Green Farms Academy graduates told to live in the moment

WESTPORT — A warm, sunny day symbolized a bright future for Green Farms Academy’s newest graduates.

On Thursday, 73 students surrounded by family and friends began their journey into adulthood at the Westport school. Green Farms Head of School Bob Whelan said it was essential for everyone in attendance to remember these important moments.

“Those of us who grew up with film know (life) is really a series of moments strung together,” Whelan said. “When we think back on our lives, this will be one of the moments.”

The procession saw the girls all wearing white dresses and carrying bouquets of flowers, given to them by the school. The boys all wore suits.

Lila Talbott Wells, of Westport, the class salutatorian, greeted the audience and said her experience at Green Farms helped her break her routine-based life.

“It’s safe to say one of my biggest apprehensions upon entering this new school, apart from the academic challenges, was having to dabble in new food,” she joked.

Wells said she has since gone on to try everything Green Farms Academy had to offer, from new food to challenging classes.

“I don’t know a lot, but what I do know is GFA is a community in which being uncomfortable or pushing the limits of what you believe is possible for you or others is fundamentally ingrained in its foundation,” she said.

Lilah Cora McCormick, with ties to Westport and Fairfield, was named the class valedictorian. In her speech, she recalled a nature class where they took imaginary pictures of the school’s scenery with imaginary cameras.

“As I look back on my time at GFA, it turns out I’ve carried my imaginary camera with me throughout the entire journey,” McCormick said. “We all have and we’ve captured some pretty incredible moments.”

She said her classmates’ willingness to be vulnerable allowed for a familial environment at school, adding together they have celebrated each others’ successes and stuck together through hardships.

“When we look back on the happy pictures, we also need to remember that our vulnerability, our willingness to expose ourselves, and trust that we will be met with support is what makes our grade a family,” McCormick said.

Guest speaker Mike Greenberg, ESPN host and Green Farms Academy parent, assured students they would always carry these special moments just like the information they’ve learned in their classrooms.

Greenberg said he understood the pressure students faced upon graduation, but guaranteed them there was more to life.

“Life is all the things that happen in the present while you’re busy worrying about the future,” he said.

Quoting Jim Valvano’s famous 1993 ESPY speech, Greenberg said a full day is a day in which a person laughs, they cry and they think.

“On behalf of your parents, you have made us laugh, you have made us cry, you have made us think, and thus you have made our lives full,” Greenberg said.

The ceremony was followed by a reception at the school.