Walker’s Celebrates Its 111th Commencement Ceremony

Ave atque vale “Hail and farewell” from the latin poet Catullus.

Congratulations to the freshly matriculated Class of 2023!

The 111th Anniversary of Walker’s Commencement ceremony calls to attention the significance of such a number. With the number one so fittingly representing new beginnings, it is only appropriate that the anniversary mirrors these graduates who are at the beginning of their next chapters. Since The Ethel Walker School’s founding and its first Commencement ceremony in 1913, students across culture, race, religion, and region have gathered together to commemorate the completion of their high school experience situated appropriately in the circular lawn that faces Beaver Brook. Sunday greeted the Walker’s community with clear skies, a mild breeze, and resplendent sunlight. The community of students, faculty, staff, and families sent off the graduating class with life lessons, charges, prompts, and well wishes.

Toan Huynh ’93, a distinguished leader in technology and finance.

This year’s key note speaker, Toan Huynh ’93, a trustee of the School and a distinguished leader in technology and finance, spoke about “finding your boat crew.” She referenced the different “boats” of communities that come to aid and champion you across the different phases of life. Huynh emphasized the importance of not only the individual graduate, but of the collective support and “unwavering” network of “…parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, siblings, those who love you, and those who you love,” that stood beside the graduates along the way. She alluded to the success of the individual being a culmination of the efforts of family legacy, personal history, and community that fostered the environment for growth. Huynh left two charges for the Class of 2023; be open to where the winds and tides may carry your boat and maintain a strong ability to set boundaries in order to be effective in service to your goals. Learning what it means to “draw your box,” will help set priorities with focus and clarity.

Head of School Dr. Meera Viswanathan presents the Senior Gift from abstract painter J. Steven Manolis.

Lastly, she recommended taking time to be present and find joy and wonderment in the simplicity of life, a sentiment shared by a member of the English faculty, Scott Frey. “What will your practice be for noticing wonder?” began Frey’s Baccalaureate address the evening preceding Commencement. He spoke directly to the graduates about, “moments of wonder” not only “for the brightest days of spring,” but that, “they have muscle” and are, “a hand reaching out of the wilderness,” during more turbulent days. To supplement Frey’s address, Student Body President, Grace M. ’23 also spoke about the power of community in lifting one another in low times, challenges that raise you, and the value of friendship through small acts of thoughtfulness.

As Head of School, Dr. Meera Viswanathan concluded the 2023 ceremony with words of encouragement. She presented to the senior class a gift from J. Steven Manolis the husband of former trustee, Myrthia Moore ’79, a work of art in poster form with the names of each graduate printed beneath. As expressed by the artist, the print features complimentary colors of purple and yellow. The two individual colors become more magnificent because of their relationship, and act as a reminder that Walker’s community is “unified towards a common goal.” Viswanathan concluded that, “growth is a process, and that suns and dials will always have a home here.”

Ave atque vale “Hail and farewell.”