• Cushing

138th Commencement

Congratulations to the Class of 2013! One hundred fifty-four students received their diplomas during Cushing’s 138th commencement on Saturday, and while the day itself was cold and rainy, the weather outside couldn’t dampen the spirits of our seniors, their families, and the Cushing community.

We were honored to welcome Nate Berkus ’90 back to campus as this year’s commencement speaker and recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. A designer, New York Times best-selling author, television host, and film producer, Berkus shares this award with three other alumni: international photojournalist Jane Evelyn Atwood ’66, entrepreneur and classmate Aaron Earls ’90, and legendary actress Bette Davis ’26, who was recognized at the 100th anniversary of her birth.

“I don't know that I understood the world or my place in it in high school,” said Berkus, addressing the seniors. “I was a rough draft of the person I am today and guess what? That's really OK. If you’re feeling a little lost, I promise you -- being a little bit lost makes coming home that much more special. Everyone finds their own way, and you’ll build a life of your own design.” Berkus urged students to know the enemy: Apathy, cynicism, and resignation, and to focus on what really matters, such as being an honorable and hopeful person. “Don’t be afraid to hope. What you do and don’t do will affect those around you. Keep hope not just alive but in working order and don’t make yourself into someone who can’t be surprised.”

Xiangling Kong, this year’s valedictorian, urged classmates to push forward, to be bold and brave. “Enjoy the next four years of your lives and try new things. Don’t strangle yourself with a single goal. I wasted a year of my life because I was stuck in my own world. Don’t let that happen to you. Let us be the harpooners that sail to the ocean to discover the unknown and hunt white whales but let us not be lost in it as Ahab was. Let us follow the path that life has set for us and not regret the past. Let us follow the likes of Captain Bloomer, for if we don’t, we will sink like the Pequod in the turbulent seas.” (Please click here to read his address.)

Headmaster James Tracy, who will be leaving Cushing at the end of June after seven years, stressed the importance of educating not just one’s mind but also one’s heart. "Educating the mind without educating the heard is not education at all. You have to be humble. You have to realize you're never really done fully learning."

Congratulations to the entire Class of 2013 and in the words of Dr. Tracy, “You rock!”

Please click here for more photos.

Please click here for the Class of 2013 college matriculation list.

Graduation videos:
Part 1
Part 2

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.