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With red caps and gowns dazzling in the brilliant sunshine, 544 members of the Class of 2017, some smiling, some with tears, all with spirit and a sense of accomplishment, stepped on to the field at 4 p.m. sharp to the chords of "Pomp and Circumstance" played by the NFA Concert Band, directed by Kristen Motola. The students followed Corporators, and student marshals uppers Hannah Harens and Samuel Young led honored guests to the dais.
The program included Vincent L. Huang's Ivy Oration and Riana Lucas' Class Speech. Huang spoke of the transformative power of education. "A child was born into poverty in the Lower East Side in New York City, and his immigrant parents, with little formal education, labored long and hard as unskilled workers...This child is now heading to Boston University to study and to make his parents proud. I am this child, and his parents are my parents, and they are sitting somewhere out there watching me at this moment," he said.
Lucas told her classmates, "Whatever comes next, do it to the best of your abilities" and entreated them to "Remember the families that support you on your way to success, and do your best to make them proud."
Shattuck House and Senior Class Principal and Adviser Kristin Peckrul presented the first diploma, and all 544 students had a moment of recognition and accomplishment as faculty readers announced their names. In NFA style, the ceremony was sophisticated, smooth, touching, and awe-inspiring.