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86th Commencement Exercises
Jacqueline Keller

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same..."

Avon Old Farms School’s 86th Commencement Exercises were full of excitement and anticipation; triumphs and traditions; tough goodbyes and tears. It is one for the history books: Headmaster LaRocque led his last senior class through Eagle Archway as seniors before exiting the Village of Old Farms with them through Alumni Gate as an honorary member of the Class of 2019.

Headmaster Kenneth H. LaRocque shared an invocation prayer, and talented members of various singing groups on campus performed a moving tribute to the Armed Services. Headmaster LaRocque then handed out some of Avon's most prestigious awards, including the Scholar of Distinction, the 12th Grade Prize for Academic Excellence, the Award for Earnest and Persistent Effort, the Award For Outstanding Improvement in the Academic Area, the George A. Murray Cup, The Student Council Spirit Award, Founder's Medals, the Order of Old Farms, and The F. Reed Estabrook, Jr. '36 Award. This year's Cashion Faculty Award went to Director of the Learning Center Samantha Jensen, and the Fanning Faculty Award went to Spanish Teacher Ben Schloat.

This year, Headmaster LaRocque was Avon's commencement speaker. In his address, he spoke to a line in Rudyard Kipling’s poem If—:

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

…you’ll be a Man, my son!”

Headmaster LaRocque leveraged this line, written circa 1895, to share the importance of balance with the Men of Avon one last time. A recording of the ceremony is available on Avon’s website for those who would like to watch the complete speech. (The Commencement Address begins at 1:06 in the video.)

And then, it was time: Assistant Headmaster John T. Gardner took the podium for the presentation of diplomas, which were handed out by Chairman of the Board of Directors Martin I. Cole H'16, P'04. After Billy Zhou took his final steps across the stage and the singing of Men of Avon was completed, graduation caps were flung triumphantly into the air.

We wish the Class of 2019 all the best, and as Headmaster LaRocque closed, aspirando et perseverando, and when appropriate, strike the drumhead; fly the banner.