting, I followed closely behind. I carefully followed their lead as we embarked on our bat-hunting journey. After a successful bat hunt, we heroically returned to our end of the Castle, high-fiving and singing songs of victory…
Actually, that was all a lie. What REALLY happened was that I silently placed the squash racquet on the ground, slammed the door shut, ran into the farthest corner of my room, and called my mom to tell her that a bat was flying around in the Castle. At first, she thought I was referring to some sort of fantasy novel. Then she told me to stop being soft and hung up.
I sat next to the door listening to the bat-hunt. Soon, I heard a whack, and a thud. I opened the door, and the Harrington Men were valiantly strolling back to their turret in the Castle. I apologized to Mark and said: “Sorry about that,” to which he laughed and replied: “Ah, don’t be sorry about it, we’ll get the next one together.”
That day, I vowed to myself that if there were ever another moment at 9 a.m. in the Castle where a random bat was flying through it and Mark, Bo and Mikey (in that order) all ran out with various bat-catching devices, that I would be on the front lines right alongside them. But oddly enough…that moment hasn’t ever come again, so I haven’t had that opportunity. Mark, I’ve tried to be better these last 11 years. I hope it’s worked.
So I was thinking about how to end this…and endings are, well, weird. Endings are hard. Endings never really feel like the end. In fact, endings, in many ways, are the start of something new…it feels so right to be here with you…wait…sorry…wrong song…Troy and Gabriela forever.
Anyhow, as I reflect back on my time at Nobles, this has been an amazing place for me and for my family. A lot of “life” has happened here and I cannot even begin to list all of the incredible things I will always associate with this special place. As such, I’m going to leave with a thank you to this community. Thank you, parents, for sending your kids here. Without them, I would have much less to be excited about each day. Thank you, colleagues and friends, for having confidence in me, pushing me to think deeper and to be better, for showing me what it means to be a role model for young people, and most importantly, for telling me when I haven’t been my best. And last, but certainly not least, students, thank you. Thank you for making me laugh, for making me cry (yes, it’s true—spoiler alert: I have feelings!), for inspiring me, for failing with grace, for making me proud, and for giving me a reason to wake up and go to school each and every day for the past 11 years. You have all pushed me to be more meta. To never be complacent and to never settle. And most importantly, to not be sorry, but to always be better. Thank you.
Max von Schroeter ’19, Student Speaker
“A Down Payment on Opportunity”
Good morning everyone! How we doing? First off, let me just say it was a tremendous honor to be asked to speak at this momentous occasion for all of us. Today we are all gathered, not only as one school but, more importantly, as one community, a community who have come together today to celebrate one thing… me. Thank you all for coming out.
Let me just start out by saying, I love Nobles. I have loved my time here. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned…you see, Nobles is a fantastic place. And, no, Nobles isn’t perfect. We’ve got problems. For example, politics create tension, tuition is too high, homework causes too much stress. I’m still single.
But in spite of all that, Nobles remains great. To even have a connection to this place, I believe, is an extreme privilege.
I mean, for Pete’s sake, it was founded by a guy named George. Think of it: George Washington, George Orwell, Curious George. It was destiny.
That said, I couldn’t begin to list all of the things that make us so fortunate to go here. I couldn’t begin to encapsulate the wonder that Nobles brings together people from such different backgrounds and gives them a chance, one darn good slingshot, into the world.
And I could never pay back Nobles for surrounding me with people like Angelina Gomes ’19 or Henry Dolgoff ’19 or Devon Minor ’19, but what I can do is utilize what Nobles has given me. I can make sure that it doesn’t go to waste.
And it is here I pause…
When trying to pick out a lesson or point to this speech, I realized that coming up with something original is about as hard as it is to fool Mr. Marchant into thinking you had a genuine reason to skip assembly.
So as I was doing some light reading, I stumbled upon Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural address… you know, as one does. And his opening line was, “No people on Earth have more cause to be thankful than ours.”
Let me say, that’s a bold statement, especially taking into account that it was written in 1904. You know how bad life was back then? You were more likely to die of tuberculosis than you were to wash your hair.
But, he went on to say, “Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and we have duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither.”
So I quickly jotted that down, because everything he said is amplified by like 10 since we go to Nobles. Few people have more cause to be thankful than us.
When we go into the world, much should be expected from us. And I don’t want to sound too pushy, but to go to a school like this and not take advantage of everything it gives you is an insult to everybody who didn’t have the opportunity we had.
I mean this. This whole thing. That piece of paper I’ll get in a few minutes (hopefully… I still got time to mess it up, I mean you gave me a microphone and a giant audience) is a certificate that says I received one of America’s best educations. I’ve got to earn that by charging straight into the world, as a burden to nobody, ready to justify my existence.
And that comes in many forms. It’s up to you to decide which to take.
You could become a carpenter, a doctor, a teacher, a social worker, a mechanic. You could start a business and give people jobs. You could innovate and come up with the next product or software that makes life easier and better so that one day, some kid will talk about 2019 as I just did about 1904.
But it’s all up to you. Nobody’s going to make it happen for you, nobody’s gonna tell you how to do it. If you think you’ll always have someone like Ms. Ramsdell to run to for help, you’re wrong. And sometimes you’ll pull through and other times you’ll fall short. But if you remember that only you can make it happen, then trust me, it will work out.
To the class of 2019, I wish us luck in the next chapter of our lives. Few people in the world are as lucky as we are.
Now let’s go out there and earn it.
Mikaela Martin ’19, Student Speaker
“Acronyms Solve Everything”
Good morning classmates, teachers, friends and family. Today is both a sad and a celebratory occasion. It is the day that we, the class of 2019, graduate from high school. Let me say that again: we are graduating from high school. The next part of our lives is completely up to us. Whether we’re going off to college or taking a gap year for service, travel, or, hey, just to chill, we make all the decisions. Yes, that can be daunting or exciting—you might not really know how to feel about it, but, regardless of how we feel, it’s happening. Now.
I doubt most of the class remember my unsuccessful run for SLC earlier this year. While I was bummed I didn’t win, my bestie did, so I lived vicariously through her. Anyway, when I ran, I used an acronym: C. A. R. L. It was made to show what I could bring to the table. C: confrontation. Me. Not at all afraid to bring a tricky issue to the table. A: advocacy. I single-handedly make up about 90% of the noise on campus. Mr. Bussey, our resident Provost with the Movost and my advisor for the past two years, can often be heard saying, “hey, Miki, say it a little louder, I don’t think they heard you in Canton.” This is all to say that I am more than willing to be the voice, the microphone, for those that need to be heard. R: representation, pretty much the last one. And L: leadership. All of the other letters were to lead up to L, building to a triumphant finish. Well, since I love acronyms and this one kinda stuck, I’ve adapted it to describe the last six years of my life.
C: community. The first time I set foot on Nobles campus, that I can remember, was my revisit day. I was a very, very tiny 12 year old on a very, very big campus and I was feeling more than a little overwhelmed. However, that day, I happened to have the best tour ever: Magdalena Blaise ’18, a former Bussey advisee. For those of you who know Magdalena, you know that she is an absolute ball of joy. I basically modeled myself after her. We used to laugh in sync. I’m not joking. She’d start laughing or sometimes I would and it was like our little antennae just connected and boom. Our laughter rose and fell at the same time, to the same pitch. I followed Magdalena around for a day and I automatically saw that Nobles could be more than just a school for me and that it was more than just a school, for her. If she could have it, why couldn’t I? I immediately fell into a sort of rhythm with the community that was Nobles, all bundled up in Pratt Middle School, laughing and answering questions in Mr. Forteith and Mr. Matlack’s EVL class while reading “Romeo and Juliet” and Mr. Matlack gave the disclaimer, “class isn’t always this racy, I swear!”, and learning French grammar and creating travel plans in Dr. Jody’s French B class. I fell in love with the community that Nobles was and the potential I saw within it, for myself. Looking back six years later, I truly had no idea how much that community would mean to me, now.
A: appreciation. Allow me to explain something about myself. Up until about last year, I didn’t really know how to express my love for those around me. I know that may sound kinda weird, but the words “I Love You” always got stuck on the tip of my tongue. I would go up to people that I missed or just wanted to be with and express my love in one simple gesture: a karate chop to the throat. For years, I terrorized the halls of Shattuck, lunging out of corners and doorways to throw the side of my hand into someone’s trachea. A few of my most popular victims: Cyan Jean, Henry Dolgoff, Brynn O’Connor, Laurel Alpaugh, Matt Cullinane, and Julia Lyne, [all ’19]. Ask them how their throats are doing. I promise you, none of them will ever be the same and to y’all and anyone else who was unfortunate enough to fall victim to my teensy little hands: I’m sorry. What I really meant to say was: “Hey, you look great today!” Or “Wow, the weekend was so long and I missed you so much!” Or “Give me the attention I so desperately crave!” Interpretations vary. I wish, now, more than ever, that I had just said those things. I sometimes get so choked up and attacked by emotion from within that I freeze and just do something. I remember, one day on my sophomore China trip, all of the kids on the trip were just hanging out in a room at the school that we were at and it was like I just zoomed out. My heart started to pump super, super fast and I realized, vaguely, that I was having a panic attack, my first one in a long time. I told my friend that I was panicking and she asked me why. Tears were running down my face and I must have looked a complete wreck, but I just stuttered out: “I love you guys so much. I can’t explain it, but I’m very happy and I love you and I don’t know why I’m crying I’m happy really I am but I love you so much and I don’t really know how to say it” but I was saying it. Nobles has gifted me with people and relationships that have helped shape me into who I am and taught me the value of gratitude.
Moving on to R: respect. One of Nobles’ main pillars is respect. Respect for others and respect for yourself. Someone bumps into you or says something you don’t agree with or you’re just having a bad day and one little thing pushes you over the edge and, suddenly, you just wanna come at everyone. But we, humans being the intricate, complicated organisms that we are, were gifted with self-restraint. Nobles has taught me how to deal with conflict in a respectful way. My dad always says: “There is a time and place for everything.” There is a time to scream and yell and vent (for me, that’s usually in my room with my most favorite person in the universe, my little sister, Olivia ’21), but there is also a time to be confrontational, but poised, especially in a classroom or school setting. Nobles has taught me to respect myself in my actions and thoughts, because sometimes, only some of the time, high schoolers can be rather hard on themselves. Nobles has taught me to carry myself in a way that demands respect from others. Nobles has taught me to respect others, because you have no idea what anyone is going through or fighting, either inside or outside of themselves or the school environment. There is no place at Nobles for disrespect and there is always space for a middle ground. I carry these lessons with me as I leave Nobles and go into the real world, where not everyone has been taught these same values and that will demand a great deal patience from me.
The last letter is L: love. Like I said previously in A, if y’all remember, I am just now learning how to tell people I love them. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. Not in the way when you’re, like, ending a phone call with customer service or leaving a classroom and you let slip a quick, “Bye, love you,” only to hang up the phone call or sprint out of the room to contemplate your complete idiocy, but in the way that you start to notice the little things that people do that kinda grab your heart and force it to beat a little harder. As cliché as it sounds, it’s the little things. Maya Rodriguez ’19 does this thing with her eyes (don’t ask her to show it to you because she definitely will not) and it makes me cry of laughter every time. Since seventh grade, those eyes have been one of the only constants in my life. Hilarious. And based on the situation, the meaning of the eyes changes. It’s hysterical. I love her and her eyes. Madeleine Charity ’19 also has a unique way of greeting me. It’s basically a bunch of uncoordinated flops around the general area until she lands physically on top of me. Like on me. Somehow, I manage to catch her long, lanky arms and legs every time. There will never be a time I don’t catch you, Maddy. I love her and her clumsiness. It’s the little things. In South Africa, I caught a fever on the most dangerous hike I’ve ever done and ever will do, but our location was so remote, there was nothing we could do about it. I missed my mom and her comfort and, once again, broke down. Unfortunately, I think all of this might have been caught on camera. Jeremy [Rodriguez ’21] has Mr. Heider’s 360 GoPro and I saw it aimed at me and tried to force a smile while crying and it was disgusting. Mr. Heider, please delete that video. Still, I never knew how much those moments with my mom would mean to me when I wasn’t with her. I love you, Mummy. These are the things that I will hold in my heart while I’m in chilly, wishy washy Cambridge, while my mom is working at her job in Somerville, while Maya’s in New York, my second favorite place to live, and while Madeleine is all the way across the country in sunny, beautiful California. We must treasure the people we love and the things that they do that we love because there will come a time when we yearn for the comfort that their presence and their little idiosyncrasies provide, but they will not be there. I am learning, step by step, to become conscious of the people I love and the things that I love, so that, when I am not so near them, I will always be able to draw off of their warmth. When I am away from Nobles, I will recall all of the happiness and support and tears and laughs and smiles and feelings that surrounded me for six years and think fondly back on my time here, because I didn’t always do that. I went day to day within my community not appreciating the respect and joy and love that I was provided with every day without ever having to ask for a drop of any of it.
My acronym is CARL: Community Appreciation Respect Love and I hope that, if there is anyone out there struggling to stay in touch with this place or anything they hold dear, that they remember what these words mean and, when it’s hard to orient the right words to describe how you feel, acronyms solve everything.
Dr. Catherine J. Hall, Head of School
This day brings all of us at Nobles enormous pride and joy, as we come together to celebrate our remarkably talented students. Today is also very bittersweet, as we face great sadness in anticipating that they are now leaving our hallways, classrooms, fields and stages to go on to lead the next exciting phase of their lives. Eager to hear updates from their journey, and excited to welcome them back when they visit, we also miss them already and their absence will be felt acutely at Nobles next fall.
As graduation day drew closer, I found myself reminded of an epiphany I had early on as a parent. With possibly the most colicky baby in the history of time, I will admit those early months of parenting were more than a bit sleep deprived and are definitely a bit blurry. That said, I assure you my epiphany is grounded in a few moments of clarity!
As a new parent with my oldest son, I remember being hit with all of the normal worries new parents have. My baby felt so fragile, small enough as a newborn to lie curled up in the crook of my arm. He was so dependent on my good choices and my ability to keep him safe amidst what felt like an endless list of risks and dangers facing his small self. The weight of that responsibility felt heavy and the need to protect him so very strong.
It felt wise and practical initially to get him through this “danger patch” by making things safer for him, going to any length to keep him out of harm’s way. I believed at the time that good parents just did that, that you do what you can to avoid hurt for your child.
I went about seeking ways to remove any possible risk and to make things easier for him to help him get to the next stage of life, which would surely be safer for him, and it just must be easier and less stressful for me.
I remember the moment when it hit me, when I suddenly realized what every seasoned parent knows to be the truth of parenting, that it only gets harder as they get older, that your fears and worries as a parent only grow deeper and more complex as your child grows, that the less your children’s safety and security are in your direct control, the less you can protect them from the inevitabilities of life.
When my son got to that next stage, it was, of course, only that much harder to keep him safe, to remove the obstacles in his way, or to ensure he did not fail or fall. I realized quickly that I had to trust in his own ability to make good choices, and to have the tools to recover when he did not. I had to believe that the foundation I had laid would enable him to thrive—and fail—on his own. I then had a second epiphany.
I realized that it is not only impossible for me to protect him from the inevitable obstacles and failures he would face, but it is essential and good for him that he face them as he grows.
Reflecting on these parenting epiphanies recently as I experience this roller coaster of emotion we are all feeling about our graduating seniors, I realize that, while you are here at Nobles, there is so much we can control for you, so much support, advice, direction, counseling, friendship, trust and community we can give you.
When I think about the obstacles and challenges you face throughout your time here, some of which I know cause stress, worry or hurt in the moment, I also realize how much we can shield you from failure if we want, how much we can reduce stress by pulling off on expectations, how easily we can fix problems for you when they arise if you simply ask.
But just as I realized as a parent that I am not helping my son to keep him from struggling, I know that same thing is true as an educator. In fact, that struggle can and should be part of the learning journey. It is enormously important for you to have faced and managed those challenges, to have experienced failure and to know you are more than fine on the other side, to hit moments of stress or sadness and to do the work to find your way to a better place. It is an even greater gift to have faced those moments and experiences here at Nobles, surrounded by the intricate web of adults who believe in you deeply and who will go to the mat to support you.
When done well and right, rigor and wellness are actually mutually reinforcing in ways that deepen your understanding of who you are and what you can be, ideals that can equip you with a toolkit that will enable you to thrive for decades to come.
I refuse to accept the notion that rigor is the same as load or volume, that rigor is necessarily a bad thing that is at odds with student wellness. In fact, I believe the way for each of you to thrive is for us to elevate and deepen notions of rigor. Faced with a false dichotomy between rigor or wellness, I choose both!
At Nobles, we seek “smart rigor,” and believe our aspirational and highly talented students—that is all of you, by the way—can be deeply challenged, work incredibly hard, and emerge truly inspired. We believe you seek and need smart rigor, both to be prepared for the challenging learning that awaits you, and to have the tools and skills to know how to successfully navigate deeply complex learning environments.
We also know that you are going to have moments after you leave Nobles when you face obstacles that seem insurmountable, when you face failure that seems dire, when you experience serious self-doubt. In those moments, when you do not have your Nobles teacher, advisor or coach down the hall to reassure you or to lend immediate advice or support, we want you to know that you will be ok, that we have equipped you with an essential toolkit in your years at Nobles, one that will enable you to ensure you thrive for many, many decades to come.
We trust and believe that you have been given those skills and tools by Nobles to face any challenge, obstacle or burden you face, whether it is next week or in a few decades.
We also trust and believe that you are smart enough, strong enough, kind enough, and confident enough to face any crisis with wisdom, any failure with grace, and any mistake with humility.
Lastly, we trust and believe that, while we may not be just down the hallway anymore, we are always here. We are always, always here. We welcome your call, whether to share a random update, to give us an opportunity to cheer you on, or to lend a hand or an ear.
We believe in you enormously, and your success gives us great pride and tremendous inspiration for the work we dedicate our lives to doing each and every day.
You have already made us so outrageously proud, and we know we have only seen the beginning of what you can do.
We realize as you leave this tent today, as you now leave the crook of our arm, that our work on Nobles’ campus is done. While that may be true, what gives me great hope and joy is that our tremendous faith in you, and in all that you will be, is equally matched by a fierce devotion to you that does not end when you leave our campus. As you leave here today to go on to change the world, it gives us great joy to know that our lifelong relationship with you has only just begun.
Awards and Prizes
Alumni Prize (for excellence in history)
Bradley D. Nash 1919 Medal (for executive ability)
Bramhall-Bridge Purchase Prize in Art
Delaney Callaghan, Annie Ellison, Brynn O’Connor
Class of ’98 Award (given, by the vote of the graduating class)
Computer Science Award
Davis Cup (for sportsmanship)
Alex Poole and John Murray
Edward L. Bond Jr. Prize (for improvement in scholarship)
Edward Stone Gleason Award (for academic excellence)
Epes Sargent Dixwell Medal (for excellence in Latin)
G. L. Bridge Award (for excellence in ceramics)
Grandin Wise Award (for excellence in community service)
Greenough Prize (for excellence in mathematics)
Andrew Johnson and Alexandra Weinsten
Head of School’s Prize (formerly headmaster’s prize)
Lev Sandler and Madeleine Charity
Little Memorial Essay Awards
Creative: Lindsey Qian
Literary Analysis: Amar Scherzer
Miller Medal (excellence in scholarship and athletics)
Nathaniel C. Nash Prize (for journalism)
The Nobles Dance Prize
Elizabeth Kantrowitz, Mikaela Martin, Lucy Morrison
Nobles Shield (for most respected female and male athlete)
Aislinn McCarthy and Will Zink
Public Speaking Award
Reginald Davidson Music Award
Robert J. Agostini Award (for athletic contribution as a non-competitor)
Russell B. Stearns Achievement Award
Maya Principe and Maya Rodriguez
Scudder Medal (for excellence in fine arts)
Emily St. John
Sheldon Prize (for excellence in science)
Shillito Cup (for excellence in photography)
Sidney L. Eaton Prize (for excellence in performing arts)
All Senior Participants of the Nobles Theatre Collective
Thomas S. Resor Coaching Excellence Award
Trustees’ Prize for Class I
Vernon L. Greene Prize for Faculty Excellence
Meghan Pauly (excellence in French)
Jackson Smith (excellence in Mandarin)
Julia Lyne (excellence in Spanish)
Wiswell Prize (for excellence in English)
The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence
The Vernon L. Greene Award For Faculty Excellence was established in 1982 by David Arnold of the Class of 1940 in honor of Vernon Greene who, for many years and many people, embodied faculty excellence. The award is presented annually to a member of this faculty who encourages and nurtures academic excellence within the school, whose pedagogy is distinguished and whose commitment to students is thorough.
I would like to call up this year’s recipient to join me as I share some of the many reasons why he has earned this award. The 2019 Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence goes to:
Whether in his role as teacher, coach, advisor, colleague, mentor, or, like on this day, as the parent of a graduating senior, Chris brings tremendous professionalism, wisdom, passion and care to Nobles each and every day. Demonstrating his commitment to his craft, his students, and his Nobles community in all that he does, Chris has earned depths of respect and affection from the thousands of students and colleagues who have been fortunate enough to find themselves in his presence. Extraordinarily and uniquely talented in working with middle school students, his passion for his students, and his joy for his work, shine through so vividly.
Often the first person thought of at Nobles to take on any needed task, he is also the first to offer to help. If he knows he can make a meaningful difference for Nobles, a student, or a colleague, he says yes, and he follows through on that commitment over and over and over again, with grace, humility, kindness and an incredibly high quality of work. Chris applies the same high bar he has for his students to his own work, modeling what hard work and tenacity look like.
To step into Chris’ middle school science classroom is to witness students engaged in rich, thoughtful, highly organized learning, delving meaningfully into his science curriculum, but also delving into broader skills and larger life lessons. Chris helps our students learn how to learn, always reminding them to listen first, then ask questions. Constantly focused on the whole student, his impact is also wholistic. His high expectations for his students are matched by his belief in them and his commitment to supporting them in any way he can.
John Gifford comments, “Chris teaches with equal impact both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. In doing so, he builds multifaceted relationships with young people and then leverages those relationships to spur action. He models gracious behavior and holds his players and students accountable to be good citizens and respectful peers.”
Chris’ impact is not only felt in his own classroom. Having served as a mentor teacher to countless new Nobles faculty members, Chris has dedicated his time and talent to the service of his peers, helping new faculty to become acclimated to the pace of Nobles and helping so many teachers to thrive in our community.
Chris speaks confidently, eloquently and convincingly in conversations about school mission, policies and practices, serving as an incredibly wise and balanced voice in the room.
One of Chris’ colleagues commented, “When I think of Chris, I see a person who is 100% committed to Nobles, as a teacher, coach and mentor. He is thoughtful about students, clearly has their best interests at heart and, most importantly, shows flexibility in his thinking. He is never afraid to speak up when he feels it is in the best interest of the student, even when others may disagree.”
We have been so fortunate to have Chris Averill on our faculty for the last 20 years. I am honored today to present him with the Vernon L. Greene award for Faculty Excellence.