On a picture-perfect spring morning, Saturday, June 11, Solebury School graduated the Class of 2016 in front of family, friends and faculty.
“At Solebury School you had to work, often very hard, to achieve your success," said Head of School Tom Wilschutz. "What you have done, what you have accomplished, was hard. And it was also great. To finish something you began so long ago, to be sitting here today, is a great accomplishment. It required tenacity, resilience, determination, grit — together with wonder and awe and inspiration and passion.”
In addition to Tom Wilschutz, graduating seniors JR Madey, Carlos Lewis-Miller and Afrah Boateng spoke to their peers and the audience.
The Class of 2016 had selected English teacher Lauren Eckstein to speak during the ceremony, as well. "One simple life lesson that stays with me comes from my family," Lauren said. "When I was younger, I was eating dinner with my parents and sister one night and my dad started to choke. Or, at least we thought he was choking. We sprang into action, three shrieking lunatics walloping my poor dad on the back… and he was fine. Yet after the excitement, as my dad went back to finishing his meal, my older sister glared at him lovingly and said, ‘Chew carefully.’
"Since then, whenever we were going our separate ways -- where most families might say, ‘be safe’, ‘drive carefully’, or ‘I love you,’ -- we would just say ‘chew carefully.’ For us, the phrase came to encompass it all. It meant, be smart, be safe, make good choices and just be okay. So when I went off to college, as my parents dropped me off, my mother gave me a small picture frame. Inside the frame was not a photograph of our loving family, but a small, hand-embroidered piece of fabric that simply said “Chew Carefully.” I knew exactly what it meant.
Lauren concluded with, "Remember that we are proud of you. Remember that we believe in you. Remember that we can’t wait to see what you do next. And, even if you forget everything else, as you leave here, remember to be smart, be safe, make good choices and just be okay. Or in other words, chew carefully."