The morning of Saturday, June 8 marked the third year that Derryfield has held commencement under a massive outdoor tent, but it was the first year that the ceremony was not held on the main campus. With the new Athletics and Wellness Center taking shape behind the Upper School, the 64 graduates were bused to the Upper Fields where they marched down the hill to take their seats beneath the tent on the soccer pitch.
After Dr. Carter opened the ceremony with a few humorous anecdotes about the Class of 2019, Emmah Nolan took the stage as the first student speaker to deliver the welcome address. She recalled her class’s freshman retreat, during which both new and returning students pulled tables together so that they could all eat lunch as a group. “Organically, the sixty-or-so of us decided that we didn’t want to divide into cliques, and that we didn’t want anyone to be left out,” she said, adding that the spirit of welcoming continued throughout their time at Derryfield. “We welcome people to be themselves, we welcome new members to the community, and we even welcome new ideas.”
The thread of inclusivity and community carried through the rest of the morning’s speeches. Ian Davis followed with a moment of gratitude, reflecting on the hectic college process and emphasizing the true partnership between Derryfield faculty and students that helped him get through it. “This communication and cooperation has been a constant part of my class’s experience over the past four years,” he said.
Emanne Khan delivered the commencement address, comparing the Class of 2019 to author Ta-Nehisi Coates’s concept of “The Mecca.” “We fostered an environment in which we could each voice our opinions and pursue what we love without fear of losing our standing as members of a larger group,” she said. “We were united under the ethos of The Mecca: a closely united community of individuals each striving to become our most fulfilled selves.”
History teacher Kate DiTullio was chosen by the students to give the faculty address. She described a childhood trip to Mount Washington with her father that quickly went awry. However, when the clouds passed and the summit was once again visible, she remembered experiencing a moment of profound clarity and direction. Ms. DiTullio urged the graduates to allow the values that they hold dear to guide them with a similar sense of purpose.
After each of the 64 graduates received their diplomas, Max Karpawich ended the ceremony with the farewell address. He imagined what it might look like to be trapped in a “A Derryfield,” a universe in which everyone is extremely supportive and passionate. “We might have written Chapter One,” he said. “But as we, the Class of 2019, continue to write our story in the next chapters of our lives, these Derryfield moments will be there to remind us of the community… the humanity… the potential that Derryfield has bestowed within us today.”