Graduation 2013 (Summer 2013)

Iyannaho Observes Class of 2013
Passing Through Hyannis Village Green

Class of 2013: Jennifer Agel, Meghan Agostinelli, Allison Ailes, Lindsey Allin, Damian Baird, Rachael Bardfield, Alana Bell, Joseph Benedict, Amelia Bigwood, Nicholas Borowski, Ian Bowes, Jessica Bowse, John Connor Bryant, Averie Bueller, Anna Campbell, Hayara Cardoso, Michael Chan, Lauren Clingan, Karleena Corey, Casey Cunningham, Felicia Curreri, Taylor Dean, Christopher DeDecko, Christopher Dennison, Mark Dennison, Matthew Dennison, Abigail Depin, Ian Devine, Benjamin Duncan, Alyssa Dyer, Austin Fernalld, Christopher Fink, Aidan Fitzsimons, Evan Francis, Steven Francis-Burnell, Jackson Fryer, Maret Gable, Kyle Garvey, Nolan Gibbons, Kevin Glassman, Robert Goydas, Brendan Guerra-Connell, Stephen Harnais, Bridget Howes, Charles Huxter, Haley Johnson, Jessica Johnson, Brenna Joyce, Devon Juaire, Shannon Kelly, Mitchell Kimber, Ketryn Kochka, Lucie Lass, Samuel Lawrence, Alysha Lewicki, Shannon Lindlau, David Liptack, Alexander Lloyd, Noah Lonergan, Devin Low, Ashleigh MacIsaac, Brooke Marston, Kylie Mauro, Kourtney Meiss, Anna Michael, Aidan Milsted, Michael Moen, John Moore, Kelsi Murphy, Dylan Murray, Alaina Ohm, Corinne Ohm, Curran Olson, Renee Orcione, Lucie Palmeri, Natalie Panasci, Krupa Patel, Dorothy Paul, Mary Pawlusiak, Allan Pilch, Benjamin Pilch, Alicia Pollard, Julia Pollard, Kayla Proctor, Sana Rashid, Katherine Rastallis, Nicholas Raymond, Amanda Richards, Gabriel Sabella, Olivia Sequin, Cierra Simmons, Stephanie Sirhal, Shannon Slater, Shelby Stevenson, Sara Sweeten, Mary Titcomb, Hannah Towers, Kelley Walsh, Kallie Whritenour.

Eric Hieser Leads Faculty and Class of 2013 to Hyannis Harbor

Eric Hieser Leads Faculty and Class of 2013
to Graduation Ceremony at Hyannis Harbor

Our Nautical Traditions

Sturgis graduations are a wonderful celebration of the achievements of our students. The ceremony incorporates several nautical traditions that reflect our maritime setting and connection to Captain William Sturgis (1782-1863) for whom our school is named.

Decked out in the finery of robes and led by Eric Hieser along with Alasdair McEwen on bagpipes, Sturgis grads  march with faculty down Main Street and through the Village Green to Hyannis Harbor where they enter a shining white tent filled with people who love them and have traveled far to be present at their commencement.

No graduation is ever complete without sounds of the harbor in the background – including an occasional blast from a ferry’s horn!

Ben Duncan Signs Out

Ben Duncan Signs Out

Signing the Ship’s Log

After receiving their diploma, each graduate proceeds to a table displaying a ship’s log. When students first begin their journey at Sturgis, they sign the log.  Just as William Sturgis signed on board for his first voyage, students  “sign on for a term of duty,” signifying their request to begin the voyage.  At the end of graduation, students “sign out” next to their original signature, signifying completion of the voyage.  The lucky last student in each class   (alphabetically speaking!) is given the honor of ringing the ship’s bell.

Below you will find the full text of graduation speeches along with a selection of photographs by Jarvis Chen, Divya Johar and Marion Weeks.  We hope the speeches and photographs capture a bit of the spirit of the event.

Welcoming Address by Eric Hieser, Executive Director

Eric Hieser

Eric Hieser

Class of 2013, Parents, Faculty, Board of Trustees, Relatives, & Friends:

Welcome to the Graduation Ceremony for Sturgis Charter Public School.  We are very happy to present to you this Class of 2013, the largest class to graduate from Sturgis. They have challenged themselves and embraced the Sturgis Mission of “International Baccalaureate for All”.  They have brought their unique personalities, their passion, and their enthusiasm to create a very special school culture of rigor and caring.  The founders of Sturgis envisioned a unique public school that would challenge all students with academic rigor and would have many students achieve the IB Diploma. We are confident that the Class of 2013 embodies the traits that the IB envisions students acquire, such as inquiry, caring, risk-taking, and international-mindedness.

Sturgis Singers Perform “Bring on Tomorrow”

This Class of 2013 has helped Sturgis once again gain recognition across the Cape, Massachusetts, the U.S. and around the world.  As with previous six graduating classes, this class helped Sturgis to be ranked by the U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post as the #1 school in MA and in the top 70  in the U.S. out of more than 22,000 high schools.  This ranking demonstrates how Sturgis students have sought out academic rigor and have gained the best preparation available for success in university.  Of course, we gain a sense of affirmation from these achievements, yet we know that it was only through the collaboration and support of our students, parents, faculty, and Board of Trustees that Sturgis is able to realize such a high standard of excellence.  In reviewing the graduation speeches submitted by the members of this class, one theme mentioned throughout virtually all was their tremendous admiration and respect for their teachers.  I now ask the faculty to stand to be recognized by the class and the audience.

Happy DayThe Class of 2013 has had a very successful year in college admission with many of these seniors receiving significant scholarships and grants.  Their success has increased student and parent interest in attending Sturgis as we now have our largest waiting list ever, including more than 550 students still seeking admission to Sturgis despite the opening of our second campus, Sturgis West.

I would like to digress a bit now so that I can recognize two people who have meant so much to what Sturgis has become.  The first is our Board President, Ray Sessler, who has shown outstanding leadership, judgment, commitment, and stewardship to ensuring that Sturgis is a model for charter schools across MA.  Ray, please stand and be recognized for your outstanding service.

While we have a few faculty who will be heading off to distant corners of the world, it is difficult to say good-bye to someone who has helped guide young people and the school for nine years.  Bev Fogg joined Sturgis when we were a very different school in 2004!  She helped build the counseling department and guided so many students to success in college and in their lives.  For her dedicated service and wise counsel to us all, Class of 2013 and audience, please recognize Bev Fogg.

20130602-DSC05455As I noted before, many of the Class of 2013 submitted excellent graduation speeches, but we were only able to choose two to be given today.  As our students live the Sturgis experience every day, a few years ago I started a graduation tradition of sharing with you some of the ideas and perspectives from speeches that are not being delivered today.

From Olivia Sequin:  There is a common saying that goes “Take photos, leave footprints.”  Even though this advice is usually found in parks and campsites, I feel like it can also be applied to our high school experience.  The photos we take are in the form of memories and the footprints we leave behind are our legacy.  Success is measured in many ways but one of those ways can be how much of a legacy you leave behind.  Some things at Sturgis will never change, including getting sunburned without fail every year on field day, holding up traffic on Main Street while 400 kids cross the crosswalk at lunchtime, the miraculous phenomenon of not having cliques and ‘social hierarchies’, and the prestige of our education.  Take photos and leave footprints—in other words, make memories and have an impact.  Do something you wouldn’t normally do, branch out.  Just as important as making memories is being remembered.  Make a difference, no matter how small, in your college, or in someone else’s life.  Make it your goal to look back and feel proud about the memories you made and the legacy you left behind.

Nick Borowski, Amelia Bigwood and Joey BenedictFrom Nick Raymond:  It may have been a bit surprising to some of us that the number one school in Massachusetts was not fancy by any means.  But soon it became evident that Sturgis wouldn’t be Sturgis if school was held in a prestigious building that screamed “we’re better than you are.”  Part of the Sturgis mentality is that we are humbled and honored just to be here.  We can look past the fact that even our top athletes have accepted that our best sport is chess.  It is the same reason why the lottery is random.  We’re not looking for the ‘best’ students.  We don’t recruit the top athletes or even the most academic students on Cape Cod.  Sturgis is a school for anyone who is willing to learn and grow into a better student in this once-in-a-lifetime environment, no matter what your background is.  Our teachers at Sturgis have put in so much time and effort in making sure that we truly learn the material that they teach us.  While the exams are very important, the most important thing is learning the information that could impact our own lives and inspire our careers and interests.  Our teachers all have a remarkable ability to look at the big picture.

From Anna Michael:  Theory of Knowledge class has been long over for the Class of 2013, but since the majority of us are IB Diploma candidates, it was a staple of our Sturgis experience.  So let me ask one last TOK question:  How do you measure success?  Or rather, to what extent can success be measured—To what extent can or should your success be measured by your grades, your IB scores, your sports wins or the positions you held in high school clubs?  We have proven ourselves creatively, athletically, and through hours of community service, all of which reflected upon, learning to set goals and measure our progress toward them.  This skill in CAS is a useful tool in measuring the success of a Sturgis experience, as it taught us the value of our endeavors, and how that value applies to not only ourselves and the Sturgis community, but the greater world.  I didn’t start my high school career as a Sturgis student.  It was a community that at first seemed very strange:  high schoolers that actually liked their school!  Yet, as it turns out, I came to Sturgis for the academic reputation, but I stayed for the community—one of overwhelming qualities of energy and enthusiasm.

From Lucie Lass:  We have learned to embrace the unknown and that there are limitations to our own conclusions; counter arguments to almost everything and one cannot make a claim unless it’s backed up with copius amounts of evidence.  Are we blind to setbacks or are we just so used to challenges that we only remember what the end product feels like?  Getting the wind knocked out of you, just reminds your lungs how much they like the taste of honey.  The fight is never for the obstacle—but for us.  Sometimes I feel that the challenges Sturgis and the IB have put us through were all just secret plans to bring us closer together.  The support team you get at Sturgis is unlike any other I have experienced.  Robert Frost once said, “The best way out is always through.”   Our teachers and friends will give us a thousand motivational speeches before we even consider going through and heading out.

Sara Sweeten

Sara Sweeten

From Sara Sweeten:  “If it was easy . . . would it be worth doing?”  asked Mr. Hieser my freshman year at Sturgis.  (aside—I guess that I am surprised that somebody was actually listening!)  I’ve thought about Mr. Hieser’s question many times throughout my four years at Sturgis.  I think that the obvious answer to the question is—no—if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it and—Sturgis has certainly proved this!  Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”  I think that sums up the Sturgis experience pretty well; not failure to failure but rather challenge to challenge.  My limits have been tested and from that I’ve been given the chance to grow.  In eighth grade, we all discovered Sturgis.  So why Sturgis?  I think that this can be answered with the same famous answer to the question:  Why climb Everest?  “Because it is there” said the climber George Mallory.  Sturgis is an option that we teens on Cape Cod are lucky enough to have, and because it’s there . . . why not?  We see peers fall, but we help them back up.  So, it wasn’t easy.  Sturgis has taught me to not only put myself out there and seize opportunities, but to create opportunities for myself.  Sure, we could get by, just sitting back and doing what’s necessary, but at Sturgis we’re taught–that is still not enough.

From Meghan Agostinelli:  The IB defines risk-takers as people who “approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought”, and we have taken the definition to heart.  We have opened ourselves to new ideas and new strategies throughout our time at Sturgis, and have differentiated ourselves from our peers by choosing to take the IB program.  Through the risks each of us has taken, we have discovered our passions.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  So go ahead and take a risk.

Mary PawlusiakAnd finally, from Mary Pawlusiak:  As Douglas Adams once said, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”  Some call this fate, “This is my fate” people will say, or “This is my destiny.”  I like to think differently.  People might believe that there is a higher power that ultimately knows where we will be in 20 years from now; but we create our own fate.  It’s imprinted on the work that we do and eventually leave behind.

Words of wisdom from the Class of 2013!

At graduation, I like to take a minute or two to reflect on some of the individuals that I will remember from this class.  I do so, knowing that I surely won’t be able to mention everyone who deserves recognition. I will remember:Casey Cunningham

•           The amazing exuberance and passion for learning of Casey Cunningham;

•           The focused drive and  expectation for a quality learning experience every period, every day of  Meghan   Agostinelli;

•           The athletic prowess, leadership, and desire to help others become the best that they can be of Chris DeDecko;

•           The inner strength and perseverance of Dylan Murray, to turn his life around and become a very positive role model for others;

•           The energy, talent, and commitment of Ben Duncan in his academics, athletics, and music.

•           The humble unassuming vibrancy and courage of Lauren Clingan as she heads off as the third Sturgis student to be accepted at the most highly selective global university, NYU Abu Dhabi;

•           The creative talent of Jackson Fryer on the stage as he heads for New York to follow his dreams;

•           The tremendous growth of Sam Lawrence, who now knows there are so many interesting things in the world to learn beyond boats;

•           The quiet inner strength, academic drive, and athletic talent in tennis of Olivia Sequin;

•           The remarkable insight and ability in written expression of Alicia Pollard;

•           The leadership and commitment to serving others of Sara Sweeten;

•           And yes, the zany personality and infectious good humor of Kylie Mauro, that is when she was on time in the morning!

Aidan Milsted

Aidan Milsted

Class of 2013, we gave you wings—wings to soar, to question, to contribute, and to care about one another and making the world a better place.  Giving you wings to ensure your success was our goal, and we know that a piece of whatever you do, will come from your Sturgis roots.

I will end my words with my favorite quote about:

The Essence of Success

Successful is the person who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of children, who leaves the world better than one found it, who has never lacked appreciation for the earth’s beauty, who never fails to look for the best in others, or give the best of oneself.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!  Sturgis is proud of the wings that we have given you and– what you have become.  We hope that you cherish your roots in Sturgis.  Thank you.

Sturgis Class of 2013 – Curran Olson

Curran Olson

Alternative. The type of music I prefer, the different choice, the better of the two, hopefully. Sturgis for me has been the greatest choice and a fantastically rewarding decision. Being surrounded by motivated individuals pushed me to try and be a better student and person each day in order to rise to the excellence they displayed.  This community of people reinforced my decision and affirmed that Sturgis was where I needed to be.  I struggled academically in middle school and had a considerably lower work ethic than the one I will leave with today.  I received below average to failing grades and accepted them, without questioning if there was more I could do. Sturgis was the fresh start I needed and it was the teachers and students who finally reached me and forced me to see that there was so much more than the average.  The work was above average difficulty, my peers were above average open minded and the teachers provided above average attention. I was the outlier that needed to catch up once I began to see that being average was not average at Sturgis. That healthy competitive drive I developed in my first weeks of Sturgis, and never really could develop in sports, grew each year and is fully responsible for any of the successes of my last four years. Whether the immature desire to compare grades with your neighbor in Freshman History or the desperate need to get a 4 on your HL History paper 3 nearing the end of your senior year. Aspiring to be greater than your classmates, transitioned into wanting to be greater than your previous performances and compete against yourself felt like the natural progression of maturing that Sturgis created for me. I cannot thank Sturgis enough for aiding such a crucial transformation and giving me ample role models. Although physically it would be almost impossible to point out differences between my fourteen-year-old self and who I am today, there was a much greater movement going on within. The knowledge I gained in such a well-rounded manner, whether the science of global climate change or the science of how to treat others, elevated me to far greater heights than the five feet I stand at. My eyes may appear untouched, but the perspective of what they take in has broadened across cultures thanks to the International Baccalaureate influence.  Sturgis did not give me all the answers, but it did give me the tools to attack all the questions and to never accept mediocrity.  Therein that fact alone speaks to the greatest gift Sturgis has given me, the gift to believe in my own potential and see myself as my biggest competition. The ability to reflect that I am not the same struggling student I referenced before proves to me that challenge is worthwhile and instills confidence that college will only further develop me.  Sturgis also has instilled curiosity and a love of challenges, traits I find crucial to really enjoy and learn. I would never liken my time here to suffering because with the difficulty came more and more learning, the less work I am faced with the less learning and true knowledge received, my issue pre-Sturgis exactly.  I leave Sturgis with a huge respect for the teachers who passed down so much knowledge, but even greater respect for teaching me that I still and will always have so much to learn. Those who think that they have learned everything there is, truly know very little about themselves and how vast the nature of information is. I have learned essentially how to learn, which will be key in furthering my education and my curiosity to the next stages of life.

Senior Class Gift Presentation – Sara Sweeten and Shannon Kelly

Class Gift

Shannon Kelly & Sara Sweeten

We served on the senior class committee this past year which was responsible for the selection of the Class of 2013’s senior gift to the school. The most appropriate gift our Senior Class thought would represent not only our appreciation to the school but also the exposure we’ve had to different cultures through the International Baccalaureate. Our gift is a total of 15 country flags and two clocks. However, these clocks and flags weren’t chosen at random, they signify countries that mean something to our entire graduating class.

Having served on the Sturgis East Model United Nations team for four years, I’ve gotten the chance to represent countries worldwide. The flags of Macedonia, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, India, Sudan, Yemen, and Israel were selected because they have been the countries that the Sturgis Model UN team has represented since 2010. The flags of Canada, Peru, and France were selected because these are three of the school trips that many Sturgis students traveled on and had the chance to learn about these cultures first hand. Russia was selected as a result of the extensive 20th century IB history studies that all seniors pursued at some point, whether it be standard or higher level history. The flag of Wales was selected because Cardiff, the capital, is where the IBO headquarters is located.

Of these 15 nations, two were chosen to have clocks represent them as well. Clocks representing the time zones of Israel and France will be also be displayed in the lobby as a constant reminder of our global focus at Sturgis. We hope that the gift of the Class of 2013 will inspire the Sturgis community for years to come. Thank you.

 Ryan King Award presented by Carol Vari, Guidance

Mary Pawlusiak Receives the Ryan King Award

Mary Pawlusiak Receives the 2013 Ryan King Award

Ryan King is a Class of 2002 Sturgis alum who persevered through great adversity due to being hit by a car as she was crossing Main Street.  Her recovery was long and arduous, but her strength carried her through to graduation.  Ryan is now a high school teacher in southeastern Massachusetts.  The Ryan King Award winner is given a college scholarship by the Sturgis Parents Association.

The Ryan King Award is given to the graduating senior who most exhibits perseverance, determination, resolve and a positive attitude in their academic pursuits at Sturgis.

When you think about it, these qualities apply to all of the students graduating today:  they have all embraced the challenge of our IB curriculum, and despite occasional moments of doubt, have successfully completed their studies.

From the standpoint of our faculty, there is one student who most represents these qualities.  For this individual I would compare the journey through her high school years to a relay event, with a particularly rugged course.  Fortunately, this student has an uncanny ability to see and embrace opportunities and, at the most difficult junctures, has been open to the support that her teammates –teachers, guardians, co-workers and others – offered.  Her name is Mary Pawlusiak.

Through her own experience Mary came to see that “even small gestures can have a big impact.”  So rather than focus only on the rugged nature of her own relay course, Mary opened her heart and broadened her focus to include helping others.  Among her activities:  sending letters of support to active duty military personnel and coordinating the efforts of our Relay for Life team.

Mary, looking back I remember difficult times when you asked people to believe in you.  Those who know you believe in you.  More importantly, your journey has taught you to believe in yourself – your ability to persevere, to weather the demands of a particularly rugged course, and to change the world for the better, one step at a time.  Congratulations!

Sturgis Faculty – James Buckheit

Jim Buckheit

Jim Buckheit

To A Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan

When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along

beside you

as you wobbled away

on two round wheels,

my own mouth rounding

in surprise when you pulled

ahead down the curved

path of the park,

I kept waiting

for the thud

of your crash as I

sprinted to catch up,

while you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter,

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving


20130602-DSC05199Linda Pastan’s poem, entitled “To A Daughter Leaving Home”, captures perfectly the ambivalence and sobering surprise that many of you seated in front of me are feeling. For the 99 young men and women seated behind me, not so much. They, of course, can identify best with the exhilaration of taking off on their own, peddling faster, screaming with laughter. It all happens so fast, this growing up thing. Our daughters and sons are always more ready for it than we are.

Take comfort in the fact that the confidence you see beaming out at you from the stage is based on much more than accumulating credits on paper,  clearing arbitrary hurdles, or slipping away from our control. These young people have genuine reasons to be confident.

They have demonstrated the ability to cross all kinds of boundaries with a balance of sensitivity and genuine curiosity; the ability to devise and execute a strategy to learn something of deep personal interest; the ability to make sense of their high school careers and to plan a next step that is uniquely suited to each of them.

20130602-DSC05489Their self-confidence is justified. I’d like to encourage among the rest of you, especially the nervous moms and dads, a comparable level of confidence in them, and I think that’s best achieved through the students’ own words.

I’ve had the distinct privilege of engaging in deep dialogue with most of the graduates on the stage, sampling evidence of their insight, their wit, and their seriousness of purpose. I’ll share a few highlights, so you can see for yourselves. I won’t identify the writers and speakers, since I have time for only a few. But rest assured, they are truly representative of the entire class. And so….

The Collected Wisdom of the Sturgis Class of 2013 – Excerpts:

  •  “Understanding involves the ability to connect concepts to our own lives.”
  • “Everything we observe about the world comes to us through a filter – the filters of human sight, human touch, human hearing. … Yet having someone else do the interpreting for you is very different from being immersed in the detail yourself.”
  • “In order to better understand and empathize with our fellow man, we must be willing to acknowledge disagreements … as potential improvements on the present way of thinking.”
  • “Humans have to work together and care for each other to survive. Therefore it’s important that we understand people different from ourselves.”
  • “There are moments when keeping your mouth shut helps more people than it hurts. But there are other moments when keeping your mouth shut could mean the abuse and murder of many.”
  • “I can hoard my knowledge like dragon’s gold, using it to build up my own strength and resources. I can wield it like a weapon to bring others down; or I can give it and use it, freely, in love.”

Happy FamiliesGood stuff, huh? Faith in the legitimacy of direct, personal experience. Active valuing and seeking of perspectives different from one’s own. Deep appreciation of our interdependence and the responsibility that comes with it. Take heart, moms and dads. They really are ready.

Finally, in addition to commendations and congratulations, I’d like to express my gratitude, and that of my colleagues, to the class of 2013 for their leadership.

(To the Graduates) You have demonstrated, day after day in myriad ways, that true school spirit is not blind chauvinism. Rather, it is the spirit of community, acting on the belief that each individual’s sense of feeling accepted and safe is everybody’s business.  That’s the legacy you are passing on to your younger colleagues, and it’s the reason why a whole bunch of colleges will be stronger, better communities next fall.

Sturgis Class of 2013 – Alicia Pollard

Alicia Pollard

Alicia Pollard

Congratulations, class of 2013! We’re done – each of us were completely finished as we walked out of our last exam, whether you were like me and finished early with SL Math, or one of those brave souls who finished later with IB Music. Besides comparing notes on who failed which questions, what did you think as you walked out of the exam? Were you planning on meeting up with friends later, shopping, heading to the beach, going to practice, or maybe a really long nap? I don’t know if anyone – including me – thought about what exactly we’re going to do with the knowledge on which we were just tested, the knowledge Sturgis has given us.

After all, being knowledgeable is one of the traits of an IB learner. Whether your memory holds on to information for a long time, or loses it quickly, you know now a lot more that you didn’t know before – literature, math, science, history and other areas. You’ve learned about yourself – habits, preferences, strengths and weaknesses. Our IB exams tested how well we could remember and use that knowledge, but they shouldn’t be the only purpose of what we’ve endured. What are you going to do with what you know?

An easy answer is college. Plenty, maybe all, of us are going on to higher education, and even those who aren’t offered credits for IB will still be able to scoff at any freshman history course which covers the Cold War, or a literature course which studies Sula by Tony Morrison. We’ve learned to cope with an extremely difficult workload, so many of us will be sleeping soundly while our roommates inhale multiple cups of coffee. But is a relatively painless college experience the only thing we’ve gained?

One of the greatest gifts of an education is not only a list of facts or a few specific skills. We looked at the imaginings of wonderful writers, the construction of empires, the mathematical creations of great thinkers, the dreams of artists, and much more. We’ve sought truth by analysis and calculation, formed opinions and arguments. But I hope that we’ve won something even deeper: the wisdom and maturity to face adult life. No matter what GPA you earned or whether you achieved the IB diploma, the ability to make mature choices is one of the most valuable tools in that “real world” we always talk about. This is how we actually use our knowledge, instead of forgetting it and wasting all the time and effort it took to learn it. As Albert Einstein once said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

We know now to beware of any leaders who are seen throwing orange peels at their wives (Stalin reference, for those of you who were not in HL History). But seriously, we know to beware of any leader who uses a dictator’s “conditions”, such as nationalism, fear of a minority, or an unpopular government, to encourage hatred and violence.  Not of all us love literature, but at least we can see many layers of meaning in works which would have been indecipherable. Not all of us love math (that’s me), but it’s trained our minds in reason, cause-and-effect analysis, and order. These topics and the others have shown us how to use our minds to have a significant place in this world – and we are so blessed to have that power.

We build our lives every day, with each choice. But any house of cards will show you that careless building will ruin all your work, which is much harder to reconstruct in life. Education is one of the major building blocks, but not the only one: it’s your life choices, your purpose, which makes your foundation. No builder ever builds a real home on toothpicks, Play-Doh, or quicksand. But a wise builder makes his home on a firm foundation, on rock. For example, while having fun is perfectly fine, and I hope we all will in the coming years, it can be dangerous to make it your only purpose.

By way of encouragement – every person in this class has amazing potential. Don’t waste it on yourself! We live in a democracy, and every one of us has a say in the next presidential election at least – and others. We have a part in deciding on our leadership. But even more, we can be leaders ourselves; an intention to change people and places for the better can succeed in any career. Lead, teach, create, and serve with even more commitment than you had in tackling the IB, no matter where you go.

Even after all the essays and quizzes and projects and exams are done, don’t ever stop being a truth-seeker, or forming opinions, or making wise decisions. Life is too short and too precious to waste.

So, what are we going to do with the knowledge Sturgis has given us? I hope we use it – with courage, with wisdom, with integrity, and with love.

Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship presented by Eric Hieser

Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship Winner

Gretchen Buntschuh was a colleague of ours who taught English at Sturgis and influenced students and colleagues with her grace, insight and command of language.  Sadly, Gretchen died of pancreatic cancer in 2010.

The Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating senior who has demonstrated a genuine interest in literature and love of language. Following thoughtful deliberation, the scholarship committee and English Department faculty feel the senior who best embodies the spirit of Ms. Buntschuh’s gift and passion for language is … Alicia Pollard.

Alicia’s Senior English teacher, Stephen McDowell, provided the following description of her writing:

“Both precise and accurate, Alicia’s prose shows her sensitivity to language and to words themselves. She uses language with fluency and purpose.  Her talent was well-trained even before she entered Sturgis, but her concerted effort always to improve and express herself with art and clarity has made her a joy to teach.  Planning to major in English in college, Alicia will continue to succeed and grow as a gifted writer.  Her excellence as a writer is only surpassed, however, by her quality as a human being; it has been my honor to know her.”

In addition to this $500 scholarship, Talin Bookbindery in Yarmouthport has donated a beautifully hand-bound collection of Alicia’s essays and articles written during her four years at Sturgis.  Talin hopes to inspire fine young writers to continue writing and to develop an appreciation for the ancient craft of bookbinding. Congratulations!

Best Wishes to the Class of 2013 as They Head to the Following Colleges and Programs

Class of 2013

Class of 2013

American International College, American University, Assumption College, Boston College, Brandeis University, Bridgewater State University, Cape Cod Community College, Catholic University, Clark University, Concordia University-Montreal, Connecticut College, Cornell University, Dickinson College, Emerson College, Endicott College, Endicott College, Fordham University, Framingham State University, Georgetown University, Grove City College, Ithaca College, Kenyon College, Labouré College, Lasell College, Lesley University, Loyola University, Lyndon State College, Marist College, Marymount, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Meredith Manor Equestrian, Montserrat College of Art, NYU – Abu Dhabi, Occidental College, Rhode Island College, Roanoke College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, Smith College, Southern New Hampshire University, St. Andrews-Scotland, St. Anselm College, St. Joseph’s College of Maine, St. Michael’s College, St. Olaf College, Stonehill College, SUNY – Purchase, Kings College, Tulane University, UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, University of British Columbia, University of Maine-Orono, University of New Haven, Wagner College, Wheaton College, Wofford College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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