Major Jonathan Freeman (class of ‘93) gave a moving Graduation Address. Major Freeman is a decorated combat veteran, Ph.D. candidate at the London School of Economics, and a teacher of Transcendental Meditation.
Acknowledging the shared experience of being a Maharishi School student, Major Freeman said, “You have been told forever that you are special[ ….]but the truth is that you are coming into this world with an unprecedented level of privilege. A great education. Incredible experiences. You have been given a technology and a knowledge to go within – to rise above the challenges, and sometimes the horrors, of this world by transcending into Silence, a privilege which few can lay claim.”
Freeman described the passion of serving our great country, “When I was serving overseas, first in Iraq and later in Afghanistan, I had the privilege and honor of doing so alongside the most courageous, intelligent, and dedicated young men and women[...] They committed themselves to a cause because they believed their country and communities were worthy of their sacrifice. As you prepare for college and armed with intellect and energy, I hope you will ask yourselves what is worthy of your sacrifice and what form will it take.”
Freeman then reminded the graduates that they have the technique to release stress, he admonished them to “Stay regular with your meditation. In the Army, a friend of mine meditated enough during basic training to earn the nickname “Yoda,” and I once meditated during a combat operation on a tank in the middle of Iraq, finding peace within myself away from a world characterized by violence, fear, and at times, senseless loss. You alone have the choice of whether the waves of stress you will encounter will smash you on the rocks or wash over you as if it was nothing. This will be based on the amount you allow yourself to transcend within. Both “Yoda” and I can attest that you can meditate anywhere you can have a thought and it was in that Silence we had the strength to continue in tough circumstances.”
Finally Freeman challenged the graduates, “As you make your way in the world, is that through all the death, destruction, and hatred that you will see everyday – look for the positive. Look for the joy. Look for the bliss. Look for the enchantment in the world. At the very least, you will be a far happier person for trying.”
Graduate class gift was presented by Nathaniel Zhu and Dia Huggins. The class is supplying a new energy-efficient kiln to the ceramics department, and materials for the new 3-D printer donated by physics teacher, Rick Rudloff.
Pioneer Award Recipients for balanced and successful approach to life were Bimba Shrestha and Jaya Meuhlman. Jaya Muehlman was also the recipient of the Hawthorne Direct Performing Arts Scholarship given by Mark Ratner, VP of Account Services.
5 co-valedictorians all with 5.0 GPA were Nathaniel Zhu, Alex Hoffman, Dia Huggins, Kadie Roberts, Jacqueline Leete.