Greenhill’s graduation ceremony didn’t go exactly as originally planned, but then again, maybe that was apropos of a year and a half where nothing really went as originally envisioned by the class of 2021.
Commencement exercises were first planned for noon on May 24 at Brinkmann Field, but when inclement weather hit, it was moved indoors to Phillips Family Gymnasium.
“These years of work and heartache and toil and sweat and late nights and stress – and friendship and support and joy and the amazing things that surprised you – all of it was preparing you for this moment. To go grab your future,” said Head of School Lee Hark. “Our motto says it all: Per aspera, ad astra. Through hardships, to the stars.
“You have every reason to be excited. Being an adult is wonderful. It’s a lot of fun. And this troubled world you’re about to inherit is wonderful, too,” he continued. “And it is desperate for people who pursue excellence, and who lead with integrity, courage, and compassion.”
Trevor Worcester, Greenhill Head of Upper School, introduced the graduating class before the Greenhill Precussion Ensemble, featuring senior Rakesh Venkat, performed.
“In Korea, there is a word called jeong, which is not directly translatable to English but my interpretation of it is a feeling of love we have towards someone who is special to us and our desire to give to them – it’s a uniquely Korean way of feeling,” said Sheena Kwon in the first senior address. “At Greenhill, we are tied together by this concept of jeong, this want to support our peers, and by the knowledge that we will cheer each other on no matter where we are. It’s our love for Greenhill and connections with each other that creates jeong. This concept is a foundational part of my Greenhill experience.”
“Our character, having been forged in fire like steel, will come out stronger than before,” said Clarissa Smith in the second senior address. “I challenge us all to have confidence in the ability of our future selves. If we have made it this far, there is so much more we are prepared to do. There is a world waiting for us, our minds, our voices, and our impact… Our perseverance through difficult circumstances can and should be used as tools for improving our futures.”
The class included valedictorian Anagha V. Gouru, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania next year, and co-salutatorians Preston A. Gerard and Jung Min Yean, who will attend Duke University and Northwestern University, respectively.