New Flint Hill Grads Excited, Relieved


(Sunday, June 10, 2007 10:07 AM EDT)

Flint Hill School's 101 seniors gathered one final time, for commencement exercises in the Upper School's auditorium on June 9, and although many were sad to be saying goodbye to their friends and teachers, they all seemed to be looking forward to the next phase of their lives.

“I'm excited to be moving on and I'm looking forward to take the next steps,” said Steven Lederer.

“It's a relief to be done,” added Phil Shaw. “But I don't think it'll really hit that high school is over until I start in college.”

In his address to the class of 2007 (the school's largest senior class to date), headmaster John Thomas commended students not only on their academic, artistic and athletic achievements, but for their ability to lead and communicate with the school community during its 50th-anniversary year.

“In this class we have scholars, writers, poets, scientists, musicians, singers - and we have students who are outright characters,” he said. “You developed in maturity and opened discussion with faculty and staff, challenging us in our approach. You made us see that your leadership will serve you well in the future.”

About a quarter of the graduates will attend institutions of higher learning in Virginia, and others will be scattered all across the country and even around the globe, including Canada, England and Brazil.

Although the graduation focused on the accomplishments of the graduating seniors, family and faculty were not forgotten, and were recognized by all the speakers.

Salutatorian Katherine Norris expressed how much she cherished her relationships with the teachers at Flint Hill, seeing them more than just lecturers at the front of the classroom.

“Whenever I tried to explain to kids at other schools that we actually talk to our teachers, they just blink at me and say, ‘so, they're like your friends?'” Norris said in her speech.

Laura Saleh, the class valedictorian, reminded her fellow graduates that even though they have achieved a lot in the past four years, to remember that “our families are the cornerstones of our lives.”

Flint Hill invited alumnus Andrew Durbill ('92), staff director of the National War Powers Center at the University of Virginia, to give the commencement address. Avoiding cliché graduation messages, he simply dared the graduates to stop and think.

“We're told we're being interactive, but we're not. We're being reactive and we're not thinking,” he said, describing how much time people spend distracted on iPods, cell phones, Blackberrys and computers. “When you stop and think, you define yourself and you give back to others without even knowing it. Each one of you is only minutes away from shaping the world around you.”

Steven Lenz and Nicole Ferguson were among graduating seniors at Flint Hill School's commencement exercises, held June 9.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

Return to index of articles