New Canaan Country School Head of School Tim Bazemore gave his 14th and final closing exercises speech Wednesday, June 11, 2014, commending the 34 ninth-grade graduates of the class of 2014 for their collaboration, teamwork and resilience.
The students presented Bazemore with a certificate of appreciation in return.
"The class of 2014 has the courage to believe, not only in ourselves, but in each other," student Estella Noels said as she welcomed the gathering. "NCCS has been a second home for us. We have learned that is it not the event that matters, but the process of getting there and that an integral part of our school mission is constructing a community where all members feel included."
Student Calder Stewart, of New Canaan, shared reflections on the school motto, "Fortune Favors the Bold," by recounting his own personal country school journey and sharing stories about some of the risks he took and mistakes he made along the way.
"NCCS has been a safe haven that has prepared us to be launched into the world," he said.
Bazemore congratulated the class for distinguishing itself as "one of the kindest and most unified classes in recent memory."
"Your teachers and the school community could not have been more impressed," he told the graduates. "You demonstrated an incredible talent for collaboration that will be your legacy. Collaboration is not easy -- it requires you to listen, offer ideas, compromise and agree based on a common goal ... Yet you found ways to work together with joy and determination -- and notable success."
Noels received the Robert Gamble Award, which is presented to "the student who exemplifies, to the highest measure, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
Paloma Blandon, of New Canaan, received the Paul Johansen Award, which is presented to "the member of the graduating class who stands for the qualities which Paul embodied: care and concern for others, compassion and a sense of community."
Both the Gamble and Johansen awards are named in honor of two courageous students who waged inspiring battles against illnesses while students at country school.
The members of the class of 2014 will attend Berkshire School, Brewster Academy, Brien McMahon High School, Brooks School, Canterbury School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Darien High School, Deerfield Academy, Greens Farms Academy, Greenwich Academy, King School, Middlesex School, Millbrook School, New Canaan High School, Phillips Academy Andover, Pomfret School, St. Luke's School, Stamford High School, Taft School, Thacher School, Westminster School and Wilton High School.