212.755.6666
220 East 50th Street
New York, NY 10022

 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Google Plus  Blog

I Love Graduation!

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

I’ve attended dozens of graduations in my lifetime.  They often follow the same format: a couple of prominent speakers (relative to the audience), a little laughter, a few tears, and graduates who don’t remember much about the ceremony a year, a month, or sometimes even a day after the fact.  Yet every once in a while, there’s a moment that stands out from the rest, ensuring that you’ll carry part of that graduation with you for a long time.

Our graduation ceremony this year had more than one of these moments.  It certainly didn’t hurt that our graduation speaker was Robert De Niro.  George Higgins, our headmaster, convinced him to speak by promising that “no one will remember what you said—do you remember what your graduation speaker said?”  And that statement is true for one big reason: this ceremony isn’t about who gave the commencement address, it’s about those who are graduating.  Friends, family, and faculty all come together to celebrate with these students who have achieved a major milestone, and these graduates are the true focus of the evening.  Our four speakers from the senior class were the most heartfelt, endearing, and poignant orators of the evening, sharing their stories of life before and during Beekman.  They recognize that everyone they’ve met at our school has a story, and that gives them a common bond.   Whether it was finding a program that made it possible to get a great academic education while pursuing a rigorous dance education, coming from a different country with no English skills to graduating as an honor-roll student four years later, or suffering a personal loss or overcoming a personal issue, they all found the support from our school community to keep moving forward.

Yes, laughter and tears were part of this year’s ceremony; however, the memory of this commencement will stay with me long after these students have started their first college classes this fall.  I look forward to the visits and emails we will receive from these new alumni, each letting us know how they’re doing with this next phase of their lives and how much they miss the home they found at our school. 

So congratulations, Class of 2014!  As Mr. DeNiro said, “Don’t panic” and always “Know Thyself.”