For the first time in more than a year, a few hundred people were able to gather in person on campus. Alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and students came together on June 10 in celebration of the remarkable Class of 2021.
This year’s commencement speaker was Wes Moore, combat veteran, bestselling author, social entrepreneur, and former CEO of the Robinhood Foundation. Addressing, the class of 89 students, Moore thanked them for “leading with joy” and smiling through an especially tough year.
“Through every journey you see there will be good days, there will be bad ones, there will be difficult things, there will be hard times, there will be unexpected joys and unexpected failures. Your ability to move through it all with joy is going to mean everything,” Moore imparted.
He pointed out that the questions they will be asked in the coming months and years — questions about college majors and grades — may seem to be of paramount importance right now. However, he assured the class, down the road they will realize that the measure of success is not about specific academic achievements, but whether one upheld their values throughout the journey.
Moore predicted, “The most important questios you are going to be asked are: ‘Who is it you will choose to fight for? Who will matter to you when it’s not easy? Who will you stand for? Who will you use your voice for? Who will you use your intellect for? Who will you share your blessings with?’”
Words to Live By, Words We Love:
Hannah MacDonald, Valedictorian:
“I remind myself that we come from this small place — one that is small enough that we can tuck it within ourselves and carry it forward into our separate futures. We will go on to new places and be faced with experiences which, at this moment, we might not even be able to imagine. But we will press forward without losing all that GFA has taught us, without losing each other.”
Henry Mcdonald, Salutatorian:
“You came here to witness the last day this family will be together like this. Today is a final hoorah and a final goodbye for many. We have synced our sleep cycles, gotten on the same meal schedule, and breathed the same filtered air as each other for 1 to 13 years. … We are all brothers and sisters and thank you for everything you’ve all done for me. Without all of you, I wouldn't be a fraction of the person I am today.”
Bob Whelan P ’24, Head of School:
“We’ve gotten to see you over the course of the last two, 12, or 13 years that you’ve spent here. And you’re extraordinary. Remember a life of purpose is to have the courage to be yourself.”
“Connection is the energy between people when we feel seen, heard, and valued. This, ultimately, will be among the most important things in your life: the people who love and care for you. It has been such a gift to go on this journey with you.”
For photos and videos of the day, visit our End of Year Events page.