At Berkshire School’s 112th Commencement on Friday, May 24, longtime science teacher Peter Kinne offered some quintessential advice to the graduating class of 2019.
“I’ve learned that we either grow, or we wilt,” Kinne said. “I chose to grow, and I hope that you guys do, too.”
Kinne, who is retiring this spring after spending 39 years as a teacher at Berkshire, called the opportunity to serve as this year’s Commencement speaker “the greatest honor of my career.” He then urged the School's 123 graduates to treat others with kindness, and to continue being stewards of the environment.
“I truly believe that the Mountain has touched a part of your soul that you never knew existed,” he said. “Therefore, I have complete confidence that as you go forward from this place that you will be mindful of the fact that you guys are part of this planet, not apart from it.”
Drawing from a similar theme, sixth former Gohta Aihara told his fellow graduates to face the future with a sense of appreciation.
“We all know that getting out of a place where you feel safe and comfortable is extremely difficult. However, as you keep striving against the tides of your comfort, you will eventually find a land where you will be rewarded and feel accomplished,” said Aihara, who was chosen by his classmates as this year’s Weil Prize Speaker.
Members of the graduating class chose to give the Aliis Non Sibi Award to Director of Counseling Tess Adams, citing her “quiet, steadying and wide reach through the community.” The award is handed out each year to a member of the faculty who lives up to the motto, "for others, not ourselves."
An audience of over 800 gathered inside the Jackman Stewart Athletic Center to watch the graduates receive their diplomas. The ceremony included a performance of the National Anthem by sixth former Daniel Akomolafe and the Berkshire hymn by the school chorus, as well as top academic and athletic prizes.
Kinne, meanwhile, used his moment at the podium to also remind the class that learning is a lifelong process.
"So, one of my main messages to you as you embark on this new phase of life, is that the plan is perfect. The plan for your life is absolutely perfect. It’s going to unfold exactly as it’s supposed to. You’re going to meet the right people, you’re going to end up in the right places, and doing exactly what you’re supposed to do if you just commit to the process and trust your heart.”