Gun­ston grads en­cour­aged to make world a bet­ter place

Record Observer - - School - By HANNAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Forty-two stu­dents were grad­u­ated from The Gun­ston School in Cen­tre­ville on June 10. Com­mence­ment ex­er­cises were held be­neath a white tent on the lawn of the school along­side the scenic Cor­sica River. Mem­bers of the Class of 2017 were led in their pro­ces­sional by Robert Wal­lace play­ing bag pipes.

Wish­ing his fel­low class­mates great suc­cess in the fu­ture, Lizhi “Cliff” Peng, class pres­i­dent, greeted stu­dents, fac­ulty, par­ents and sup­port­ers in both English and Chi­nese — the ad­dress in Chi­nese in honor and recog­ni­tion of the in­ter­na­tional fam­i­lies who had trav­eled so far to at­tend with their grad­u­ates.

The se­niors were in­vited to each share a mem­o­rable quote with the guests. To para­phrase a quote from Socrates, one se­nior said, “What screws us up the most in life is the pic­ture in our head of what it’s sup­posed to be.”

Oth­ers shared wit­ti­cisms and life lessons from Winnie the Pooh, Bilbo Bag­gins, Dr. Suess, and Peter Pan. Oth­ers took a more se­ri­ous note, “The true sol­dier fights not be­cause he hates what is in front of him, but be­cause he loves what is be­hind him,” G.K. Ch­ester­ton, quoted one grad­u­ate.

The ad­dress to the grad­u­ates was pro­vided by W.W. “Buck” Dun­can, pres­i­dent the Mid-Shore Com­mu­nity Fund — a phil­an­thropic or­ga­ni­za­tion serv­ing the re­gion. Dun­can promised he would keep his re­marks brief, re­call­ing on the day of his com­mence­ment he was hop­ing they would “just give me my diploma and get me out of there.”

How­ever, there were a few life lessons Dun­can hoped he could im­part with the grad­u­ates. Be thank­ful, Dun­can said, don’t take your good health for granted and take con­trol of your men­tal, phys­i­cal, and spir­i­tual health. De­velop your tal­ents and share them with each other and those you meet along the way, Dun­can told them.

Be thank­ful for your ed­u­ca­tion, your fam­ily, your sup­port sys­tem that has led you to where you are to­day. Gun­ston has pre­pared you to be­come eth­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally minded lead­ers, he said, “You are ready for those chal­lenges.”

The world is a very dif­fer­ent place now, said Dun­can, “Take re­spon­si­bil­ity, think care­fully about the choices you will make.” Dun­can en­cour­aged the stu­dents, be thought­ful of your­self and oth­ers, but seize op­por­tu­ni­ties. Work hard, but work smart, he said.

There is no sub­sti­tute for a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, said Dun­can. It is crit­i­cal for suc­cess and neg­a­tiv­ity is con­ta­gious, he cau­tioned. Make your own luck, be in the right place at the right time, and be pre­pared, he ad­vised.

Lastly, be thank­ful for ev­ery­thing that is worth­while in your life. “Go show the world what you can of­fer, it is much,” said Dun­can. “Make the world a bet­ter place for all of us.”

The stu­dents were pre­sented with their diplo­mas by Susan Dil­lon, chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors, and John A. Lewis IV, Head­mas­ter.

A fi­nal bene­dic­tion was of­fered for Class of 2017 be­fore their de­par­ture from the grounds and their em­bark­ment of higher ed­u­ca­tion. As­sis­tant Head of School Christie Gra­bis told the class, em­brace this mo­ment, and as you look back thank those men­tors, friends, and fam­ily who have sup­ported you al­ways, “Go and be well.”

The Gun­ston School’s Class of 2017.

The Gun­ston Chorale per­forms “Count on Me” dur­ing com­mence­ment ex­er­cises.

Class Pres­i­dent, Lizhi “Cliff” Peng greets guests in both English and Chi­nese.

Nicole Sheridan Blades, Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety mem­ber, re­ceives her diploma from Head­mas­ter John A. Lewis IV.

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