Graduation day symbolizes the culmination of a significant distance traveled. While the ceremony marked the end of their journey at Suffield, these seniors will move on well prepared as leaders, scholars, and responsible citizens of a collective society. As graduates, they join a proud family of alumni connected by a unique high school experience, lasting memories, and lifelong friends.

Advice to the Class of 2019 from Headmaster Charlie Cahn

You hear about the topic of kindness from me all the time around here, and while it sounds simple the reality is kindness is hard. Writer George Saunders noted that “it gets slightly easier as you get older, as life knocks you around.” It gets a bit easier when you have children, because you genuinely care more about what happens to people other than yourself. That is one reason your parents are proud and happy right now—because you have accomplished something challenging and of value that will make your life better.

A vital item we have tried to emphasize at Suffield—and we hope you will take with you as you move forward—is that you can be very intentional about having kindness as a goal in your life. And this is all I leave you with tonight, which I hope is a lot. As you pursue your goals—personally, academically, professionally—err on the side of kindness. I have spent many moments with you in times of triumph but also in helping you recover from errors in judgment, when you are less than the person you want to be.

A great school like Suffield not only understands but embraces that adolescence does not unfold in straight lines, and having moments when you are less than you want to be can help you build a firmer, better foundation and more valuable perspective. Be honest with yourselves and picture the best you that you can envision. And then try to achieve this vision. Esse quam videri—to be rather than to seem. Pursue genuine, real goodness and kindness. You will like yourselves better and make greater
contributions to the world.