NEC Prep honored the graduating class of 2020 in an online ceremony featuring words from Rebecca Bogers, President Andrea Kalyn, Haley Kwoun, Yo-Yo Ma, and NEC Prep faculty, as well as performances by the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.
On Saturday, June 13, the NEC Preparatory School community gathered online to celebrate the graduating high school class of 2020.
The ceremony included inspiring remarks from Rebecca Bogers, Dean and Director of NEC Prep; Andrea Kalyn, president of NEC; and Haley Kwoun, NEC Prep Class of 2020; a surprise message from Yo-Yo Ma, and greetings and well-wishes from NEC Prep faculty. Video performances included a virtual orchestra rendition of the first movement of Elgar's Serenade for Strings in E Minor, and an excerpt from Liszt's Les Preludes, conducted by David Loebel.
"It's time to stand up, go out into the world, and begin your best performance yet."
—Rebecca Bogers, Dean & Director of NEC Prep
"Music has brought you together, taught you to listen to yourselves and to each other, allowed you to breathe, sing, express emotion, and reminded you that practice makes perfect — or at least a little bit better," said Rebecca Bogers, Dean and Director of NEC Preparatory School. "Remember that there is strength in diversity, and together you can have the courage to overcome any adversity. You will have with you the power of music to stand up not only for yourselves, but also for your friends, and most importantly for others you may not know yet."
"I hope your NEC Prep experience is one of those things you will always remember," said cellist Yo-Yo Ma, making a surprise appearance. "Those Saturdays, those commitments, and the friendships that you’ve made, and just now know that these friendships, what you do in music, it’s forever."
"Congratulations, and not only happy memories now, but happy memories for the future."
In her remarks, President Kalyn also encouraged students to feel the power of their ability to make a positive impact in the world:
"Certainly there is a lot going on in the world right now, and now, more than ever, music and creative expression are important and needed to create a better humanity. [...] We talk a lot about excellence at NEC, but remember that excellence is only as good as the impact that it has."
Student speaker Haley Kwoun, NEC Prep Class of 2020, acknowledged some of the losses and gains of a tumultuous final year:
"We lost a senior spring, but many of us learned what it means to value relationships with those around us. We lost our final NEC concerts, but we pushed music to new limits, from virtual masterclasses to virtual orchestras."
"I'm excited to see the remarkable strides that our generation and class will continue to make. It is our obligation to embrace our roles as agents of social change, to harness the power of our civil obligations, liberties, and duties, and to exercise our capacity to express ourselves effectively, constructively, and respectfully. And thanks to NEC Prep, we have the greatest tool to help us pave the way: music."