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Graduation 2013

Graduation at Milton is rich with tradition and favorite rituals many years old—formal and informal. For instance, the longstanding practice of electing the student speakers has assured seniors that they will, at their last Milton gathering, hear from classmates they have chosen. This year, students heard from Olivia Atwood and Harry Wood on June 7. Students also like to hear from graduates. This year, actress and comedienne Jenny Slate, Class of 2000, addressed graduates and guests during the formal commencement ceremony.

Use the links below to read speeches, watch the ceremony, and view photos from the day.

Class of 2013 graduates

Nicole Akosua Acheampong, Sharon, MA
Jazmine Harmony Alicea, Boston, MA
Sarah Marie Anderson, Brookline, MA
Lindsay Wells Atkeson, Beijing, China
Olivia Raine Atwood, Milton, MA
Samuel Lancaster Audette, Cambridge, MA
Alexandra Aulum-Pedersen, Ketchum, ID
Samuel Thomas Francis Barrett-Cotter, Milton, MA
Nelson Landers Barrette, Watertown, MA
Adam Grzybowski Basri, Konstancin, Poland
Amanda Ruth Beaudoin, Dedham, MA
Martin William Bernard, Sherborn, MA
Tyler Neill Billman, Brookline, MA
Nicholas Frost Bland, Milton, MA
Jessica Anne Blau, Fairbanks, AK
Kate Hendrik Bodner, Cohasset, MA
Oliver Toland Bok, Boston, MA
Jeffrey Michael Bortman, Natick, MA
Benjamin Hayes Bosworth, Dorchester, MA
James Duncan Bowden Jr., Wellesley, MA
Mary Frances Brown, West Barnstable, MA
Marjorie MacLean Burke, Dedham, MA
Kailey Marie Buxbaum, Medway, MA
Christopher Lee Cahoon, Hingham, MA
Danielle Saber Cahoon, Hingham, MA
Isabelle Houghton Carr, Dedham, MA
Haejun Cho, Republic of Korea
Jonathan Chuang, Gaithersburg, MD
Scott Ryan Cielinski, Crested Butte, CO
Emma City, Boston, MA
Samantha Susan Clifford, Bridgewater, MA
Daniella Claret Colombo, Roslindale, MA
Michael Kyle Cooke, Boston, MA
Chimene Nicole Paris Cooper, Dorchester, MA
Eliza Wincombe Cornwell, Edinburgh, Scotland
Julia Anne Cowen, Hingham, MA
Allegra Ann Cullen, Schenectady, NY
Samantha Jane Curran, Scituate, MA
John Casper Curtin, Wellesley, MA
Nalani Chinelo Daniels, Brooklyn, NY
Anne Anlan Deng, Katy, TX
Clare Severinghaus Dingle, Marblehead, MA
Margaret Claire Draper, Belmont, MA
Jonah Nathaniel Dwyer, Ontario, Canada
Johanna Marie Ebers, Hollis, NH
Allison Rose Edwards, Wellesley, MA
Joshua James Ellis, Milton, MA
Lydia Barton Emerson, Belmont, MA
Jonathan Cole Esty, Cheshire, CT
Jacob Joseph Farabee, Cicero, NY
Kirby Carylon Feagan, Aspen, CO
Hayley Morgan Fish, Needham, MA
Delaney Marie Flynn, Scituate, MA
Evan Harris Garnick, Weston, MA
Alexandra Elizabeth Gendron, Wellesley, MA
Tenzin Namzey Gentso, Malden, MA
Alessandra Marie Gianino, Norwell, MA
Alexandra Faith Golden, Chestnut Hill, MA
Ellyn Jane Golden, Manchester, MA
Thomas Edward Goode III, Norwell, MA
Andreas Graham, Kinnelon, NJ
Eva Taylor Grant, Milton, MA
Spencer Edward Gray III, Woolwich, ME
Jacob Nathaniel Greenberg, Jamaica Plain, MA
James Edward Haddad, Milton, MA
Shun Hagiwara, Tokyo, Japan
Lucie Madeleine Hajian, Newton, MA
Edwin Robert Hamlin, Dover, MA
Andrew Frederick Haser, Newton, MA
Henry Austin Hays, Boston, MA
Ryan MacArthur Heath, Center Sandwich, NH
Alycia Faith Hernandez, Lawrence, MA
Abigail Sterling Higgins, South Yarmouth, MA
Chester Guang Ming Holtz, Stamford, CT
Sarah Elizabeth Hombach, Libertyville, IL
Edward Avery Martin Hutchison, Kinderhook, NY
Adele Creola Huughe, Milton, MA
Kasia McKinda Ifill, Taunton, MA
Yuta Inumaru, Old Greenwich, CT
Genevieve Sophie Iwanicki, Norwell, MA
Mallika Tara Iyer, Windham, NH
Daniel Prakash Jagaselvan, Weymouth, MA
Natalie Pei Shang Jones, Hong Kong
Naavin Karimbux, West Roxbury, MA
Alexa Lynn Katz, Dover, MA
Grace Rose Kernohan, Milton, MA
Christopher Eugene Kim, Seoul, South Korea
Daniel Keeha Kim, Fort Lee, NJ
Alexander William King, New York, NY
Colin John Kohli, Wellesley, MA
Catherine Alexandra Kulke, Wellesley, MA
Zoe Louise Kurtz, Englewood, CO
Hye Jun Kwon, Suwon, Korea
Justin Chapin Lamere, Weston, MA
Alexandre Roy Lauretti, Cohasset, MA
Julien Roy Lauretti, Cohasset, MA
Enuma Yetunde Lawoyin, Glenwood, MD
Brittany Eugenia Lee, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Sung Hoon Lee, Seoul, South Korea
Lee Merritt Levitan, Milton, MA
Grace Zou Li, Milton, MA
Jessica Li, Lynnfield, MA
Kevin Dorsey Lynch, Paradise Valley, AZ
Kevin Wen Ma, Edison, NJ
Nicholas George Maragos, Milton, MA
Erica Christine Mathews, Waban, MA
William Littell McBrian, Dedham, MA
John Patrick McDonough, Milton, MA
Michael Terence McGee, West Roxbury, MA
Julia Johnson McKown, Milton, MA
Liam Donald McNeil, Bridgewater, MA
Jason Scott Mercer, Milton, MA
Jeremy Charles Mittleman, New York, NY
William Griffin Mixter, New York, NY
Cole Richard Morrissette, Bristol, RI
Max Emilio Motroni, West Warwick, RI
Nelson Mugabo, North Kingstown, RI
William Patrick Murray, Falmouth, MA
Ryota Raymond Nakada, Tokyo, Japan
Oona Newman, Brooklyn, NY
Ikemefuna Omekaenyi Ngwudo, Baldwin, NY
Maximos Nicholas Nikitas, Plymouth, MA
Edward Chuke Nwachuku, Montgomery Village, MD
John Marshall Oda-Gallagher, Quebec, Canada
Osaremen Fortune Okolo, Canton, MA
James Cameron Oliver, Duxbury, MA
Nicholas Edward Pagliuca, Weston, MA
Sara Yang Yue Pearce-Probst, Cambridge, MA
Charles Bartlett Perkins , Norfolk, MA
Alexandra Carrol Perry, Wellesley, MA
Shannon Elizabeth Peters, Boston, MA
Olivia Frances Pincince, Wellesley, MA
Joshua Isidor Pomper, Newton, MA
Philip Kristoffer Powers, New York, NY
Jordan Fay Quintin, Raynham, MA
Elizaveta Reznichenko, Lexington, MA
Jesse Schell Rice, Brookline, MA
Ryan Robert Rizzo, Needham, MA
Claire Elizabeth Robertson, Wellesley, MA
Kali Kwaku-Kambuii Robinson Jr., Dorchester, MA
Adam Matthew Rochelle, Natick, MA
Edward Dolan Rodat, Cambridge, MA
Matthew Carter Rohrer, Katonah, NY
Charlotte Rachelle Ross, Newton, MA
Daniel Nicholas Rubenstein, Brookline, MA
Skye Shasha Russell, Milton, MA
Javon Micah Etienne Ryan, Boston, MA
Anthony James Sabitsky, Sicklerville, NJ
Menaka Sachdev, Arlington, MA
Duncan Henry Sewall, Milton, MA
Michael Adam Sheehan, Weymouth, MA
Robert William Shepard, Dover, MA
Lillie Nicole Simourian, Dover, MA
Elizabeth Rider Siphron, Dedham, MA
Jacquelyn Marie Smith, Weymouth, MA
Calvin Ching Lam So, Hong Kong
Eunji Song, Seoul, South Korea
Ari Jonathan Spilo, Greenwich, CT
Ellen Sukharevsky, Newton, MA
John James Sullivan, Westwood, MA
Matthew Thomas Sullivan, Brunswick, ME
Liane Grace Thornhill, Milton, MA
Arielle Ticho, Newton, MA
Sophia Daphne Tsanotelis, Milton, MA
Elliott Ross Vorel, Boonton, NJ
Matrez Malik Wade, Boston, MA
Nina Shekhar Wadekar, Westwood, MA
Charles Vincent Wang, San Francisco, CA
Allison Julia Ward, Wellesley, MA
Sage Marissa Warner, Scituate, MA
Caleb Nathaniel Warren, Cambridge, MA
Victoria Jacqueline Wee, Singapore
Monique Joan Sophia Williams, Kingston, Jamaica
Isabel Vilar Wise, Wayland, MA
Harry Maddox Wood, Andover, MA
David Jasen Yang Xian Wu Wong, Milton, MA
Julia Ximan Xiong, Albany, NY
Carina Ciliotta Young, Needham, MA
Tristan Vladimir Zeman, Westport, CT
Anna Wonmi Zhang, East Sandwich, MA
Lisa Zhou, Ontario, Canada
Natasha Maria Zuzarte, Tiverton, RI

Watch graduation ceremony

Olivia Atwood '13 speech

Thank you, Dr. Dregalla. That introduction was quite nice. Given that I quit the orchestra in ninth grade I was expecting you to say, “Olivia Atwood is my greatest…disappointment. With the flute, she was like a child prodigy, without the prodigy part.” But thank you—that meant a lot to me. And while we’re on the topic of thanking, thank you, universe, for making the ten paces to this podium accident free. My shoes are like mini-stilts. Mr. Bloom, Mr. Bland, Mr. Ball, Mr. Bill, that’s my dad, and all other people whose name starts with B, trustees, faculty, staff, parents, and, of course, the Class of 2013, thank you.

For the past 13 years of my life, I have effectively lived here, at Milton Academy. I know this place pretty well. But today, today is different. This is all very, very new. My first thought this morning was, Oh hey, we graduate today, that’s new. But the more critical thought was, Today, I wear white. I’ve never worn white before. It makes me look like a ghost. I don’t think I’ll even show up in photographs. The people watching this ceremony live on the Internet are going to be like, “Wait, I thought there was a graduation speaker. I can’t even see anyone.”

But seriously, in the past month, aside from doing my senior project for the full eight hours a day… obviously… I spent some time reflecting on just how far we’ve all come since freshman year. How much we’ve all changed in four years. For me, the change that stands out most is that I’m no longer afraid to talk to people.

My freshman year I was afraid of my classmates. In 2009, I was still really small and short, the size of your average, oh I don’t know, your average loaf of bread, and most of the guys sitting behind me were close to the same size then as they are now. I know they’re sitting down now, so it’s hard to tell, but I promise, they’re animals. I’ve made this point to my classmates before, but I really just want to talk to the moms out there:  Mothers, your children are massive. They are beasts. I don’t know what you fed them growing up, but good job. So, anyway, freshman year I was the size of a kernel of corn and terrified of everyone. For example: freshman year orientation. We had three legged-races where every freshman would pair up with a senior and tie one leg to that senior’s leg and then dash to the finish line. I was paired up with Addison Williams. He’s a legend here. Tall, dark, handsome, you name it, he was it. I came up to about his knee. At the start of the race, he took off like a loping gazelle with me tied to his ankle and just dragged me all the way to the finish line. We won by a mile, and I’m pretty sure he just dusted himself off and walked to the cafeteria without realizing I was still strapped to his leg.

I was so shy that during freshman year health class, I pretended to be mute because one day a boy sitting next to me was like, “Do you even talk? Oh…wait…you’re one of those mime people, aren’t you?” And I just thought it would be easier to nod and go along with that instead of speaking up and correcting him, so… Brad Kimball, I know you don’t go here anymore, but for the record, I am not a mute.

But, somehow, over the course of the past four years, we all found our voices. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I think it came down to three things: One, we were surrounded by people who supported and encouraged us. Two, we stopped worrying about what other people expected and became ourselves. And three, we were brave. So, my advice, going forward, is first, surround yourself with people who support you. For some, that is a sports team, a club, an advisory, your dorm mates. For me, this year, that support group was the freshmen. This year, I was placed in two all freshman classes, and let me tell you, I owned. As a senior, I rocked the freshman class. Fourteen-year-olds are delightful! I was in freshman P.E. for two seasons, and I was practically Venus Williams. A pale Venus Williams. I was picked first for every team, which never happens to me (probably because walking to the top of Ware Hall nearly gives me an asthma attack, and I don’t even have asthma.) I didn’t understand their admiration, but I loved it. In freshman French, when we learned our ages, it went something like this—and this is a translation—I am 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 18, 14, 14. Perhaps it was my advanced age that impressed them, but I like to think it was my capacity for language, even though I consistently said “possiblement,” which isn’t even a word. I felt like one of those celebrities who is famous for no reason. However, in the end, those freshmen really taught me something. It’s good to surround yourself with people who encourage you and make you feel comfortable. And freshmen are those people! Rising seniors, special note here: Be nice to the freshmen! My little brother’s going to be in that class, so, enough said.

The other essential thing in finding your voice is not letting other people define who you are. Turn down the volume on their voices and stop tuning in to their expectations. Sophomore year, I tried desperately to fit in. I was taking my first creative writing class, and I tried to write like the older kids. In my first attempt at a poem, I used the words “yearning,” “whisper,” “surge,” “ardor” and “thrust” all in the first sentence. To their credit, the seniors in my class did not vomit while reading it, and after getting to know me, my class and Ms. Baker helped me find my real voice and my target audience. Turns out, I was meant to write for 12-year-old pre-pubescent girls, not bearded men in jazz clubs. Who knew? The support I got from my class helped me be myself and feel more confident, and this year in Mr. Connolly’s class I wrote poems for actual adults.

And then, this spring, I started talking to actual adults. I got a job as a part-time-door-to-door-get-a-free-estimate-on-getting-your-windows-cleaned-salesman-person-woman. That was my actual title. As the title suggests, I went part time, door to door, trying to give free estimates on people’s windows as a woman. Window cleaning. Frankly, I didn’t even know windows needed to be cleaned. I thought that the rain would take care of that. But let me just give you a quick snip-it of what it was like: Knock, knock, knock. Hi, would you like—NO. Okay. Good talk. That’s what I thought. About ten minutes into the job, I realized something important. I hate this job. But also, I realized I needed to be brave and keep trying. About 25 houses later, I made my first sale! Okay, it was my own house and the person who answered the door was my mom. Shockingly enough she was interested, and signed up right away. And that’s what I mean, about being brave. After getting that support and encouragement from my mom, I made more sales. It’s hard to speak up, especially when you are outside of this cozy Milton community, or any community at all. When we head to college, some doors may be slammed in our faces. And underclassmen, you might not get that role in the play that you wanted. Grown-ups, you might not get that promotion or close that deal or get that thing…relating to that job…that you do. But, you have to keep knocking. You have to open those doors. And we need to be brave. And we’re ready. Some people want their windows cleaned! And juniors, some college will want you! And someone will take you to prom! But you have to be brave enough to put yourself out there, 100 percent, and speak with your own voice. High school is too short to be afraid. It’s too short not to try out your own voice. These are important years, and we don’t want to spend them pretending to be someone else or no one at all.

So, surround yourself with people who will encourage, support and challenge you. Then, turn down the volume on the voices that are not your own and start being yourself. Finally, be brave. Speak up. Tell Addison Williams to untie you. Knock on a lot of doors. Clean a lot of windows. I don’t really know what all these metaphors mean, but it will give you something to think about while they’re handing out diplomas. That’s all I have. Thank you to my phenomenal teachers and, to my amazing classmates, to the artists, dancers, singers, athletes, musicians, thinkers—today, we stop being the Class of 2013 and start being the Class of 2017, and we’re ready. Imagine the possiblements that lie ahead. And that’s not even a thing. Thank you.

Harry Wood '13 speech

So, I promised four people that if I ever was in the position to thank people in a speech, I’d thank them first. So thank you, Mom, Dad, Mrs. Goldstein and Mrs. O’Connell. Two of you made it today. If anyone sees my parents, point them over here, thanks. Also, thank you to Dr. Dregalla, Ms. Engstrom, Mr. Bland, the trustees, and all the teachers who have to listen to me open my mouth one more time. Also, of course, the Class of 2013.

When I was a kid, I loved the comic strip Peanuts. I related a little bit to all of the characters, but Linus was one that stuck out to me. I loved that he was a little kid with big kid ideas, but he still had his security blanket with him at all times. I was a fan of security blankets, myself. I actually brought my own “clean blankies” with me today. But there was one Linus-centric comic that stuck out to me. That’s a lie. I Googled “Linus quotes” and this one made sense. But for the purpose of the theatric, IMAGINE it stuck out to me. In it, Linus is talking to Charlie Brown, and he says, “I guess I talk too much. Yesterday my Grandma drank thirty-two cups of coffee… I shouldn’t have said anything. I suggested that her drinking thirty-two cups of coffee was not unlike my need for a security blanket. She didn’t like the comparison.” I find this to be a great Linus-ism for the way we live our lives. When we’re young, we fight intangible fears—monsters, ghosts, the dark, wetting the bed—with tangible objects, like a blanket, that we imbue with intangible protective strength. But as we get older, and our problems become more tangible, it becomes taboo to carry a blanket around with you, so our methods of protection must become intangible, and we must imbue them with tangible strength. Life is a series of scary leaps and bounds: We have to open ourselves up to the possibility of failure if we want to aim for success. So today, I want to suggest three different places we can all look to build our own security blankets: our community, our pasts, and our selves. So I’m going to wear these blankets as a Tallis—that one’s for my grandparents—and give you all a little lesson.

Another classic Peanuts strip—I can’t believe I’m just reading comics to you guys. That’s like the most taboo thing to do ever. Anyhoo, it finds Linus sitting, eyes closed, thumb in mouth, triumphantly declaring to the world, “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.” On one side, he has a point. One of the scariest parts of growing up is coming to terms with the fact that what we expect of people and what is reality are rarely going to be the same. But there is one place Linus came up short: Whether we can stand them or not, people are essential to the forming of our security blankets. Look, a lot of the steps we have to take through our high school and college years are individual steps. But this doesn’t mean we have to take them alone. The existence of a strong support network—one that’s there for you without fail, when you need it to be—is imperative. It’s like this: Recently, with all my time I should have spent being productive, I watched a bunch of episodes of HBO’s Girls. The show follows a group of young twenty-somethings as they struggle to make it to security in New York City. Myself being quite possibly a future young twenty-something struggling to make it in NYC, a lot of the show resonates with me. But nothing quite as much as this: No matter how high the individual stakes may climb, it’s the support of friends—or lack thereof—that keeps most of the characters afloat. So in the end, the takeaway is this: If you use nudity tastefully but unabashedly, HBO will pick you up for a three-season run. No, wait. The main takeaway is that, while we can accomplish a lot on our own, the kind of community and support that Milton gives us is invaluable in keeping us secure. Treasure it. Onto our pasts!

Throughout his Peanuts tenure, Linus often comes off as wise beyond his age. But at the same time, many of his characteristics—his thumb sucking, his blanket-toting—are staples of early childhood. For the next step in building our blanket, we need to learn to create our own comfortable balance of old and new. Now, this is where I would say, “I’m not saying you should suck your thumbs or anything,” but I am. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Or, almost exactly. As we move forward with our lives, we’re often tempted to only think of how we can progress, and ignore completely the periods we’ve left behind. But often, our best paths to security lie in our pasts. In fact, our brains are wired to find comfort and security in our pasts. Much like a baby is soothed by sucking its thumb, an adult can find comfort in different stimuli: old music, a favorite childhood movie. Even specific kinds of “comfort foods” actually release endorphins into the bloodstream, making us happier and relaxed. And of course, there’s the most important part of our upbringing, whoever actually brought us up. Whether it was your parents, an older sibling, or a mentor that meant a lot to you, keeping in touch with these people is key, because they understand you. Whenever someone tells me they can’t wait to “get away” to college, it makes me kind of sad. College is exciting. Heck, change is exciting. We always strive to the new. But we shouldn’t be afraid to bring our past with us, as long as we think of it less as baggage, and more as just another part of our security blanket.

But in the end, there’s no more important part of the equation than our selves. While we can learn important lessons from Linus, and take comfort from our community, and our pasts, in the end, our security can come from nowhere but our selves. The key to this is understanding a certain misconception. Many believe that true self-security can only be found by eliminating our own “defects.” However, that train of thought just places a stigma on what makes us unique, making individuality something one should be ashamed of, something that needs to be removed. Instead, we need to learn to own our insecurities. By understanding who we are, we can become stronger than if we simply tried to shove what defines us under the rug. When I first arrived at Milton, I was terrified of not fitting in. The kids in my dorm “got huge,” and played “sports,” and I was still about 60 percent sure that bench-pressing literally referred to lifting a bench. But I was me, so I went off and auditioned for a play—The Visit—and got a role, and did my thing. At that point, I was the only kid in Wolcott doing theater. In fact, there weren’t a lot of boys doing theater, period. But it was what I enjoyed doing the most. I still remember opening night, going out on stage for my first scene. I was nervous, but having a good time. But the moment I walked out on stage, I heard a contingent of Wolcott boys shouting my name. It was that moment, even if it took me a while to realize it, that told me everything would be okay. Milton’s a fantastic place, where hockey players can co-exist with writers and singers, and oftentimes, all those traits combine in one person. It would have been too easy for me to bow my head, work on fitting in, and try to blend in with the crowd. But doing that is the exact opposite of the solution. Don’t be afraid of your insecurities. Own them, instead of letting them own you, and you can turn them into some of your greatest strengths.

One more comic for you: Linus is talking to Charlie Brown, and he says, “Look Charlie Brown, you have fears and you have frustrations, am I right? Of course I’m right! So what you need is a blanket like this to soak up those fears and frustrations!” Class of 2013. You’re behind me, but I’ll keep staring dramatically forward. We’re heading off into a scary, heady, exciting time in our lives. I wish I could hand you all clean blankies with your diplomas as you cross the stage, because no matter how old we are, there are always times when we need a blanket. I just hope the one I’ve built for you today will be enough to keep you going. So, look to your community. Look to your pasts. Look to yourselves. After all, as Linus said, “Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.” I ran out of relevant quotes. Good luck, best wishes, and thank you again.

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GRADUATION SPEAKERS

Jenny Slate ’00, Actress and Comedienne
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Todd Bland, Head of School
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Olivia Atwood ’13
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Harry Wood ’13
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