Celebrating the Class of 2016!

On June 8th, the Meridian community came together to celebrate the school’s fifth graduation. We honored the work of Maia, Hobie, Elizabeth, Haben, Sabina, and Yvonne, and each of them also shared remarks of their own, ranging from poems to songs to personal reflections on their time at Meridian.

Humanities teacher and Upper School Dean Sarah Parker-Geller gave the commencement remarks, which centered on a question many Meridian students ask as they set forth into a world so continually afflicted with injustice and destruction: “What can I do?”

Sarah acknowledged that sometimes our own contributions can seem inconsequential in the face of such monumental challenges, but encouraged the students to remember words from two writers: 20th century African American poet Gwendolyn Brooks and French Enlightenment philosopher and writer Voltaire. Although their backgrounds are quite different, both promote a very similar approach to taking on the world’s challenges: support and nurture your community.

In Brooks’ ode to Civil Rights advocate, singer, and athlete Paul Robeson, she writes:                 

We are each other’s
business
we are each other’s
harvest
we are each other’s
magnitude and bond.

In Voltaire’s satire Candide, the title character offers similar advice for living in a troubled world: “Let us cultivate our garden.” As Sarah said in her remarks: “It is with this mantra that I answer the question of what we can do for our community—we can make it the best that we can, right here, right now.”

As this class of graduates enters the wide world beyond Meridian, we encourage them to remember these words when the challenges of our time feel overwhelming. Cultivate your garden, graduates, and many congratulations on this milestone!