Teacher to Weston grads: Cherish the good things
WESTON — Weston High School graduates were told to take themselves “back to school” by English teacher Walt Durand during his address at the 49th annual senior commencement on June 14.
Durand noted that while the word “school” has become a major part of everyone’s life, it is much more than high school and even university. Instead, he draws on the idea of school from its Greek origins.
“School, believe it or not, was an experience that was all about leisure,” he said.
Leisure, he said, not as in relaxing, but a space in which you have free time, where students have freedom from the sometimes terrifying vicissitudes in the outside world, to think and determine who they are and what’s important before going out there.
Durand offered advice about school: “Make space in your life for deliberate evolution of consciousness, taking yourself to school just means means valuing a certain kind of leisure of freedom to think, and learn and discover.”
This means students can carve out a school wherever and whenever in their lives, and take themselves back to a time when they could value that leisure.
“If you cherish the things that are simple and good, then out there no one can ever control you and your reality is always surprising, beautiful and vital.”
Revel in the simple and the good like family, friends, long walks, singalongs, road trips, soup kitchens, floating in the ocean, and offering the generosity of time, he said.
And if students lose sight of those, he encouraged them to take themselves back to school.
Aside from also performing a short musical mediation in song, Durand and faculty honored valedictorian Doran Sekaran, who gave a speech encouraging students to practice gratitude for the people in their lives that helped them get where they are today, from grandparents to bothersome younger siblings.
Graduate Annika Mirchandani described the experience as euphoric, and also appreciated the speech of salutatorian Caroline Zech, which was a homage to her family and classmates, something she really resonated with.
Mirchandani, who will be headed off to Bates College in Maine, said she was most glad she didn’t fall.
Among the many performances between the commencement speeches was that of student Aarya Madan, who performed “Rise Up” by Andra Day. The song that told students to rise up and move mountains, captivated many in the audience.
After walking across the stage, the sea of the 206 seniors with decorated caps — many displaying their upcoming university logos — sat in their seats. They then received the OK to move their tassels on their caps, which they threw in the air.
Durand, senior adviser Jeane Russo and many other faculty expressed how sad they will be to see this class go, as they were, according to Durand, a “bright, positive, soulful, authentically good in the simplest form.”