By Rick Pezzullo–
Earlier this month, 128 members of the Class of 2021 received their diplomas from The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry.
Life trustee and former board chair Edgar M. Masters H’98, who is retiring from the Board of Trustees after 51 years of service, opened the June 12 celebration by encouraging all attendees to “Let this be a moment when we pause to take in our many blessings.”
Reflecting on their tumultuous final year of high school, class Co-President Carolyn Hohl said that “Zoom calls, pass/fail classes, and learning from all corners of the world cannot and will not define us as a class. Instead, we are using these experiences to move forward, entering our world as strong, passionate adults. Class of 2021, we are the ones that are going to make a better world.”
Head of School Laura Danforth challenged seniors to consider the question: “What do you hope your legacy will be?” Invoking Edgar Masters as an example, Danforth said, “Half of the senior class is present today only because [Edgar Masters] believed we could retain the soul of our school while admitting young men as students.”
Dean of the Class of 2021 Eric Shear, who mentored the class since freshman year, expounded on how the students have “gone from separate individuals to a collection of individuals whose legacy on each other and this place is both profound and meaningful.”
Van Jones, CNN host and founder of The Dream Corps, was the commencement speaker.
“You don’t need any power to identify a problem,” Jones said. “You don’t need power to post about a problem. You don’t need power to hashtag about a problem. But you need power to solve one.” He added the most important skill students can foster to gain power and bring about change is “the ability to partner authentically across lines of difference.”
Jones encouraged the graduates, despite any barriers, to work hard and aim high.
“It doesn’t matter what you’ve gone through, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter how low you start or how low you feel,” he shared. “Only one thing matters in this world: How strong is your springboard, and how hard do you hit it? Hit the springboard, get as high as you can. Do good, and hit it with all thy might.”