Class of 2017 Graduation: Explore New Territory

The members of the Class of 2017 were celebrated for their unique qualities and individual and collective contributions during The Country School's commencement ceremony on June 9. In personal send-offs prepared for each of the 14 graduates, teachers paid tribute to every member of the Class of 2017.

Math teacher Bob McGee delivers a tribute.

Cameron A. responds to his tribute.

Middle School science teacher Meghan Flynn delivered the Commencement Address, urging graduates to "have the nerve to go into unexplored territory." Describing her transition from a Classical Studies and Medieval History major in college to a Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology major with an honors thesis in Organic Chemistry, Ms. Flynn spoke about how it is her nature to agonize over every single decision. She talked about being naturally indecisive and prone to procrastination, but told her audience that she has learned that, sometimes, it pays to "just do it."

Ms. Flynn described how, fresh out of Connecticut College as a scientist working for Bayer, she received a call out of the blue from her former high school Headmaster, Steve Danenberg. Now working as Head of School at The Country School, Mr. Danenberg was calling to see if she might be interested in teaching science at his new school. "Teaching? Children?" Ms. Flynn said, eliciting laughter from the audience. Nevertheless, she decided to visit The Country School, where she was asked to teach a spontaneous class on waves. According to her telling, the class didn't go so well. And yet, something inspired her to make the move.

"Here I am 14 years later," Ms. Flynn told her audience. "I persevered and apparently made the right choice. Had I thought about the offer any longer, I would not have made that move, nor would I have all these exasperating, exhausting, amazing, and wonderful experiences with all of my extended TCS family."

"So yes," she continued, "sometimes it pays step back and just do it. Be bold, be brave. Dare to try something new. Remember, when you embark for strange places, as you all will be doing shortly, don't leave yourself safely at the shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. If you don't stick your neck out, and push past your comfort zone, you will never have the opportunity to find your true calling."

Click below to watch Ms. Flynn's speech, which drew a standing ovation.

Students also had an opportunity to speak, with four members of the graduating class delivering speeches on behalf of their classmates. Speaking for the graduates were: Kaylee A., Sean K., Annabelle S., and Emily M.

Kaylee A. delivers one of the class commencement speeches as Marcat Knowlton,
retiring this year after 27 years at The Country School, looks on.

For more photos, see the TCS Photo Gallery

Congratulations and best of luck to the members of the Class of 2017 as they head off to the following schools:

Aspen High School
Cheshire Academy
Choate Rosemary Hall
Guilford High School
King School
Lyme-Old Lyme High School
Old Saybrook High School

You will be missed at The Country School. Please come back to visit often!