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Cate School Graduates 60 Seniors in Its 100th Commencement Ceremony

Cate School held its traditional commencement exercises on Sunday, with Headmaster Ben Williams conferring diplomas on the 60 seniors who make up the school’s Class of 2013. It was Cate’s 100th commencement.

Williams urged the graduating class to “use the gifts that make each of you, you.”

“Imagine your industry, your opportunity, your impact,” he continued. “Build a life worthy of your very best, most unselfish dreams, and you will be many things-gifts to this world, leaders like the ones we so relished this year, citizens of purpose and impact, scholars of life, and surely as happy as those with whom you share your full and ample souls.”

In the presence of Cate’s Board of Trustees, underclassmen, faculty, families and friends, Williams also read a “literary snapshot” about each senior before presenting a diploma.

Patrick Collins, chair of the Art Department, selected by students to deliver the faculty address, offered them a question.

“School and home may be near, but your sights are on the distant, soaring ranges,” he said. “You had better think about why you are going, or else you will end up just taking a ride on the train. What are you going for? What are you for? That question — no joke, no nugget — is my farewell gift to you. If it strikes you like one of those underwhelming birthday presents from a too-practical uncle, that’s OK. Just use it now and then and you’ll see its value for yourself.”

Alex Anderson of Beverly Hills was chosen to address his fellow seniors. He told them that their paths are not set in stone.

Cate senior Alex Anderson delivers the student commencement address. (Cate School photo)
Cate senior Alex Anderson delivers the student commencement address. (Cate School photo)

“What makes you happy as a child is not the same as what will make you happy as a teenager, which is not the same as what will make you happy as an adult. It can be hard to admit that your goals, ambitions and desires can and will change drastically, but pursuing an idea that is no longer important to your life can only result in failure,” he said. “If there is anything at all I want to convey in my address today, it’s this: No matter what we do, our journey through life will never be a straight line.”

In addition to diplomas, the school’s highest honors were given out during the commencement ceremony.

Emily Sosrodjojo of Jakarta, Indonesia, received the William Shepard Biddle Cup, the school’s highest honor. Named for one of Cate’s most distinguished alumni, this award recognizes a senior who best exemplifies and demonstrates the qualities of humanism, idealism and the desire to achieve that Cate seeks to teach its students.

The Scholarship Cup, the school’s highest academic award, went to Sydney Read of Santa Barbara. Read, who will continue her studies at Middlebury College, also received awards for her work in several specific areas of study.

Peter McAndrew, class of 76 and grandson of Cate’s first graduate, Dorhmann Pischel, was in the audience.

“My grandfather would have been proud of this class,” he said. “He used his Cate education — as different as it was back then — to make his mark on the world. I’m sure these graduates will, too.”

Cate’s Class of 2013 will matriculate to many of the nation’s leading colleges and universities in the fall, including Barnard, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Pomona, Princeton, Stanford, Swarthmore, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Wellesley and many others.

— Sarah Kidwell represents Cate School.

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