All In on Founders Day
All In on Founders Day

The Class of 2017 marked their high school graduation on Sunday, June 11 when Gilman families, friends, faculty members, and the graduating class gathered in front of the Old Gym for the 119th Founders Day exercises.

Valedictorian James Clayton Hebert described Class of 2017 accomplishments using his academic forté, mathematics and numbers. His list included the number of Greyhound TV broadcasts, Barbecue Club debt relief, track and field records broken, and spring musical lines learned, to illustrate the breadth of individual and collective achievement. And, when he added all his figures, they totaled 2017.

"When looking at these numbers, I see a commonality among all our different personalities and endeavors," he said. "It's the 'all in' mentality that our president, Matt Tomaselli, has preached. In all that we do, our class has proven to throw doubt aside, and completely commit ourselves to whatever it is that we are trying to accomplish." Hebert concluded by predicting that his classmates' "all in" mentality will lead them to great accomplishment. "You can take the greyhound out of Gilman, but you can not take Gilman out of the greyhound," he said.

Headmaster Henry P. A. Smyth framed his message to the graduates around a remark once made by author and historian Walter Lord '35: "If we really want to turn out the best citizens of tomorrow, we have to give them the best education of today."

He pointed out that the statement identifies a simple cause and effect relationship between education and citizenship, education and opportunity, and education and a better world, relating directly to Gilman's mission of educating the whole boy in mind, body, and spirit. Lord's remark also presents a time continuum inextricably linking the past to the present to the future.

Though the boys have been challenged to be excellent, to push their limits, to maximize their potential and summon their inner lights to become the best version of their selves during their time at Gilman, the true outcome of their education is yet to be seen.

"Gentlemen, wherever you go from here, you will take your Gilman experience with you, the skills you've developed, the traits you've acquired, the knowledge you've gained, the relationships you've developed—all of these things are embedded in your fiber now and waiting to be put to good use," Smyth told the graduates.

Board of Trustees President Scott Wieler reminded the boys that they have joined an esteemed group of men who have had the privilege of a Gilman education. "Gilman alumni are community leaders, agents of change, and disrupters," he said, reminding the boys that their "alumni brothers" achieve success in virtually all fields, men who are "following their dreams and using their talents to create something new."

In what has become a tradition, the Traveling Men, featuring four members of the graduating class – John Leland Ball, Jalen Keith Colbert, Davis Eric André Holmes, and Alexios Demetrios Vlahoyiannis -- sang "The Parting Song," a song of departure based on a 17th century Scottish song. To conclude the ceremony, pairs of graduates left the stage with a special handshake, hug, or selfie.

For those who would like to print photographs of the day, here is a link to select downloadable, high resolution files. Click here for full Founders Day photo coverage, including a shot of each student receiving his diploma.

If you wish to purchase archival prints directly from the photographer, visit Click the events tab and follow the instructions for Gilman Graduation, June 11, 2017.

Relive the day or see it for the first time in this video of the full ceremony.

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