Tabor Academy grads urged to take on good responsibility

Jun 3, 2022

MARION _ They entered the stage as seniors and exited as Tabor Academy graduates.

“As you descend the stairs, you are beginning a new role,’’ Tabor Board of Trustees Chair Regina Shakin told the graduates during the commencement ceremony held Friday, June 3 on the Tabor waterfront.

The last few years, she told the students, have been “demanding and uncertain at times.’’ But the students not only prevailed, but excelled, whether at academics, athletics, sports, arts or in serving the community.

She described the class as “adaptable, resilient, and kind’’ as they faced unexpected difficulties brought on by the pandemic and persevered.

“The good news is, you’re present here today,’’ she said.

Co-head of school Olivia Justice, a Tabor senior, described school as her “safe place.’’ She said her thoughts were with the victims and survivors of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. “Their safe place was violated in a way that was unimaginable.’’ For that community, “school may never be a safe place again.’’

These days, she told those in attendance, “there is so much hate in the air, like a smog that makes it hard to breathe,’’ a smog that is “poisoning every ounce of safety and comfort.’’

Unity brings strength, she said. “We lift each other up. We wipe away each other’s tears.’’

Her fellow head of school, senior Percy Ackerman, recalled that “the limitations of Covid-19 did not stop us.’’ Instead, he said, “learning to work hard and to work together might be the most important thing we learned here.’’

Commencement speaker Ian M.H. Patrick, a faculty member in the English department, urged the graduates to embrace the “good weight’’ of responsibility to make the world better.

He encouraged them to keep “putting in the steps, not only the hard work but the correct work to contribute your best to make the world better.’’ He cited examples of this work as  speaking out in the face of injustice and having “the courage to help’’ when a friend needs support.

“Be honest with yourself,’’ he said. “That is really hard to do, but only then can you move genuinely, fully forward.’’

Life can sometimes resemble a hamster on a wheel, Tabor Head of School Anthony T.T. Jaccaci said, moving “from task to task.’’

But he urged students to practice patience and to remember that “growth cannot be rushed.’’ Life, he philosophized, brings progress and change at a pace unique to each person.

As befitting the “school by the sea,’’ where boats could be seen in the harbor through flaps of the tent, Jaccaci said that when he faces challenges, he follows the approach of his “spirit animal’’ Dory the Fish.

He shared those words to live by with the Class of 2022.

“Just keep swimming.’’