Pingree celebrates the Class of 2016!
Few places possess the scenic tranquility of the Pingree Hedge Garden, a beloved community gathering point and the site of the 2016 Commencement ceremony. On Sunday, June 12, 2016, friends, family, faculty, staff, and loved ones sat in rows of chairs on the garden's main level, and up the grassy stone tiers leading up to the Pingree mansion. The bag pipers played and community members smiled through tears as the Class of 2016 processed down the steps in their traditional Pingree ties and white dresses. The 56th class of Pingree scholars was graduating.
"Inevitably when we talk about Pingree," said Charlotte Esty '16 in her welcome address, "we end up referring back to the fact that it was once a house. I love when this happens because it serves as the perfect metaphor: Pingree has been home to all 87 of us these past four years."
Pingree has a way of quickly transforming into a home not only for its students, but for their parents as well, whom Esty made sure to acknowledge in her address, thanking them for cheering on the sidelines and "snapping pictures and ﬁngers" at performances. Head of School Dr. Timothy Johnson echoed Esty's gratitude in his own remarks, urging students to look to their parents, teachers, and classmates and to think about the sacriﬁces that have been made on their behalf.
In his address, Dr. Johnson praised the graduating seniors for being "independent, spirited, passionate, musical, feisty, and an all-out mix of identities and talents." He humorously highlighted their tendency to park anywhere (literally, anywhere) they wanted and commended their leadership in welcoming and guiding Pingree's largest ever freshman class, showing these students and others the Pingree way.
Citing author John Green, Dr. Johnson's advice to graduates was to "be weak before the world, because love, listening, and deep understanding require an openness — a vulnerability." He encouraged the Class of 2016 to invest fully in all that they do and to utilize "uncommon thinking," always endeavoring to maintain a multidimensional view of the world.
Following the presentation of the class gift — a new public address system — by Charlotte Grinnell '16 and Brady Mokrzycki '16, Emma Brandt '16 took to the stage to introduce speaker Meridith Kilmartin Moran '98, digital program manager for iRobot Corporation. Moran shared her story of transformation from a writing-focused English major to a robotics builder.
"My journey was not typical," she said. "Yes, I do work for a cutting-edge robotics company today, and thus I call myself a builder. But 20 years ago, I thought that since I was good at writing and reading, I was meant to go into the arts or publication. Become an editor, or a reporter maybe."
It never occurred to Moran that there might be a place for her in robotics, a field ostensibly reserved for scientists and engineers. But with her creative mind, sharp intellect, and passion for world betterment, she quickly found herself thriving, hand-picking the teams to build the robots and implementing strategies to market and sell them.
"Don't be turned off by something because it's hard, or because it doesn't appear to be the expected path," she said. "It's all about passion. Knowledge is there to be gained. Anyone can learn, but passion is real. Find something you are passionate about, and make a difference. The path will open up to you."
After the graduates crossed the stage to the tune of their tributes and received their diplomas, Teddy Rosen '16 brought the program to a close. He underscored the closeness and camaraderie of the Class of 2016 and expressed his awe at the diversity of their talents.
"We are all better people for being at Pingree," he said. "And I think we can all say that we wouldn't have changed it for anything else."