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NMH commencement: Class of ‘14 urged to be humble, creative

  • Family and friends of Emma Madison Herrmann cheer during graduation ceremonies at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday. Ed Hermann, Simon Dorfman, Antonio Orsi, Star Herrmann, Ryen Herrmann and Whitney Gage celebrate loudly and proudly with their signs and party hats -- the family has recently gone through some serious medical problems, so the day was that much more important to them. Emma Herrmann will continue on to NYU in the fall for directing and film making.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Family and friends of Emma Madison Herrmann cheer during graduation ceremonies at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday. Ed Hermann, Simon Dorfman, Antonio Orsi, Star Herrmann, Ryen Herrmann and Whitney Gage celebrate loudly and proudly with their signs and party hats -- the family has recently gone through some serious medical problems, so the day was that much more important to them. Emma Herrmann will continue on to NYU in the fall for directing and film making.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ismini Ethridge of Northfield Mount Hermon's Class of 2014 "passes the spade" on to David Winsor , Class of 2015, at the graduation ceremonies on Sunday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Ismini Ethridge of Northfield Mount Hermon's Class of 2014 "passes the spade" on to David Winsor , Class of 2015, at the graduation ceremonies on Sunday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Graduates line up to receive their diplomas at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Graduates line up to receive their diplomas at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Family and friends of Emma Madison Herrmann cheer during graduation ceremonies at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday. Ed Hermann, Simon Dorfman, Antonio Orsi, Star Herrmann, Ryen Herrmann and Whitney Gage celebrate loudly and proudly with their signs and party hats -- the family has recently gone through some serious medical problems, so the day was that much more important to them. Emma Herrmann will continue on to NYU in the fall for directing and film making.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Ismini Ethridge of Northfield Mount Hermon's Class of 2014 "passes the spade" on to David Winsor , Class of 2015, at the graduation ceremonies on Sunday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Graduates line up to receive their diplomas at Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

GILL — Northfield Mount Hermon class orator Taylor R. Tonkinson of Keene, N.H., told her classmates she wasn’t qualified to advise them, but argued against exceptionalism and urged her classmates to conduct themselves as members of a team while pursuing their own interests.

“I am a senior in high school, not Plato, I am not a dramatic person, nor do I have sympathy for those who make their lives more dramatic than they should be, but I can tell you that being a content and satisfied human being is, in part, accepting the brevity of life and using it to fuel passions, goals and dreams,” Tonkinson said.

The commencement ceremony, under a pavilion on the NMH grounds, drew hundreds to see off a senior class of 175 students.

Tonkinson shared a story from her first day as a day student at NMH — when she and her classmates were left alone to contemplate poet Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — and how she has come to answer that question.

“When we leave our safety net today, remember that life is more or less a team sport with 7 billion teammates. It is not about each of us achieving greatness, it is about each of us living with humility and integrity, living with grace, living with passion and living with kindness,” Tonkinson said.

Commencement speaker James Block, a retiring English teacher, urged the Class of 2014 to value their imaginations, saying he had been marked in college by the fire of novelist James Joyce’s imagination through the pages of Ulysses.

“It elevated and transformed me and my reading. I understood then why some have thought that art could substitute for religious experience,” Block said. “Whatever you do in college, may your imaginations do the same for you.”

Local graduates

John Arena of Gill, winner of the John O. Mehrkens Award and the NMH Boys’ Junior Varsity Ice Hockey Award, Gabriel Bitzer of Colrain.

Henry Colt of Whately, a member of the Cum Laude Society and winner of the Head of School’s Award, the Ralph E. Jillson Award, the Adam Thomson Boys’ Track Award, and Sayde & David Housen Boys’ Nordic Ski Award.

Kendra Davis of Northfield, winner of the Joseph T. Elliott Jr. Prize in Music.

Zachary Gordon of South Deerfield, winner of the NMH Boys’ Junior Varsity Basketball Award.

Samira Haddad of Shelburne.

Cooper Hemphill of Gill, a member of the Cum Laude Society and winner of the Wilbur E. Lynde Science Award.

Lily Kitfield-Vernon of Northfield; a member of the Cum Laude Society and winner of the Timothy G. Taylor Performing Arts Scholarship Prize and the NMH Student Alumni Association Award.

Luke Leyden of Northfield, winner of the Matt Demaine Lacrosse Award.

Elizabeth McClellan of Gill,

Erin Moore of Leyden, winner of the Piscuskas Day Student Prize.

Haley Short of Gill, winner of the Hattie E. Zschirpe Memorial Award and the NMH Girls’ Varsity Crew Award.

Elizabeth Sturtevant of Leyden, winner of the David Garbose Memorial Award.

In the 2013-2014 academic year, NMH enrolled 650 students from 31 states and 47 countries.

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