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Fanfare for the Class of 2019 at Commencement

It was a beautiful day when Tabor awoke on May 31: Commencement Day! To begin, we gathered in Chapel to mark our last moment together as the 2018-2019 school community, just before everything would change. As the Seniors filed out to thunderous applause, we were losing them to the momentum of the day, to their families, to their futures…but there was that one last time together: the seniors leading us in the alma mater, singing loud and proud: “Broad Seas Before Us Lie!” Indeed.

Then, off we went to the Grand Tent for the grand event, the business of the day at Tabor. Before handing off the program to our speakers, Mr. Quirk declared the class “ready to roll!” But asked the class first to pause in order to share some well-deserved thanks to parents, faculty, and friends. After recognizing our retiring and departing faculty, he thanked the class for the mark they had left on our school through the wide-reaching contributions our seniors have made each and every day. Carmine Martignetti ’71, Chairman of the Board, followed to add his thanks to the students, and to the community gathered, for enhancing the work of our great school.

Picking up on the theme of thanks, our student Co-Head of School Sophie Browning ’19 shared how Tabor had helped her to identify and intensify her passions. She encouraged her classmates to not be rushed into life’s milestones, but to continue to pursue their passions. “Education can lead to material success, but don’t separate yourself from the true essence of your being.” Paraphrasing Bob Marley’s quote, “my richness is life….” She reminded us not to be defined by material things saying, “Your wealth is your passion. Our richness is life.” Her classmate and Co-Head of School Owen Sughrue shared a few vignettes of people at Tabor who had cared for him over the years, making a difference in his life at Tabor. He encouraged the class to go out and find the people who most appreciate the wonder around them, and who will really care about them, and forgive their mistakes. Further, he asked his classmates to be that sort of person for others, sharing his confidence in them by saying “You have been those people to me.”

Newly elected Faculty Emerita, Kelli McSweeny, took the stage to give the Commencement Address, sharing a funny, heart-warming speech about her path to teaching and her love of her career at Tabor. A stickler for the rules, she joked with the class that she would no longer be giving them points for “behavior unbecoming of a Seawolf.” Instead, she hoped to impart some lasting motivation by sharing what it means to be an influencer, as she sees all teachers, as well as some wisdom about the concept of “most of the time.” She encouraged seniors, through the story of two teachers in her life, to remember that influencers can be positive or negative. As is her nature, she urged positivity and asked them to remember that “Smart inspires smart, so pay it forward.” She said, after humorously sharing her early career ambitions, that sometimes life gets in the way of big ideas, but “when one is content with ‘what is,’ then one has no need for ‘what if.’” She said, “For the past twenty-nine years, I have been able to do a job that I love…most of the time. I work in a community that I love…most of the time…with people that I love…most of the time. And ‘most of the time’ has been more than enough.” She urged her students to find a purpose in life that would challenge and delight them most of the time saying, “Do work that is real and meaningful, and you too will be happy most of the time!”

As we moved on from the speeches to recognize academic achievement through the Cum Laude Society induction, and several more commencement awards for scholarship, citizenship, and leadership, it was at last time for the hearty cheers from fellow classmates and family as we conferred the degrees. Before we knew it, it was done. The faculty filed out, the Class of 2019 followed after and between them: Another incredible chapter closed.

Before the hugs and goodbyes between teardrops and smiles, Mr. Quirk asked the class to “think often of this spot on Sippican Harbor and come visit from time to time.” We will wait patiently here at Tabor, looking forward to when we will meet again. But, until then, as Mr. Quirk said at last, “Take care of yourselves; good people are scarce.”

Please visit our landing page for photos, a recap video, a list of our Commencement and Prize Day Award winners, and all the speeches. A full video of the proceedings will be added to the landing page by July 1.
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