Stoneleigh-Burnham students prepared for next chapter of life
The graduates of the Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield gather for a group picture just after Commencement Exercises on Friday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »
Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Dean Alex Bogel presents the Mabel Hood Emerson Award to Graduate Emily Ann Zraunig of Greenfield during Commencement Exercises on Friday morning. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — Amherst resident Caroline Lord told her fellow Stoneleigh-Burnham School graduates that Friday wasn’t just the start of a new chapter, but the “beginning of a whole new book.”
Lord, who made the switch from public school to the private girls school in her sophomore year, recapped the story so far. The class of 30 graduates, who continued the school’s tradition of donning white dresses for the event, came from eight different countries and four different states.
“Today, our real lives begin,” said Lord. “This graduation means that everyone who has watched you grow over these past few years believes you are ready to take on the world.”
Teacher Karen Pleasant, whom the graduates chose as the faculty speaker, told audience members about how students had been counting down the days until graduation. But now, she said, the countdown is over.
“After years of knowing exactly what comes next, in one moment, you don’t know what tomorrow brings,” she said. “Whatever the uncertain future holds, you are prepared for it.”
Artist Anna Schuleit Haber — known locally for an upside-down mural that can be seen reflected as a portrait in a University of Massachusetts pond — told graduates that college will be bigger, less intimate and more complicated than high school.
While college will prepare them for their outward careers, high school was crucial for them to build their private careers and learn who they are, she said.
“Now things will speed up and speed you into the lanes of adulthood,” she said. “There’s a place for each and every one of you out in the world.”
And Head of School Sally Mixsell told the graduates that they helped make all of the school’s students more successful.
“If the senior class doesn’t lead ... the year will feel ineffective to everyone,” she said. “So thank you all . ... Your gifts to the school have not been insignificant.”
Three Greenfield residents graduated on Friday: Jane Bell, Colleen Carpenter and Emily Zraunig.
During the ceremony, Zraunig received the Mabel Hood Emerson Award, which is presented to a student who has done the most for the school in scholarship, loyalty and leadership.