If Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School had a new tagline, it would be “tradition.”
From the old and the new, traditions were at the forefront of the school’s graduation ceremony Friday evening at Neel Performing Arts Center.
Every graduate in the 42nd Falcon senior class again will go to college; 51 percent out-of-state and 49 percent in-state.
Prekindergarten students dressed in golden graduation gowns and caps crooned a Saint Stephen’s version of Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American” for the 16 Forever Falcons, students who have been at Saint Stephen’s from start to finish, and the rest of the graduating class.
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A new marine science curriculum called One Ocean inspired a heartfelt traditional senior class gift for classes to come: a new holding tank to study specimens from McLewis Bayou.
Remarks made by seniors Matthew Israel, Sabel Duncan and Nicholas Runde touched on the past, present and future. Runde comically predicted the future of his classmates with his “magic graduation cap,” poking fun with inside jokes of obsessions with report cards and tuition costs.
Continuing another tradition, 10-year alumnus Dr. Nicholas Mollanazar gave the graduation address. At first, he said he questioned what wisdom he could give the class, noting he himself stopped paying tuition this past year and started earning a salary.
He gave six pieces of advice:
- “Search for things you are passionate about.
- “Becoming great at something is hard regardless of how passionate you are.
- “Expect to fail.
- “Don’t let people say you can’t succeed.
- “There is no one version of you.
- “You can never call home too much.”
The latter he quickly corrected, saying “lesson number six is really ‘call your mom.’”
Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
Graduating class: 42nd
Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Mollanazar, 2006 Saint Stephen’s graduate
Shining moment: Prekindergarten students sang a version of “I’m Proud to be an American,” with Saint Stephen’s-style lyrics “I’m proud to be at Saint Stephen’s, where our clothes are green and gold!”
Interesting: Senior Zack Gromko was accepted to Stanford and MIT, a Saint Stephen’s first. He’ll attend MIT on scholarship.
Best quote: “Lives are not lived by a series of singular moments; how and what you choose to spend your time on a daily basis matters,” said Mollanazar.