Dear Graduates…here we are, the final speech.

On behalf of everyone who has known you here at LS, this gathering is a bittersweet moment, we are so happy for you and we will miss you. We have been thinking about you longer than any other class before you. We anticipated your arrival at LS since you were in elementary school. You were the BIG class headed our way. Your class has been 60 students larger than any other class your four years here. I started at LS the same time you did. So, for me AND you, “LS Normal” always included you, the super sized class. Your not being here next year will be no small adjustment.

For those of you who started here in the 9th grade, I remember seeing you for the first time in the auditorium at the opening 9th grade assembly. We were struck by how you filled the space so completely. We were also super amazed by how perfectly behaved you were. The bubble of perfection was burst three days later. When we met with you again, at the second 9th grade assembly, we found ourselves challenged to manage your newfound energy and interest in each other. Nothing atypical about that except there was just a lot of you and the same number of us.

Because you are a larger class, we were mindful to pay special attention to ensure, in fairness, that your needs were met over these past four years. It was with you in mind, especially, that we advocated for more sections to be added to the budget to lower your class size. In return, from that first day to now, it has been exciting to see how you’ve grown. Wonderful to see you blossom as individuals, to witness the emergence of what is uniquely you, especially this last school year. When I look out at you I see richness in the voices that have recently come to the fore. I wonder if you feel the same, if it is as apparent to you how you have grown?

It has been a privilege and honor for all of us these past few years working with you and now to share this special milestone. It is also exciting to understand that against the timeline of a lifetime, you have only begun to discover and demonstrate the potential of who you will become. You will discover more changes in yourself in the next few years that will surpass the growth you have just recently experienced.

No one knows exactly what you will be like in the future. Similarly, no one knows what the world of the future will be like. As you are changing, the world is changing, too. There are going to be times when you are going to be so excited by that. And there will be times when you will find change to be emotionally unsettling. Our hope is that we’ve helped prepare you academically and emotionally for whatever will come, for whatever will be so that you will be able to make the best of whatever life will present.

Among the many things one could say to you on this day about how to approach what may come, here are three:

One, what you’ve learned up to now is not going to carry you through the rest of your life. Since you and the world will continue to change, you need to keep learning your entire life not just to keep up but be able to participate, to find your path to happiness. Figuring out how you learn best is a process in of itself that changes as you change. Don’t stop; keep at it.

We know learning doesn’t just happen in school. Take time to reflect on your experiences wherever they might happen to learn about yourself, about others, about the world. Learning is not a passive endeavor. Every one of us is lucky to live where we do. Embrace the opportunity to use all the parts of your brain to its fullest capacity.

Second, always try your best to make good decisions, good choices. Choices that reflect your core values, take into account your responsibility to others, and are appropriately responsive to the moment. And, if you can, choices that will make the world better, even if only just a little bit, for someone else. Sometimes such decisions are easy to make. Sometimes they are hard to make. May you always have the courage and integrity to make the right choices even if they are hard to make.

Third, it is important that we all strive to live together in a way that leads to positive outcomes for everyone. We know it in our hearts: it is better to be at peace with one another than to be at odds. It is an ideal we should keep striving for. It can only be achieved through the cooperation of the whole, but generally requires someone to make the first gesture. Will you be that person? The first gesture isn’t always accepted. Will you be that person who will keep trying?

As you come to understand yourself and the world I hope you will come to understand more deeply your connection to the world and your place in it. And most importantly, how what happens in the world wherever it happens affects you and how you, whoever you are, have the power to affect it. Being able to live effectively together and peacefully has far reaching implications, locally and globally.

In sum, I hope that in your time at LS we have helped prepare you to take on what the world will offer and, in turn, make the world be what you think it should be. 1) Embrace lifelong learning as an active process, a necessity and a means to fulfillment – use all the parts of your brain. 2) Recognize the courage and integrity in yourself that creates the capacity to make good decisions. Aspire to make choices that will not hinder others, but help others if you can. Think for yourself, think of others. 3) Being able to live together effectively has critical implications and ultimately demands an element of kindness. Will that be you? Three things: use your head, honor your soul, and open your heart.

I hope you have felt we have believed in your ability to make a difference along the way but most important is that you bear that belief in yourself that you will make a difference. We at LS will miss you very much, our wonderful super sized class, and look forward to hearing everything about what you will do. Congratulations!

– Bella Wong, Superintendent/Principal
June 5, 2017

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Dear LS Colleagues and Families,

We had a wonderful Commencement on the field yesterday afternoon. There are so many people to thank ….

Thank you to all of our fabulous graduation student and adult speakers and performers! Thank you to all of you who helped coach and support them.

Thank you to BJ Pegram for helping me figure out the weather forecast.

Thank you to Kevin Rossley and the Building and Grounds team who did a fabulous job setting up and breaking down stage, electronics, and chairs.

Thank you to School Nurses Joan Gaumnitz and Jan Cavallo for providing ready first assistance.

Thank you to our 9th grade students who helped support the water table and pass out programs.

(Thank you to our sophomore students and families who helped with the senior barbecue last Wednesday.)

Thank you to Ginny Blake, Eleanor Burke, Sandy Crawford, Peter Elenbaas, Jason Medeiros, and Leslie Patterson for greeting our graduates before the ceremony to organize the processional.

Thank you to all staff who were able to attend the ceremony and able to participate in the welcoming ‘gauntlet’ to cheer each other and then students on their way to their seats. I hear many times that this the students’ favorite part of the ceremony.

Thank you to Tom Grandprey and your students for the pre-graduation music, and processional. I thought the clarinets sounded particularly nice during the processional! It is very hard to sound in-tune playing outdoors in that lower register!

Thank you Chuck Despotopulos and Sudbury TV for the technical support to allow us to broadcast the program across the field and live broadcast through the local cable network.

Thank you Paul Sarapas and Katelyn Dix and the students of the FORUM for the timely Graduation Issue that celebrates our graduating students.

Thank you to our volunteer golf cart drivers.

Thank you to our parents and staff advisors of the 9th Grade Class who set up the reception following the ceremony.

Thank you thank you to our parents who set up and stayed with our students through the night as a part of Jamaica Jammin’. Thank you to Building and Grounds staff who stay with them through the night and others who came to help clear and prepare after in time for a clean start to school on Monday.

Thank you to Sudbury Police for helping us to manage traffic safety.

Thank you to Donna Cakert, Laura Cole, Colette Nygren who helped organize the order of the students to match up with all of those diplomas. There were a lot of them this year! Thank you Colette for steering me back in order when I lost my place during the calling out of names!!

Thank you to lead administrator: Leslie Patterson and Class Advisors Leslie, Laura Cole, and Colette Nygren for all of your attention and work to support the Class of 2017 from grade 9 to graduation!

Thank you to Tom Danko who serves as our at-large class advisor!

Thank you thank you thank you Francy for being point person for programs, flowers, names, scheduling and everything you did to help everyone with their tasks including helping me with mine!

Finally, thank you to our graduating seniors and their families! Congratulations!