Greg Scranton ’94 stresses lifelong learning to class of 2018

News

On Friday May 25, 87 KO students received their high school diplomas and bid their last farewell to teachers and fellow classmates, while hearing some great final advice from Keynote Speaker and creative arts teacher Greg Scranton.

The event started at 10:30 a.m. with the soon to be graduates walking in and taking their seats. History teacher Ted Levine welcomed everyone with a speech, followed by senior Eliza Charette who introduced Mr. Scranton. After Mr. Scranton delivered his words of advice, Head of School Dennis Bisgaard said a few words and joined Associate Head of School Natalie Demers to hand out diplomas to each of the students in the class of 2018. History teacher Rob Kyff closed the ceremony with a final congratulations to all the seniors. The KO Orchestra and Concert Choir performed.

Executive Assistant to Head of School Sherri Malinoski was responsible for coordinating the entirety of Commencement. She worked with Building and Grounds as well as Sage Dining to help make everything run smoothly. “It’s a lot of work but for me it’s the most exciting time of the year,” she said.

The senior class had to choose a faculty member to speak at their graduation. This year’s vote went to Mr. Scranton. Mr. Scranton said that he was surprised that he was chosen and was humbled to have the opportunity to speak at graduation. “I felt completely honored and overwhelmed at the prospect of delivering a speech to that many people,” he said. “The writing process was incredibly exciting and nerve wracking.” He said he knew he couldn’t turn down the offer. “I knew I had to say yes because I ask my students to take risks and do new things everyday in classes,” Mr. Scranton said. “How could I turn down the opportunity to do something new, to be vulnerable at their request?”

The theme of Mr. Scranton’s speech was the idea of being a lifelong learner. “It was about trying new things, having new experiences, constantly learning and appreciating new perspectives,” he said. “Whether that is listening to new music, watching a new film, reading a book that at first seemed an odd choice.”

He said that he could relate well to the seniors, but his story was nevertheless unique in terms of the path that he took from middle school through high school to college and to now. “The path is not dissimilar to the one that the current seniors are taking,” he said. “I went to school here, I had teachers that they had, so I felt like my story is a relatable one to them.”

Mr. Scranton started by giving a surreal description of the old  KO Middle School, where he grew up. “I can still hear the creaking stairs, each and every one of them would groan under the weight of passing students.  The treacherous outdoor catwalk that grew icicles the size of saber-toothed tigers in the winter,” he said.He recalled some of the teachers and experiences he had at KO, where he began his journey as a learner. “It was there that I learned to love reading thanks to Mr. Peacock. I learned that not all French teachers were as scary as Monsieur Berard thanks to Mrs. Reynolds, better known to most of you as Mrs. Dunn. I learned that when it came to me and math, Mrs. Repp had to be the most patient teacher on the planet,” Mr. Scranton said.

Then he continued to illustrate how much he learned and grew from his time at KO. “I learned what it meant to have a real friend, to have a girlfriend, to lose friends and have relationships come to an end. I even learned what it meant to have a friend pass away at an age when the only people in our lives who died were “old.  I learned a lot about a lot of things,” he said. “The learning that began here at KO for all of us is indeed profound in shaping who we are and who you will become.”

Mr. Scranton provided insight on his belief that lifelong learning is a global phenomenon. “We are always growing and evolving as individuals because we are learning, it is when we stop learning that we stop growing. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons I became a teacher,” he said.Mr. Scranton said that there are many connective threads between himself and the current senior class. “I started here 7 years ago, so this was my first KO cycle where I began with 28 seven year seniors,” he said. “It’s kind of fun we began this journey together.”

He said that this year’s senior class was very special to him in the sense that it was a diverse group with a lot of different talents and strengths. “I think every senior class has a collective personality and I feel that this year’s senior class has been one that the faculty as a whole can take pride in,” he said. “They were thoughtful, kind, nice, and generous to each other, and extremely supportive of one another.”

Form Six Dean David Hild said that he thinks Mr. Scranton was a great choice and that he looks forward to Commencement every year. “It’s a formal traditional event that’s been almost the same for decades,” he said. “It’s one of those bittersweet days.” Mr. Bisgaard agreed that this year’s Commencement has a lot of feelings associated with it for him. “I feel like I’m graduating with them,” he said. “I just want to encourage people to be true to themselves.”The graduates will surely be missed by the entirety of the KO community. “This group has really impressed me and made the school proud,” Mr. Scranton said.