May 30, 2012BETHLEHEM — Proud family and guests joined 29 White Mountain School graduates at 2012 commencement ceremonies on Saturday morning. Warm sunshine added to the grandeur of the day.
Five local students were among those ending their successful academic careers at the prep school. The class included ten members from China.
It was the 126th commencement for WMS. Head of School Tim Breen thanked the students' parents by saying, "We are so grateful you have shared your children with us." He also thanked alumni. Faculty and staff enjoy to "continue to share in your lives," Breen said to the former students in attendance.
Breen discussed the warm respect that students and faculty share for each other at WMS. "I feel honored to stand among you," Breen said to the school's teachers.
In heartfelt comments to the graduates, Breen commended their "spark within." He also noted, "I thank you for making this school a better place . . . I am impressed with the passion you have shared with this community."
Kenneth Klothen, parent of a 2002 WMS graduate, delivered the commencement address. Klothen informed the senior class, "I am so proud of you. And I don't even know you." He mentioned his optimism for the future, based on the drive, interest in service, and dedication to study that the graduates exemplify.
Their skills will be necessary in the coming years, Klothen told the graduates. This is because "your elders have screwed up this world pretty badly."
Klothen noted how the school has relied on students to help bring positive change before. He said that the school began racial integration in 1949. He then noted that "precedent was both broken and established" by that act. The school and students at that time were on "the right side of history and the right side of morality" before the Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court acted.
Impressed by the Class of 2012, Klothen said, "You stepped into the tradition and you carried it forward." He then told the graduates, "You've got an obligation to find new perspective and solutions to major problems." He concluded by saying, "Have a great life."
Jacob Moss may have seemed like an unlikely recipient of the school's Goodrich Prize for excellence in French. Moss, of Bethlehem, transcended early troubles with the language by what teacher Campbell Ainsworth called "renewed determination."
Moss relied on a "gift for language" to succeed in his French studies, Ainsworth said. On receiving the award, the now fluent Moss beamed along with Ainsworth.
John Brown, current WMS Board Chairman, greeted each graduate when diplomas were issued. This will be Brown's last year as chairman. Breen announced that Barbara Sirna, WMS Class of 1963, will become Chair of the Board.