Stratton Mountain School graduates 21
STRATTON — Like the season in which it takes place, graduation marks the conclusion of one phase and the beginning of the next. On Saturday, 21 seniors from Stratton Mountain School finalized the end of a life they have known for years as they prepare to embark on their next journey through life.
In his opening remarks to the graduating class, Headmaster Christopher Kaltsas indicated that some of the attributes and lessons learned at Stratton Mountain School, such as teamwork and having a game plan, were transferable as the graduates begin their next endeavor.
The 2019 class, Kaltsas said, was one that not only loved sports, but provided great leadership at the school.
"You have been terrific scholars, great artists, athletes, writers, friends and above all leaders," said Kaltsas. "You have set a new standard for excellence — you have raised the high water mark."
Following his address to the graduates, Kaltsas, who will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, introduced Tom Wisdom, who replaced Deborah Scranton as the keynote speaker. Wisdom, who graduated from SMS in 2000, enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Middlebury College where he was a Division I Alpine athlete. As a member of the marines, he piloted military aircraft, serving in Afghanistan, among other places.
He went on to become Senior Aviation Operations Manager and later Director of Aviation Operations before his military career concluded.
For years after he graduated from Stratton Mountain School, Wisdom said he would often ask himself what made SMS so special, but was often unable to put his finger on it. After the time he spent in the military, the answer became clear. He came to the conclusion that it was not what he did or the accomplishments, in either place, but the people by whom he was surrounded. "What makes this place special is you and the tribe that we are all a part of.
What makes this place special is the connection we all share and the dedication we have to each other. So, with that, I invite you to embrace not all the things you did class of 2019, while you were here, but to embrace the memories you made with each other and the connections you have with each other," Wisdom said. "You are all part of this legacy now. I am proud to welcome you into my tribe of alums and I invite you to strive for greatness in all that you do."
Class valedictorian Anna Lehmann, was next to address the class. Like Wisdom, Lehmann said she had come to realize that the SMS community was "truly exceptional."
As a class, Lehmann said that the 2019 class had proven that they had the ability to achieve their goals.
"We have proven that each of us has the ability to define our ambitions and to take the necessary steps to achieve them," Lehmann said.
"You can accomplish whatever you want out of life if you have the confidence to believe in your aspirations and the courage to pursue them. Whatever it is you choose to pursue, this is our future. We have the power to create our own destinies, to choose the paths that our lives will take and the impact we want to have on this world we will help to shape."
In their speeches, both Wisdom and Lehmann acknowledged Sverre Caldwell, who retired this year after 40 years at the school, for not only the impact he had on SMS and it's students, but on the sport of Cross Country Skiing throughout the country.
President of the Class of 2019, James St. Ville, who will be attending West Point in the fall, imparted to his classmates the main four lessons he had learned in his time at SMS. The lessons, which included sometimes performing jobs no one else was willing to do, to be brave, to look out for one another and never to quit, were each accompanied by anecdotes, some of them comedic, which at times drew laughter from both spectators and his peers alike. Still, St. Ville hoped the lessons could benefit his classmates.
"I know at West Point next year I will definitely implement these lessons into my life," St. Ville said. "However, I also hope that my fellow classmates can embrace these takeaways and use them wherever their journey in life takes them."
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.