Brunswick bids farewell to the Class of 2014

Graduate Juwan Royal was presented with a Faculty Citation by Upper School science teacher Daniel Dychkowski.

Graduate Juwan Royal was presented with a Faculty Citation by Upper School science teacher Daniel Dychkowski.

“Courage, honor and truth,” the Brunswick School motto, is a phrase that its students hold dear.

It’s the foundation that the school is built upon and it’s something that has been instilled in the 93 graduating seniors leaving Brunswick this year. On May 21, at its 112nd commencement, Brunswick School said farewell to the Class of 2014. Once again, and for the last time, they were told to live by the values of courage, honor and truth.

“Courage, honor and truth will serve you and those around you well. … They will rarely steer you wrong,” said Brunswick’s headmaster, Thomas Philip.

In his address, Mr. Philip discussed renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow’s theory of a hierarchy of needs. The theory addresses human motivation and behavior, stating that after fulfilling lower-tiered needs such as clothing, food and shelter, belongingness, and self-esteem, the highest form of human motivation was a concept called self-actualization. Mr. Maslow deemed self-actualization to be the ultimate form of self-fulfillment. In other words, it means realizing one’s potential and becoming everything one’s capable of becoming.

Years later, after much reflection and further study, Mr. Maslow would come to revise his famous theory. He admitted his error, saying that self-actualization did not occupy the top rung of the pyramid. In fact, the highest level was giving back and making a positive contribution to the community. This was something that Mr. Philip confidently stated the Class of 2014 knew and embodied fully.

“They’re using their potential and privilege for a cause greater than themselves. … They are one of the most thoughtful, unselfish, inclusive classes I’ve ever known, and I don’t say that every year,” said Mr. Philip. “They’ve proven this again and again. … There’s simply no doubt in my mind that Brunswick School is a better place for them having been here.”

Mr. Philip then introduced the class valedictorian, Kevin Bradicich, who will be attending Princeton in the fall. Kevin introduced the Ivy Speaker, Edward Emmet McElwreath, whom the Class of 2014 had chosen to represent them on this important day.

Emmet, who will be attending Vanderbilt, reminisced about his time at Brunswick, entering the school as a timid sixth grader, and now standing before the audience of friends, family, faculty, and peers. He offered the seniors a piece of advice that they “needed the least,” to keep their sense of humor.

“The only constant force in our life is change, and having a humorous outlook can help you guys ease into any situation. Anyone can take a situation seriously, but it takes a special intelligence and wit to turn a situation into a funny one.”

Commencement speaker David Levin, co-founder of national charter school network KIPP, then shared a few parting remarks. Drawing upon entertaining math and physics-related vignettes, Mr. Levin encouraged the seniors to live life with a healthy sense of curiosity and to ask themselves the hard questions along the way.

“Hopefully, you can start answering the questions for yourself: Why are you making the choices that you’re making? As you go on and as you succeed at things, ask yourself, Why is the world the way it is, why do you accept it the way it is?,” said Mr. Levin.

Quoting Marge Percy’s poem “To Be Of Use,” Mr. Levin entreated the Class of 2014 to “jump into work head first” and to be like water buffalo, working tirelessly and patiently to do real work, to do “what has to be done, again and again.”

In further celebration of Brunswick’s own, a series of awards were handed out by faculty. Rupert Kingshott was awarded the Kulukundis Cup for having the year’s highest academic standing, an impressive 100.25 average. Reed Schultz received the Brunswick Community Service Award for his extensive work on environmental initiatives. John Patrick Cammisa received the BPA prize for his “improvement in scholarship and development of fine character.” The Jenkins Athletic Award was bestowed to Daniel Hayes Murphy III for his contributions as a tri-varsity athlete.

For his “positive relationships in school, sports and in community service,” Ivy Speaker Emmet McElwreath received the Thomas A. Altman Prize. The Robert L. Cosby Award, given to the student who has “done the most to uplift the spirits of those around him,” was awarded to William Rosencrans. Henry Hobbs received the Headmaster’s Trophy for his “dependability, integrity and character.” Four students were also honored with faculty citations: Dylan Wadsworth, Alexander McDonald, Jackson Reynolds, and Juwan Royal.

The Class of 2014 then took to the stage, one by one, to receive their diplomas and continue on to the next chapter of their journeys.

“We are all of us truly privileged for having known you,” said Mr. Philip.

 

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