Anyone who’s been to a high school graduation knows: It’s an obligation.
Anyone who’s been to a Staples baccalaureate ceremony knows: It’s a joy.
Tonight’s event was typical: relaxed, inspirational, funny, poignant, loving and personal. Plus, no one jostled for camera angles.
- Robby Toole was a masterful master of ceremonies.
- Staples’ own Woodland Blue rocked “Memory.”
- Faculty speaker Will Jones counseled: “Choose your path well — then go down it with love, joy and courage.”
- Zoe Apoian and David Ressler performed a stunning multilingual duet: “The Prayer.”
- Parent speaker Mary Parmelee offered 3 simple thoughts: “We love you. We’re proud of you. Call home once a week.”
- Noah and Zachary Steinman earned appreciative chuckles with their original poem, “4 Years and…”
Salutatorian Jonathan Choi said: “I know who I’ve become here. At Staples, I’ve learned how to be a real person.”
- The choir sang the uplifting “Circle of Life,” and the traditional finale, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”
- And then Robby Toole, the choir and Woodland Blue joined together to remind their classmates: “As our lives change, come whatever/ We will still be friends forever.”
It was over in less than an hour. But everyone lingered in the auditorium lobby. Parents and grandparents smiled, chatted and congratulated the not-quite graduates on a year — or 4, or 13 — well done.
The end is in sight. Tonight, no one wanted it to come quite yet.
What a wonderful ceremony. Heartfelt and emotional. Especially for me who had my own baccalaureate in this auditorium 28 years ago! Congratulations staples class of 2009!
Memorable in many ways. Dan, you have AGAIN captured the essence of the experience. Congrats 09.
I cried tears of joy all through the ceremony. Robby Toole is the poster boy for Staples High School. His face says: “I know who I am. I know my place in the world. I know what Staples is all about.” When Joey Genetti and his guys finished their song and Joe said “Thank you Staples,” it made my four years working with this class all worthwhile. Everyone who spoke or sang or read poetry did so in a way that said to the audience that the evening had meaning for them. I left the auditorium emotionally tired but feeling really good about this class and the entire Staples community.
Way to make me feel like an idiot for missing this year, Dan!
I have always found the Baccalaureate ceremony to be heads and tails more enjoyable than graduation – including the two years I was one of those annoying parents jostling for best camera angle. There is an inspiring reverence, a sort of melancholy joyfulness and as you say, “personal” aspect that is deeply moving and satisfying. I’m glad to hear that tradition is being carried forward and happy to see that it’s being well attended.
My two favorite gatherings at SHS (aside from the Staples Players performances, of course) have always been Baccalaureate and the evening PTA meeting in the fall, when the new teachers are introduced and each one speaks briefly. They are across the board, smart, witty, and genuine in their comments and share a bit of who they are as people – outside of the classroom. That’s a side parents don’t have the opportunity or time to see on Back to School Night and I’ve always left that meeting feeling really good about our town, the administration (for hiring them!), and most of all, confident about the people responsible for teaching our kids!
What happens that evening is a rare treat and one that I hope will continue, despite the fact that it’s typically fairly poorly attended. I’ve always been so disappointed and perplexed that more people don’t show. It seems to be the best kept secret in town, even though the PTA does its best to advertise it. My advice to any who haven’t been before – DON’T MISS IT THIS YEAR!
BTW: Are there penalties for being long-winded and slightly off-topic? Sorry!
>>BTW: Are there penalties for being long-winded and slightly off-topic?
No. You can never talk too long, or too proudly, about some of the best things in town.