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Seniors Are Inspired, Challenged at Baccalaureate Celebration

The Class of 2022, family and friends came together for the Baccalaureate service on Thursday, May 26, at Christ Church. The ceremony began with the Junior Marshals escorting Upper School faculty and staff, trustees, guest speakers and the graduating class into the church.

The class’s chosen faculty member, junior dean and Upper School history and social studies teacher Matt Thomas, opened the ceremony with an invocation:

As Lao Tzu teaches us, to flow with the Tao rather than struggle against it is to be open to new experiences, new paths and new opportunities. To lean in when the world throws something unexpected in your path doesn’t mean the path forward will necessarily be smooth, but the journey along it can still be rewarding, and the destination it delivers you to, both sublime and surprising.

Head of School Doreen Kelly then welcomed family, friends, faculty, staff and loved ones. Her welcome was followed by two scripture readings by Simone Baldwin ’22 and Brodie Batten ’22. 

Choir members in the Class of 2022 performed a beautiful rendition of the Beatles’ “In My Life,” arranged by director Robert Strebendt. Listen to their performance here

Chris Barnette '18 addressing the Class of 2022

Delaney Washington ’22, president of the Student Government Association, then introduced the alumni speaker, Chris Barnette ’18. Barnette shared some of the lessons that he has learned in college, leaving the graduates with three pieces of advice:

What advice as a 22-year-old would I give to my 18-year-old self? Number one, perseverance. … It is easy to understand but often difficult to do. Keep going, keep showing up. … You will get through the good times and the bad times. …

Find joy. You see, happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness comes from the result of something. And life often leaves us with results that are disappointing. … Joy comes from a choice that I make to approach situations with a positive attitude regardless of the outcome. Find joy in the mundane, in the routine, in everyday things. 

Lastly, there comes a time in your life where you cannot make it on your own. Lots of things happen in our life that can either crush you or shape you. I could either choose to let fear crush me, or choose to trust the Lord for my joy and my strength.

Rabbi Eric Solomon addressing the Class of 2022

The second speaker was introduced by Sunishka Deshpande ’22, senior class president. Rabbi Eric Solomon from Beth Meyer Synagogue spoke from the heart via video recording. He reflected on the many challenges facing the world today, drew from the story of Moses, who was called to convince Pharoah to release his people from enslavement; and of Holocaust survivor Rabbi Hugo Gryn, whose father told him while they were imprisoned in Auschwitz, “My child, we know you can live three days without water. You can live three weeks without food. But you cannot live for three minutes without hope.” He ended with these words of encouragement and blessing to the soon-to-be graduates: 

You all are going to teach us and remind us of what it means to keep hope alive. You all, through your gratitude and appreciation, are going to help remind us. ... You are the visionaries. I believe with God’s help, you will lead us to the new promised land — a more connected, a more grateful, a more hopeful generation. So I wish you Mazel Tov, may you have the strength like Moses did and take what could have been your greatest challenge and make it your greatest gift.

Heidi Segars ’22 ended the ceremony with a benediction, followed by the recession of seniors, faculty and staff, and Board of Trustees to meet with family and friends for photos and fellowship.

Please enjoy photos from Baccalaureate 2022 in our Ravenscroft Flickr Gallery. You may also enjoy a replay of the ceremony through Livestream here.