Commencement 2022

The Class of 2022 Rises Above the Unexpected,
Ready to Peacefully Transform the World

On Saturday, June 11, Friends’ Central held its 177th Commencement honoring the Class of 2022. The rain forecast threatened to cause some chaos just as the proceedings began, but, fortunately, only a few drops were felt towards the end of the ceremony, and the graduates were able to be celebrated as they richly deserved. 

Clerk of the Board of Trustees James C. Wright began the program with a reading of the moving and timely poem “Give Us Our Peace” by Langston Hughes. In her greeting which followed, Head of School Beth D. Johnson ’77 recognized the faculty, staff, and administrators in every division who, she said, “consistently gave their all through another year of COVID-19 and other historic and unprecedented events.” She thanked the families of the graduates for choosing Friends’ Central. “These students are intelligent, knowledgeable, and talented scholars, artists, athletes, inventors, leaders, directors, activists,” she said, “and they learned through inquiry, reflection, action, and discovery. They are incredible, and together, families, we have given them the tools they need to be successful in college and beyond.”

“These students are intelligent, knowledgeable, and talented scholars, artists, athletes, inventors, leaders, directors, activists, and they learned through inquiry, reflection, action, and discovery. They are incredible, and together, families, we have given them the tools they need to be successful in college and beyond.”

Beth D. Johnson ’77, Head of School

Addressing the graduates directly, Beth said, “Despite the trials associated with your 10th, 11th and 12th grade years, you have risen – risen above circumstances, risen above news of atrocities, risen above the lack of control in your lives – and you became mentors to younger students, leaders on campus and beyond; citizens who would not stand for the status quo but who participated in conferences, walks, marches, and more. We know you as exceptional young people who are strong, flexible, resilient, and creative, and who will peacefully transform the world. We are, in many ways, in awe of you and your accomplishments, and we wait with excitement to hear about you in the future.”

Theresa Moloy-Brinkley ’22

The two student speakers were Theresa Moloy-Brinkley and Daniel Saligman. In her speech, Theresa shared her admiration for her classmates, highlighting both the diversity of the class and the diversity of its goals. “The Class of 2022 is unparalleled,” she said, “with seniors receiving selective scholarships, directing their own amazing plays, and being great contributors to their classes, teams, and clubs.” She shared that an ability to reach out to others for help is essential to being a good leader. “You will always have a support system. Identify it, and more importantly, use it; you are never alone; as we move on, you may feel like you are, but I’m here to tell you, you are not.”

In his speech, sharing a humorous story about what might, in a different environment, have been a humiliating middle-school moment, Daniel talked about how his classmates had always provided a sense of belonging. “I was able to be unapologetically myself throughout my time at Friends’ Central,” he said. “This class is such a unique place where everybody can be accepted for who they are.”

Daniel Saligman ’22

Thinking back on his time at FCS, Daniel said, so many unique moments came to mind, causing him to reflect on the very definition of a “moment.” “Moments are special,” he said. “They are what we call upon when we remember experiences of joy or sadness, laughter or sorrow. … The only thing that is promised to us as humans is the moment we are in …. We are not guaranteed the next moment, and that is important to realize. As the members of the Class of 2022 go on with their lives and live through their moments, they have to be confident in themselves and their decisions.”

Deborah Skapik, Upper School science teacher and mother of 2022 graduate Adele Goldader, gave the faculty address in which she exhorted the Class of 2022  to “expect the unexpected.” “Expecting the unexpected leads to flexibility in the future, patience with the present, and appreciation of our past. Expecting the unexpected gives us permission to not always know the answer,” she shared. “What is essential, though, is being open to receiving unexpected answers to life’s big questions.”

“As you graduate Friends’ Central today,” Deborah concluded, “you may not know what to expect of your future, but we, the adults who love you, know with absolute certainty that you leave here equipped to face it head on, and that you’ll all figure it out.”

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