Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Circle of Westover: A Graduation Speech
May, 1993by Annie Salsich
Good morning Mr. & Mrs. Molder, faculty, students and friends. Two weeks ago the Class of 1993 attended a dinner with the Governors of Westover School. At this dinner we were formally welcomed into the world of the alumnae and informed that soon we would no longer be inside of Westover looking out but rather outside looking in. For myself and, I believe, for many of my classmates, this was the first time that I truly understood and even recognized my imminent departure from these yellow walls surrounding us today.
It is almost impossible to believe that in only a few hours we will no longer be students here at Westover School, that we will never again attend morning assembly to hear the amusing personals or to witness yet another bizarre Westover skit, nor will we gather together in the fall to watch and maybe join in as the new girls enthusiastically fill the quad with loud cheers for the team that they have chosen to be a part of during their years at Westovet. It is difficult to believe that we are leaving the place that has been “home” for us for either the past one, two, three or even four years.
Today we will all join hands on the soccer field while being held in by the secure circle of underclassmen around us. This will not be the first time that we gather in this way, joined together by the holding of hands, but it will be the last. We have all grown accustomed to speaking to each other, listening to each other. and singing within this familiar circular formation: throughour the year the Wests, the Overs, and the seniors gather around their trees to sing; we all learned to say what we felt and what we thought and to listen silently and thoughtfully as the entire school gathered in a circle in chapel in what we called a Quaker meeting; and only a few days ago ar the long awaited Lantern ceremony, we celebrated the transition of the new girls to old girls and welcomed them into the comfortable and secure circle of students and the faculty. Even in our everyday schedule we naturally form circles when communicating with each other, whether it is in classes, at lunch, in class meetings, in student council or senate, or out on the sports field when warming up.
Today we continue rhe tradition of holding hands and gathering together; yet, this is the last time that the 39 girls sitting in front of you today will take part in this Westover tradition. When we leave the circle, we will leave as graduates of Westover School, and for an extended moment there may arise in us a sort of panic or fear of what comes next and possibly a doubt of whether we will ever feel the same security that we feel in that circle. The time that we have spent here at Westover is unlike any other time. The friends that we have made, the classes that we have taken, the teachers that have taught us to appreciate and enjoy the education which we are receiving, are all things that have shaped us and helped us to find who and what we want to be an rc stan us on the road to achieving that.
As we encirded quad at the end of the Lantern ceremony with the light shining brightly from each of our lanterns, I realiced how, in a way, Westover and the time spent here is like a well-kept secret. The traditions that we go through hee cal-I only be understood and cherished by us. In the quad on ±ar quiet night. I realiced how extremely lucky we all are to be a parr of this secret, to he brought together with girls from different cultures and beliefs from all over the world, and to bec:rne a parr of their lives and their memories and they a part of ours- The security that we obtain here is one or many opporruniries, one that allows us to be an individual and vet, still be a pan of the united circle that is formed throughout \Vestover. Although it may seem when we depan from that circle today that we are leaving something precious and important behind, we will he taking with us the friendships, the knowledge and, most importantly, the securim- that we have gained here. When we join hands today inside the all-encompassing circle of Westover, we will never truly evet leave; we will always be a part of this School and of each other.
In our years at Westover, each one of us has changed and become someone confident and strong. With this strength and confidence we have gained, we are prepared to venture off and always cam- w-ith us our memories of Wesrover. Iris true that taday marks the end of our days at Westover and that we will soon depart from the circle that we have been a part of for some time. It is true that we will no longer be inside looking out but rather outside looking in; yet, just maybe when we look inside Westover next year and the years following, we will still see ourselves holding hands together in the center of the circle.