The Wellington School’s 30th commencement exercises lauded the many strengths and accomplishments of the Class of 2018.
Head of School Robert Brisk P ‘13 ‘15 congratulated the parents of the graduates. “You made it! You committed your time and resources to ensure that your child would have the best education possible. You chose a place that would engage your sons and daughters’ imaginations, teach them important skills, and awaken their sense of excitement and beauty in the world.”
The Class of 2018 includes 24 Lifers, students who have attended Wellington since prekindergarten, kindergarten, of 1st grade. They were given blue honor cords to honor their commitment to our school.
Senior Class President Christina Armeni ‘18 presented the class gift. Speaking of her classmates’ drive to achieve whatever they set their minds to, Armeni also wanted to commend them on their kindness and generosity. They were determined to give back to the community that gave them so much by making donations to the Wellington Theatre Department and Student Life. “A program full of talent and possibility,” Armeni said, “the theatre department brings creativity and uniqueness to our community and we wish to further that. Our gift, no matter the size, serves to recognize and support the arts. Our gift to student life will help to give the upper school students we are leaving behind the special moments and bonding experiences we had as a class this year.”
Alumni Relations & Affinity Officer Holden Richards offered advice from Wellington alumni to help the new graduates going into their first year of college. Words of wisdom included staying hungry while constantly working towards a dream, but also making sure to enjoy the little things in life along the way. Alumni also encouraged the class to call their parents or text to let them know all their choice to send a child to Wellington was the right one.
The yearbook dedication was provided by co-editors Becky Carr ‘18 and Sydney Wurapa ‘18 and given to Upper School History teacher Sara Brdar P ‘02 ‘03 “as an outspoken mentor who encourages students to challenge what they ‘know’…Through her time at Wellington, she has touched the lives of both students and faculty members. We are all truly blessed to have met someone so loving, insightful, and authentic.”
Class speaker Brad Biehl ‘18 began his address by calculating the amount of time he and classmates had spent at school over the years, nearly 7 million minutes for some. Biehl emphasized the enormous impact Wellington has had on each of their lives. “If you think about it, we spend so much time in this place, for the purpose of going beyond it. Our school’s greatest strength is that it knows that it is not the destination. Wellington gives students autonomy in learning, equips them us with the ability to question, and most importantly, gives us the tools to turn our wildest dreams and fantasies into attainable, real goals. See, that really is the greatest part of this place; the way in which it uses those precious minutes with us to make the minute beyond better for all.”
Biehl movingly named each of his classmates and a quality he found admirable in them before asking everyone to choose optimism in life because pessimism is self-defeating. “With this idea in mind,” he said, “let’s all go and live our truth, take it and run, and never stop. What’s the alternative? These minutes that we all have left in life, however long they may be, we must use to GO DO.”
David Jacques ‘18 and Eric Jacques ‘18 were the 2018 Music Award Winners and beautifully performed “Sonata” by GP Telemann on the viola and violin.
You will face real challenges without an easy shortcut. Situations where Alexa is simply no help. The good news, whether you realize it or not, is our education model is built to prepare you for those unanticipated challenges. You are ready. We have given you ownership and autonomy to dive deep. We have asked you to assess what you truly value, to use your voice to lead others, and navigate new problems that you did not anticipate.” – Dr. Jeff Terwin, assistant head of school and head of upper school
Speaking of his own time with the class, Assistant Head of School and Head of Upper School Dr. Jeff Terwin was impressed with their ability to work together in spite of their individual differences. “As a group, you have been one of the most productive cohorts we have seen. Your leadership kept the upper school connected while you pulled together remarkable achievements in academics, athletics, and the arts. It is now time to take those talents to new settings. You will make your mark on this world, I have no doubt.
“As you move from here, however, you will be challenged in new and difficult ways. Complications and opposition are a reality of the world. Not everything will be easy. You will face real challenges without an easy shortcut. Situations where Alexa is simply no help. The good news, whether you realize it or not, is our education model is built to prepare you for those unanticipated challenges. You are ready. We have given you ownership and autonomy to dive deep. We have asked you to assess what you truly value, to use your voice to lead others, and navigate new problems that you did not anticipate.”
Wellington Board Chair Ted Manley P ‘21 ‘24 expressed his personal aspiration for the Class of 2018 to find a place for creativity somewhere in their lives. Recounting a time in college when he pursued a newly discovered passion for dance and the tremendous impact it had on his life even after choosing to follow a wildly different career path, Manley encouraged graduates to be open to similar moments. “The experience of taking something out of my imagination and turning it into a finished production in front of a live audience was exhilarating and it’s influenced my careers in law and business. So I hope that each of you might find a mini-career, or a career, a detour, an avocation, something that will allow you to continue to evolve the creative faculties you’ve awakened here at Wellington.”
Bestowed with the full faith and confidence of their parents, teachers, and members of the community, the Wellington Class of 2018 is now ready and eager to use their many talents and abilities to achieve and lead in the world.