Every BB&N graduation is a celebratory event, but none was possibly more jubilant than the one held for the Class of 2021 on June 11 on Nichols Field at the Upper School campus. Only a few months ago it was unclear whether an in-person graduation was even feasible, but with many COVID restrictions for Massachusetts lifted, the graduation ceremony took place “in real life,” as students often like to say. The temperate, sunny day could not have been more perfect, or appreciated, by those in attendance.
President of the graduating class, Eric Palace ’21, began the ceremony with a poem, as is the tradition. Senior Class Speaker and BB&N Lifer Nikhil Datta ’21 walked up to the podium next to address the 133 members of the Class of 2021, their families, and faculty and staff. Datta reminisced about BB&N traditions such as hiking Mount Monadnock during Bivouac and the sophomore history paper. His address focused on the strong friendships among the Class of 2021. “Just because we are leaving our schools’ campus for the first time as alums today, does not mean we will lose our deep-seated bonds,” Datta said, “To me, BB&N has not just been an educational institution, but a place where I have been given the opportunity to meet the most kind, thoughtful, and impressive people.”
Another graduation tradition is to have a parent or guardian of a senior speak. Daniel Gross-Loh ’21 introduced his mother, writer Christine Gross-Loh, noting how he admires that she has always balanced her successful career with being a wonderful mother. It would be impossible to give a key-note address without considering the impact of COVID on the graduating class. Gross-Loh looked to pandemics throughout history and revolutionary advances which often resulted. She explained that the revolution she sees now is “a revolution of kindness.” She continued, “I’ve seen how your generation cares about each other and the rights of the disenfranchised, the lost, and the voiceless. What I’ve seen in you gives me hope that the new normal that replaces our pre-COVID world has every chance of seeing humanity, justice, and kindness take their proper place.”
After a musical interlude by the Senior Spring Quartet, Head of School Dr. Jennifer Price thanked parents, grandparents, siblings, and guardians for supporting their children through a challenging time, and faculty/staff for “doing whatever it took to provide a BB&N caliber education for our students this year.”
Price also looked to history and compared Generation Z to the Greatest Generation, citing the cyclical nature of generations. Like Gross-Loh, she commented on what the Greatest Generation achieved after living through challenges such as World War II, and shared her aspirations for the Class of 2021 as part of Gen Z. “My hope is that you engage in a principled manner as you leave BB&N and that your generation will be seen as the modern-day Greatest Generation, not because of what we lived through, but because of what you did as a result.”
A final musical interlude by the Jazz Band and the conferring of diplomas concluded the ceremony. The Class of 2021 triumphantly processed by their cheering supporters, capping off a joyous occasion that will be long remembered.
Click here for a photo gallery from the graduation.