Perkins School for the Blind held its 138th graduation ceremony on Friday, presenting diplomas to 16 students from its Secondary and Deafblind programs.
With musical performances from the Perkins chorus and a lively audience that filled and spilled out of Dwight Hall, the event was a celebratory affair. But the day’s proceedings also served as an opportunity for school leaders to emphasize the importance of all the hard work done by the class of 2018. Specifically, speakers talked about how student efforts on campus leading up to graduation have set them up for future success.
“It’s now up to the individual student to get out there and advocate for themselves,” said Corinne Grousbeck, chair of the Perkins Board of Trustees. “If people misperceive or make judgments about who you are or what you can do, don’t ever let that stop you from ‘showing them.’”
In addition to Grousbeck, students and attendees heard from Perkins Superintendent Ed Bosso, as well as President and CEO Dave Power. During his remarks, Power shone light on both the illustrious history of the school and the class of 2018’s unique place within it.
“Perkins has hosted U.S. presidents, Massachusetts governors, Hollywood stars, business leaders and we’re also fortunate to have the best teachers in our field,” said Power. “And still, the most influential people at Perkins are all of you, our students.”
Oswald Mondejar, of Partners Continuing Care, delivered the commencement speech, which encouraged students to “embrace change.”
There were two student speakers as well. Antonio Moura, a student in the Deafblind Program, delivered the opening remarks in sign language alongside an interpreter, noting how special the day was for everyone. Class President Patrick Bucci delivered the Senior Address in which he shared his optimism for what’s ahead.
“As we stand here today, we are all excited about what the future holds for us,” said Bucci. “Whatever we do, we will be using the skills we learned at Perkins to have successful lives.”
Bosso then went through the class roll call – “the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” he said. As he announced names, students stood up, accepted diplomas from Grousbeck – or from superintendents from their hometown districts – and posed for photographs.
Following that, one by one, the students filed out of Dwight Hall to celebrate with family in the museum, overlooked by statues and pictures of the historical figures who helped make their campus what it is today. And with that, the moment Bosso described – the one they’d all been waiting for – became a powerful memory that would no doubt fuel many more to come.