The unrelenting rain Thursday morning forced the graduation ceremony for the Greens Farms Academy Class of 2014 indoors. The dozens of white chairs that had been assembled on the school's front lawn, where commencement traditionally takes place, were abandoned, but the ceremony was no less sweet in the gymnasium.
"The heavens are weeping to see you go," said Janet Hartwell, Greens Farms head of school, as she addressed the 84 graduating seniors.
Earlier, while watching the seniors have their class picture taken, Hartwell said they were "leaving a good, strong legacy" at the school. "They had a lot of school spirit and they are all good friends," she said, as the group joked while photos were taken. "It's sad to see them go."
The procession into the school's Coyle Gym saw the girls all wearing white dresses and carrying bouquets of roses, given to them by the school. The boys all wore suits.
Eric Dexheimer of Westport, the class salutatorian, greeted the graduates' proud parents, grandparents and friends.
He said that "getting the right balance in life" is important.
Dexheimer, who will attend Northeastern University, also said that "going forward to college" the graduates will be facing new obstacles and barriers as they "have greater autonomy." Again, he said, balance in all things will be most important.
The class valedictorian was Mark Whittaker of Fairfield, who will attend Harvard College in the fall.
"The Class of 2014 was passionate in their pursuits," Hartwell said in her speech, complimenting the graduates for their many accomplishments, including efforts in global studies, the visual arts and for organizing the first international youth festival at the school. Graduation, she added, shouldn't diminish their passions.
Prior to the ceremony, several graduates discussed their feelings on achieving that landmark.
"It's really exciting to be graduating," said Joanna Moley, 18, of Darien, who will attend Georgetown University, studying political science, "Coming here today, I thought, `Well this is the last car ride I'll have to GFA.' "
Harrison Potter, 18, of Redding said graduation was "bittersweet," while Jack Hall-Tipping of Rowayton said it was "a relief to be graduating."
Matt Tate, 18, of Greenwich, summed it up: "It's been a little crazy, I'm a little nervous, but I'm ready to go." He plans to attend Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.
The ceremony was followed by a reception at the school. Read Full Article
Class of 2014: 84 graduates
Valedictorian: Mark Whittaker of Fairfield
Salutatorian: Eric Dexheimer of Westport
Speaker: Jim Ziolkowski, GEO of buildOn