June 8, 2017 Hope Scibal

An Open Letter to the Class of 2017

A departing speech by Dr. Work at the close of the Graduation ceremony on Friday, June 2nd.

Dear Class of 2017,

The year has flown by, and here we are again with honeysuckle perfuming the air, pink roses cascading over hedges, the first hay bales standing in the fields, and for the first time at Grymes, a brilliant field of summer coreopsis that has made the yellow brick road truly golden this year.  And here you are, teetering on the brink of adulthood, ready to launch to new schools, new adventures, and new chapters in the journeys that many of you began here ten years ago.  It is time to say goodbye.

First of all, embrace your own uniqueness and make it work for you.  

What advice can we give you as you prepare to leave?  Your own speeches capture the essence of who each of you are, and offer wonderful advice in the process.  So as you prepare to leave us and continue on your journeys, take with you the wisdom of your classmates.  First of all, embrace your own uniqueness and make it work for you. Lily’s world is fired by her imagination so that, even left in a room with nothing to do, she would be perfectly satisfied with her thoughts.  Perhaps she will become a writer.  Neil, our fisherman, reminds us that when you spend time alone, you think and evolve.  Neil’s thoughts inspire him to be a steward of the land and water.  Jonah, whose spiritual home is the woods, finds that when he strips away the comforts and distractions of civilization, he has time to reflect and make sense of all the chatter in his head.  Sam, who also loves nature, urges us to find satisfaction in the difficult challenges we face.  Leave yourselves time to think, to be quiet, and to sort through your thoughts.  Always take time to think and listen to the silences, they tell us!

Take time to listen to those around you and learn from them.

Like Matthew and Andrea, take time to listen to those around you and learn from them.  Matthew has discovered his capacity for empathy and caring listening to his mother’s beauty salon clients.  He urges us to listen, observe, and learn.  Andrea, who loves to pretend, uses her special world of character development and improvisation to develop empathy and compassion for others – invaluable skills as you try to make the world a better place. Tommy, Christopher, Ben and Natasha urge you to find your passion, do what you love, and love what you do.  Tommy, who is passionate about sports, tells us that the biggest lesson is that whether it is sports or reading, you need to find your passion and jump in with both feet.  “Doing what you love makes you happy!” Christopher finds the joy of teamwork, persistence, and a positive attitude through sports.  He has also learned to make both success and failure work for him. He urges us to apply these skills and qualities in all facets of life, not just on the playing fields. Ben encourages us to stay healthy and fit through sports, and our equestrian, Natasha, reminds us that whenever we fall off, we just have to get back on and try again!

So how do you travel that road to adulthood? Ginger reminds us that growing up is the time to make mistakes, to try on different hats, and explore different paths.  It is also a time to savor each moment.  Ania wisely urges us to shape our path as we want it to be. Hold on to your sense of fun and the joy of childhood as you take on the responsibilities of adulthood. Milo knows that change is often hard to accept, but that you must keep an open mind to keep moving forward.  Matthias has set us all a brave example by travelling far away from his home in Austria and quickly making himself loved and admired by his new classmates.  Be brave, like Matthias!  And Gwynn warns us not to expect perfection, because perfectionism is a heavy weight that will hold you down and prevent you from moving ahead and fulfilling your potential.  Most of all, Noelle and Judson remind us to hold our families close.  Noelle, the youngest of five, knows how lucky she is to have a family and that it is a gift to have grown up in a happy, bustling family.  Judson, who sings the praises of his tiger mom and his witty dad, knows that their lessons of perseverance, determination, flexibility and humor will always lift him up.

Take with you and hold close fond memories of friends and teachers. Hold fast to our values of Respect, Responsibility, Kindness and Honor.

You have accomplished much in your years here at Grymes, growing and learning together.  You have become writers and thinkers, actors and musicians, artists and athletes.  It has not always been easy.  The road has been challenging at times as you have learned lessons of integrity, kindness, and friendship.  You have built a firm foundation, and we will watch with wonder and appreciation as you now go on to high school and college.  Take with you and hold close fond memories of friends and teachers.  Hold fast to our values of Respect, Responsibility, Kindness and Honor.  May your journeys be filled with joy, wonder, laughter, learning, adventure, and loving friends and family!  We will miss you.  Godspeed, and don’t forget to come back often to visit!

Fondly,

 

 

Penny Work
Head of School