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Seniors and juniors attend 2017 Baccalaureate ceremony

Members+of+the+senior+class+listen+to+Baccalaureate+faculty+speaker+Samuel+Lepler%27s+speech.+Today%27s+Baccalaureate+ceremony+took+place+in+the+Quad+from+6%3A30+to+7%3A30+p.m.
Members of the senior class listen to Baccalaureate faculty speaker Samuel Lepler's speech. Today's Baccalaureate ceremony took place in the Quad from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Members of the senior class listen to Baccalaureate faculty speaker Samuel Lepler's speech. Today's Baccalaureate ceremony took place in the Quad from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Katherine Zhang

Katherine Zhang

Members of the senior class listen to Baccalaureate faculty speaker Samuel Lepler's speech. Today's Baccalaureate ceremony took place in the Quad from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

by Maya Kumar and Tiffany Wong

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The classes of 2017 and 2018 attended the Upper School’s annual Baccalaureate ceremony today in the Quad from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Prior to the beginning of the event, the Harker String Ensemble, led by conductor Chris Florio, performed a short program of pieces while the seniors, juniors and their families socialized with other attendees and found their seats in the area. Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano opened the ceremony with an introductory address on the history of the Baccalaureate ceremony.

Gargano then invited to the stage Cantilena, directed by upper school vocal music teacher Susan Nace, to perform Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager’s “That’s What Friends Are For.” The Harker String Ensemble then played J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major.”

Following the performances, Upper School Head Butch Keller delivered a short speech introducing this year’s Baccalaureate faculty speaker, upper school economics teacher Samuel Lepler. Lepler spoke about the importance of relaxing during college and changing one’s perspective of problems by considering hindrances not as obstacles in the path towards success, but as circumstances simply part of the situation that needs to be solved.

Kathy Fang
Baccalaureate faculty speaker and economics teacher Samuel Lepler gesticulates during his address. The Class of 2017 voted Lepler as their faculty speaker for this year’s ceremony.

“I thought Baccalaureate was a really great way to send off the Class of 2017, as well as a great opportunity to welcome the Class of 2018 to their newfound leadership position on campus in the upcoming year,” Jimmy Lin (11), current junior class council president and ASB president for the next school year, said. “The speakers at the event were full of insights from their own experiences on campus, and I think there were a lot of valuable lessons to be learned that we can take with us in our upcoming school year as well.”

Keller then took to the stage again to welcome Baccalaureate student speaker Aditya Dhar (12), who encouraged his classmates to enjoy life through humor. He used his personal philosophy of “make every joke you can” to encourage his classmates to take risks and explore opportunities in college. Additionally, he advised them to be confident in their decisions.

“When we’re in high school, we have a world of opportunities. We have the chance to do almost anything,” he said. “As we go further and further down our own paths, our options start to narrow. We have to solidify what we want to study, We have to solidify what our plans are after graduation, what is we want to do in life, but the only way that you can set out on your own path is if you take all the opportunities.”

The seniors, juniors and their families celebrated after the ceremony with flowers and pictures.

“Last year, I actually felt that senior year was pretty far from where I was now, but now this year I’m part of the class welcoming the juniors into their final year of high school,” Tina Li (12) said. “My advice to them would be to always try out new opportunities; I moved here in my junior year from China, and I would encourage the Class of 2018 and also the grades below to always grab any chances presented to them.”

Today’s events also included the Class of 2017’s Alumni Induction Lunch and their Brick Laying Ceremony. Their graduation will take place tomorrow at the Saratoga Mountain Winery starting at 5 p.m.

Assistant Head of School for Student Affairs Greg Lawson, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs Jennifer Gargano, Upper School Head Butch Keller, Baccalaureate faculty speaker Samuel Lepler and Baccalaureate student speaker Aditya Dhar (12) sit onstage during the Baccalaureate ceremony. Both Lepler and Aditya were voted as event speakers by the Class of 2017.

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Seniors and juniors attend 2017 Baccalaureate ceremony