Tabor Academy Graduation

On Saturday, June 2, Tabor Academy bid farewell to its senior class and its loyal, veteran headmaster, Jay Stroud. The Commencement Ceremony occurred in the Fish Athletic and Fitness Center due to poor weather; the change of scenery did little to damper the senior class or their family’s excitement.

For seniors, the occasion began in the Stone Gym as they met for parting conversations and pictures. After a final class picture, the Tabor Academy graduating class lined up to process to their final Tabor event. After the procession, Anne Gardiner, Director of the Chapel Program, delivered the call to celebration, citing the momentous accomplishments achieved and the senior’s success in completing their secondary education. Marion resident and senior Jacob Swift performed the National Anthem spectacularly; the Senior Class was seated and prepared for final addresses.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees Keith Browning announced a final greeting and Headmaster Stroud issued his final Commencement welcoming. Head of School and another Marion resident Andy O’Rourke was then called to deliver the Senior Address. In a heart wrenching speech, Andy recounted the difficulties, successes, and maturation of the high school seniors.

Following the Address, the Madrigal Singers performed “Turn the World Around” and Stroud introduced the Commencement speaker,. Robert Hallett. Hallett, Executive Director of the Edward E. Ford Foundation, had helped Tabor Academy in 11 appeals for grants from the Foundation. Remarking on how their education resembled investment, Hallett entrusted the graduating class with a responsibility to learn, grow, and give back to the people who have helped them.

In the final stage of the Ceremony, Senior Class President Kristen Nuttal presented the senior gift, which consisted largely of two parts. The senior gift was funding for both a monument in dedication of Headmaster Stroud’s commitment to Tabor Academy and a memorial for deceased member of the senior class, Jaqueline Desai, who died after a long battle against a rare form of bone cancer.

Director of Studies Joseph Doggett awarded prizes for academic, athletic, and citizenship excellence after which Browning presented diplomas. Amid clamors of applause, each member of the senior class stepped up to the stage to receive their diploma and a handshake from Browning and Stroud. In his final Benediction, Stroud congratulated and imparted goodbyes to each senior before bidding farewell to Tabor himself. In celebration of his final year at Tabor and the graduating class of 2012, Mr. Stroud leaped into the harbor, graduation gown and all.

“Finality” was the essence of the Commencement Ceremony, amplified by the fact that not only the class of 2012, but also Headmaster Stroud was departing. Tears flowed freely and embraces were shared among old friends as they recognized they had, for the last time, set foot on Tabor campus as students.  Goodbyes were said, promises exchanged, and with definitive finality, the senior class and Headmaster Stroud had graduated.

By Jake Farias

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