Graduates at Greenwich’s Brunswick School say goodbye to a year ‘we will never forget’

GREENWICH — Surviving — and even thriving — during a school year marred by a

GREENWICH — Surviving — and even thriving — during a school year marred by a global pandemic is a remarkable achievement, the head of school at Brunswick told the 104 graduates at commencement exercises on Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas Philip spoke before an assembled crowd of about 1,000 people, as family and friends came out in support of the Class of 2021 at the all-boys private school. The celebration, held under sunny skies on Cosby Field at Brunswick’s King Street campus, was the first high school graduation ceremony held in town this spring.

“This is a year, and this is a class, that we will never forget,” Philip said.

“The young men we’re recognizing today represent the finest in all of us. Their enthusiasm for, and contributions to this school — their individual and collective talents and achievements — and most recently, their strength and perseverance during a most challenging and unique school year, all mark them as the very, very finest of young men,” he said.

As the nation begins to move toward a post-COVID era, Philip considered the enormity of what the students had endured during their senior year — four concurrent crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic collapse, racial and civil unrest, and a breach at the U.S. Capitol.

As students dealt with the impact of the pandemic, they missed homecoming and performed in musical plays with no audience, Philip said. Nevertheless, they remained positive and versatile. In the end, the students made an unprecedented year feel normal, hopeful and inspiring, he said.

“Witnessing on a daily basis how each of you individually and collectively navigated these choppy waters, I have never, ever been more optimistic,” Philip said.

Valedictorian Ali Hindy, the elected class speaker, joined Philip on the stage. Philip said that Hindy stands out as one of the most stellar students ever at Brunswick, with a cumulative average over the past two years that is equivalent to a 101.19.

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