New senior class initiated at annual baccalaureate

The annual baccalaureate celebration, hosted in the Quad, initiated members of the 2015 class as the seniors of the upcoming school year.

The ceremony began at approximately 6:30 p.m. with the juniors and seniors walking into the seating arena, while the String Ensemble performed live introductory music.

Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs Jennifer Gargano began the evening’s processions, welcoming “especially the seniors to this year’s baccalaureate ceremony.”

Cantilena followed Gargano’s introduction with “I Shall Not Live in Vain,” a piece chosen by Cantilena seniors to honor the memory of former English teacher Jason Berry, who passed away last August.

Succeeding the choir’s performance, the String Ensemble played “October,” composed by Eric Whitacre and arranged by Paul Lavender.

“It was great to perform one last time for the seniors,” ensemble violist Lekha Chirala (11) said. “Although I was nervous about performing, it was an awesome feeling after.”

Lekha added that though the ensemble did not have much time to practice, she felt as though the performance was a success.

Upper School Head Butch Keller then introduced this year’s faculty speaker, mathematics instructor Anthony Silk, who addressed the vitality of overcoming failure in his Faculty Farewell. He emphasized pushing oneself outside of his or her comfort zone and finding a rewarding, yet equally enjoyable, path in life.

“One, don’t get too comfortable,” Silk said in his speech. “Two, just because you’re making a lot of money doesn’t mean you’re successful. And three, failure isn’t failing.”

Following Silk, the second speaker chosen by the senior class, Efrey Noten (12), took the stage after an introduction by Keller. In the Student Farewell, Efrey drew upon an analogy of fish and water to emphasize the importance of appreciation.

“The stuff most obvious and common to us is the stuff we have the most trouble conceptualizing,” Efrey said.

Head of School Chris Nikoloff closed the evening, thanking the senior class and those who attended the event. Nikoloff also reminded seniors to pick up their senior collages, which were set up for display in the gym.

With the final words of the night, the Class of 2014 officially handed the seniorship baton to the rising seniors.

“I’ve laughed and cried so much today, and baccalaureate just tied the whole experience together and made me really look forward to what’s coming,” Maneesha Panja (12) said. “It’s more a celebration of what we’ve accomplished in the past and an appreciation of what’s to come.”

Prior to the event, students, such as Savi Joshi (11) expressed excitement for the baccalaureate celebration.

“I’m really excited to hear Efrey speak, and I’m pounced to be officially a senior,” Savi said. “But I’m also really sad, especially after watching that video [during the assembly]. It’s really starting to hit me that all the seniors are going to be gone next year.”

To others like Brandon Aguilar (11), becoming a senior means more than simply graduating into another year—it represents the “the beginning of the end.”

Earlier today, students and faculty had the chance to say goodbye to the current senior class in the first annual Senior Appreciation Assembly, which featured Conservatory performances from Downbeat and Varsity Dance Troupe and videos of students and faculty reflecting on the past four years with the senior class.

The Class of 2014 will officially graduate on Monday, May 26 at the Mountain View Winery.

Originally published on Harker Aquila.

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