It was hard to imagine what this school year was going to look like as we prepared for the uncertainty of a safe, in-person experience through an unprecedented pandemic. Sitting here on campus in June, thinking back on the last twelve months, we are filled with pride, excitement, and admiration.
We are so proud of our students, faculty, staff, families, trustees, and friends for your determination and your commitment not just to Wayland Academy but to the sacred importance of our mission—the pursuit of knowledge and development of character. We knew that keeping our students safe and engaged in learning would be our priority and that it would be a monumental challenge. We did it.
A funny thing happened as we returned to more “normal” activities in the spring term. We realized “normal” comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Education, particularly Wayland’s hallmark brand of excellent, challenging, compassionate, character-driven education, is not easy to deliver in the best circumstances. Preparing students for college, life, and for lives of consequence might be more important now than it has ever been. We are ready to move toward our “next normal” with excitement and fervor. Wayland remains a safe, balanced community embracing a diversity of individuals, groups, and ideas. There is strength in diversity. We remain a community where all voices are heard and where the compassion, critical thinking, and civility of our students remind us that society does not have to be polarized, even when filled with multiple perspectives and opinions. We are excited for new programs, new leaders, and new developments on campus but only because we know they are built on the foundation and essence of Wayland that has always been so unique and so special.
We will be sharing more of the next normal in the months ahead, and you’ll see why we are indeed excited for Wayland’s future. Right now, we are left basking in admiration for our graduates and their families for all that they have accomplished and contributed during their time at Wayland. Throughout the year, we’ve been struck by the resilience of our seniors and their parents. Commencement was different this year, but it was in person, and it was profound. What follows is some of “the charge” I shared with the Class of 2021 on their special day. I hope you are reading this and finding some pride, admiration, and excitement yourself, and I wish you all a wonderful summer.
A portion of the head of school’s charge 2021 commencement:
Typically, the Head of School’s “charge” might draw on some sound, external wisdom, experience, or quote. This year, I would like for you to think about the experience you, yourselves, have just been through, the growth that followed, and the wisdom within because your experience is unlike the experience of just about any class that has ever come before yours. Seniors, you set an important tone at the outset of the school year. Nothing would stop us from learning, from growing, from working, or from bringing a whole lot of joy to the process.
I challenge you to carry this same spirit with you wherever you go, for the rest of your lives. Your communities and your families, and frankly, our society, need this from you. Your resilience and grit are battle-tested and proven. You will always know that you have the ability to transcend the most daunting of challenges. Your determination is rare. You do not shy away from difficult conversations; you speak your mind authentically and passionately. You accept differences of opinion with respect and civility. You love one another. You seize opportunities, and you thrive in community.
These attributes are not aspirational; you have shown us what is possible by living this way. Your charge is simple, but not easy …
Do not shy away from the next opportunity, the next community, or the next adventure. Keep Going, Keep Loving, Keep Fighting, Keep Learning, Keep Leading, and Bring all of that JOY every single day.
Congratulations to the Wayland Academy Class of 2021!