Violinist, football player, to give valedictory speech at graduation

By Michael Sugerman

Richard Chung ’12 will give the valedictory speech at graduation, President Thomas C. Hudnut announced at the Cum Laude assembly on Monday afternoon.

Chung, a violinist and safety on the boys’ varsity football team, was chosen to be the valedictorian speaker via a faculty vote.

Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts opened the assembly by reciting “Ithaca,” by Greek poet Constantine Cavafy. Huybrechts said the poem – which depicts Odysseus’ trek home from battle – perfectly parallels the journey seniors will embark upon in the fall.

History teacher and Cum Laude chapter president Eric Zwemer followed Huybrechts, commending students for achieving academic honors.

“[The motto] consists of three Greek words,” he said. ”Arete, meaning ‘excellence,’ but in the moral as well as the scholarly sense; Dike, meaning  ‘justice,’ as well as an appreciation for what is suitable and appropriate; and Time, a word that denotes dignity and true worth, but above all, ‘honor.’  In all regards, you whom we ‘honor’ this afternoon have met these criteria.”

Zwemer further described the relationship between teacher and student at Harvard-Westlake, expressing appreciation for the hard-working students.

“Do we love you?” he asked. ”I would say some of us do love some of you some of the time.  What all of us love, all the time, is the idea of you – what you have meant to this institution, what you can mean to the wider world. I want to conclude, as I traditionally do on these occasions, with a word of gratitude to you from all your teachers.  Every day that you have been among us, you have helped to remind us just why it is we love our jobs.  Thank you for that.”

Following Zwemer’s speech, students added their signatures to a book of Harvard-Westlake Cum Laude students. After this, they shook hands with Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra, received certificates from mathematics teacher Jacob Hazard and proceeded to greet both Huybrechts and Hudnut.

The assembly concluded with a reception in Feldman-Horn Art Gallery.

For a photo gallery of the assembly in Rugby, click here.