On June 3, Concord Academy honored the class of 2022 in the Academy Garden, celebrating the accomplishments and promise of the newest members of CA’s alumnae/i community. A damp morning didn’t subdue the spirits of the 102 members of Concord Academy’s 98th graduating class, who processed down to the Senior Steps and sang their class song, “22,” with heart.
Welcoming parents, friends, and family of the graduates, Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65, president of CA’s Board of Trustees, celebrated the class of 2022 for its “flexibility, adaptability, and resilience.” She reflected on changes in traditions at CA over time, particularly in chapels. Since she didn’t have an opportunity to give “senior advice” in her own chapel in 1965, she offered some on this occasion. Shutzer advised this class, among other things, to be open to change, work hard to keep old friends, and to “look for balance and authenticity” in how they view life.
Interim Head of School Sarah Yeh P’24 reflected on the goals the class of 2022 had set last spring at its junior leadership retreat: to uphold CA’s distinct culture while forging new paths and to become role models for younger students. “You focused not on what you had lost or what you needed but on what they needed, and on what you could do for them,” Yeh said. “You have more than followed through on these goals—you have been leaders in every way imaginable, every step of the way this year.”
Student Head of School Hannah Wixom ’22 urged her classmates to continue to learn. “My biggest wish is that we continue our commitment to each other and this community by making a difference in the world,” she said. “To be empathetic citizens, we need to understand the perspectives and the histories that have led to our current systems. Then we can transform education into purposeful and sustainable change.” Wixom also recognized departing faculty and staff and the teachers celebrating milestones of service to CA—20 years for Mike Bouzan and Ben Stumpf ’88, and 25 for Ray Taranto—and retirements: Cynthia Katz after 35 years and Linda Hossfeld after 47.
Introducing the 2022 Commencement speaker, Trelane Clark ’92, P’22, senior class president Emmy McCormack ’22 noted that she shares the values her class holds dear. “For the past four years, the class of 2022 has always demonstrated resilience, leadership, and genuine kindness on a daily basis,” McCormack said, “and it is only fitting that our Commencement speaker for this year holds these same values.”
Gratitude, Grace, and Greatness: Remarks by Trelane Clark ’92, P’22
Clark, a longtime educator and now principal at Edgar A. Hooks Elementary School in Chelsea, Mass., delivered the 2022 Commencement address with energy and style. She encouraged the graduating class to embrace all of the opportunities life offers, even the difficult ones and especially at times of transition and change. “You now have been given the chance to reimagine a whole new existence and significance for living, with all that CA has given you,” she told them.
Addressing the challenges of hatred, violence, and illness that confront us every day, Clark counseled gratitude. “Even with the darkness of this world, I remain in awe that we are given the opportunity to live,” she said. “We can choose to shape it in ways that serve our highest and best selves, and in service to one another. Right now is the best moment to be alive.” She credited author Maya Angelou with giving her the perspective to craft her own personal mission: to inspire educators to teach from the heart, model resilience, lead with integrity, value relationships, and ensure equity for students, families, and educators. For Clark, “thriving” means living with spirit, heart, and mind in alignment.
Clark gave three pieces of advice to the class of 2022. First, she said, “Practice gratitude.” She used the verb deliberately, acknowledging that feeling grateful is a choice to be made again and again, regardless of circumstances. “Gratitude is an action that, done regularly, can transform your outlook on life and direct your path toward your greatest potential,” Clark said.
She told a story about a severe car accident she was involved in last year, after another driver had run a red light. Clark’s car flipped over three times, landing on its roof. She and her cousin, who was in the passenger seat, managed to climb to safety with the help of emergency medical assistance. Then, in the small local hospital where they were waiting for medical treatment, they met the driver, who, recognizing the harm she had caused, apologized. Clark described how, somehow even in that moment, she knew that she had to release her anger and resentment. She advised the graduates to give grace, both to themselves and to others, and “for everything, from the smallest to the biggest things.” She continued, “Grade is reciprocal. When you receive it, it is best to give it back in order to keep the cycle flowing.”
Pay attention to every moment and seek to uncover what each has to teach you about yourself and the people around you.”
Trelane Clark ’92, P’22
Clark also invited the members of the class of 2022 to recognize and value their own greatness, to decide for themselves what to take from the best wishes and support of families, teachers, mentors, and friends. “Whatever you have come to know about yourself, whatever you have chosen to cultivate in your world, whichever cause has become your passion, recognize that those characteristics and desires belong to you and you alone,” she said. “You cannot, and you should not, live your life to fulfill the hopes and dreams of anyone else but you.”
Acknowledging that “When you live like this, you don’t need to wait for someone to tell you that you are great,” she said. “You don’t need to wait for the awards and accolades. You are free and you are enough.”
She cautioned the graduates not to interpret greatness through the lens of individualism, encouraging them instead to “value the greatness of collectivism.” Choosing to live and engage in community, she continued, we learn and celebrate our differences. “When we see others’ humanity, it makes it more difficult to act in ways that diminish or seek to harm others,” Clark said. “We can tear down policies and structures that are designed to attack, minimize, or render invisible the humanity of others. The power in your greatness is inextricably tied to how you elevate the humanity of other people.”
Clark’s advice was nothing short of a full-hearted embrace of life and all it has to teach us. “Pay attention to every moment and seek to uncover what each has to teach you about yourself and the people around you,” she said. In any of those moments, we might find gratitude, grace, and greatness converging in plain sight.
The ceremony included music from some of CA’s chamber musicians and CA Chorus. And as per Concord Academy’s tradition, diplomas were presented in random order, with the final recipient also getting the coveted “Commencement Sock.” After the recessional, faculty and staff lined up along to offer parting wishes to CA’s new graduates. The sun was shining by the time attendees gathered for a reception on the quad, and families lingered on campus, making the most of the moment.
Congratulations, CA class of 2022!
The evening prior to Commencement, seniors celebrated with their families and CA faculty and staff at the annual Baccalaureate Performance. View a gallery of images from the event.
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