At Flintridge Prep's Commencement on June 2, as the seniors in the Class of 2022 made their way into the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the audience sent out an uproarious round of applause, marking a triumphant return to the traditional Commencement venue and a celebratory step towards college life.
"Tonight marks an ending, yes, but also a beginning: a Commencement," Head of School Vanessa Walker-Oakes said in her opening speech that evening. "It perhaps goes without saying that the Class of 2022 has had an unusual high school experience. We often reveal ourselves most authentically, however, not in good times, but in difficult times. Our values are not there for the days when living them is easy, but for the times when living them is hard. To the Class of 2022, you have demonstrated a commitment to our most fundamental, shared values in very difficult times. In whatever circumstances you have found yourselves, you have proven your kindness, respect, resilience, creativity, and commitment to community."
Commencement featured multiple speeches about this pivotal moment for the graduates, including Board of Trustees member and parent Jim L. Notley '88, Class Speaker Shane O'Neill '22, Benton Memorial Award winner Ashwin Sivakumar '22, and Founder's Trophy winner Lotte Brush '22.
Brush, O'Neill, and Sivakumar all weaved their own personal stories, experiences, and passions into their speeches that touched upon what it's like to navigate the unknown. For Sivakumar, an avid birder and budding ornithologist, he shared a unique analogy between a pigeon dodging a falcon and students entering the world beyond Prep.
"The nature that pigeons find themselves in is no different from the chaotic, confusing world we find ourselves in. Storms, torrents, and falcons await us on our journeys at every corner. And our flock, our graduating class, has ONE shot to navigate this indifferent universe and all the formidable global challenges that come with it," Sivakumar said. "How do we do it? Well, I propose that every one of us needs to be ready to be the pigeon that turns the flock. Every one of us needs to live at the margins. All of us need to explore the places no one else wants to explore, and dare to think the things no one else thinks of thinking."
Ahead of graduation, the seniors spent the evening of May 31 at their Baccalaureate Ceremony, an intimate event for pause, reflection, and reminiscing. Baccalaureate speaker, Board of Trustees member, and parent Srinivas J. Sarma ’89, as well as Walker-Oakes and Senior Class Dean Scott Myers, shared their experiences as students and as mentors as the students navigate their way through a wonderful, wild, and at times difficult experience that the Class of 2022 and so many others have had over the past few years.
Join us in congratulating the Class of 2022 on their graduation!