Kearsarge High grads reminded that ‘good is the enemy of great’

  • Shane Wilson addresses his fellow graduates at the Kearsarge Regional High School commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018 Lola Duffort/ Monitor staff

  • Graduates listen to a speech by superintendent Winfried Feneberg at the Kearsarge Regional High School commencement ceremony on Saturday. Lola Duffort / Monitor staff

  • Lydia Pinard addresses her fellow graduates during the Kearsarge Regional High School commencement ceremony on Saturday. Lola Duffort / Monitor staff

  • Graduates listen to a speech during the Kearsarge Regional High School commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Lola Duffort/Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2018 8:45:48 PM

Change is coming, and Kearsarge Regional High School graduates were told Saturday it’ll be their job to choose their path going forward.

“You will need to find out for yourself when it is time to be the rebel, and when it is wise to be conventional. When to transform, and when to preserve,” superintendent Winfried Feneberg told the 130 graduates assembled in the school’s athletic field on the windy, sunny morning.

Choosing the right thing wouldn’t necessarily be easy, Feneberg said. But the future was very much up to them.

“In a world of five-second soundbites and the promise of simple solutions to complex problems, it is indeed increasingly difficult to make thoughtful, good, and honest choices. And yet, it seems to me, that we depend on you to make thoughtful, good, and honest choices as you leave this school,” he said.

Lydia Pinard, one of the student speakers, told her peers they were like the footprints man had made on the moon. 

“While we cannot see these footprints from Earth, they serve as a symbol of human perseverance and their impact will always be there,” she said. “We are just like those footprints. Right now we may seem inconsequential, we have endless possibilities of changes we can make in the world.”

The day’s second student speaker, Shane Wilson, thanked his friends, family and teachers for getting him to where he was, and then elicited laughs and claps from the audience for thanking “the U.S. government,” too.

“Thank you for being as confusing and as inconsistent as possible in order to mentally prepare us for the real world,” he said.

But Wilson soon turned his “generic and yet insightful journey metaphor that is necessary within every graduation speech to get a ‘proficient with distinction.’”

And with that metaphor, Wilson urged his peers to always strive for more, to work hard, and to never let other people’s expectations get in the way.

He concluded with a quote from someone he called “philosophically-inclined.”

“A wise young lady once told me, ‘Sometimes, Shane, I’m scared to say the wrong thing. Because I think people will think differently of me if I speak my thoughts and emotions.’ She followed that by saying, ‘That’s funny, I don’t actually care.’ I think that’s a great mindset,” he said.

Class president Natalie Soule also told her fellow graduates not to let fear of failure get in the way. She used a quote by J.K. Rowling to drive the point home: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default.”

Kearsarge Regional High School principal Robert Bennett returned to the theme of change and risk-taking in his own speech. And he told his school’s graduates not to settle for the status-quo.

“I and you understand status-quo, because we know the rules, we know the boundaries, and most of all, the loopholes to get around things. If we stay as status quo, my output and expected production will never fluctuate. And I can continue to be good,” he said.

But good, he continued, “is the enemy of great.”

“I want you all to be great.”

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321.)

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