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Graduation 2021: MUHS seniors select Berg, Stefani to speak

ANNA BERG

Anna Berg and Sofia Stefani, both members of the Class of 2021, were elected by their peers to address their classmates at the Middlebury Union High School commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at Memorial Sports Center. Both Berg and Stefani are residents of Middlebury.

At the onset of the 2020-21 school year, MUHS adopted the Latin Honors system to reflect the accomplishments of each student. Under this system, students who achieve a cumulative GPA equal to or above a 4.00 receive the designation of Summa Cum Laude. The Latin system allows MUHS to honor a greater number of students who have dedicated time and talent in the classroom to achieve success.

Anna and Sofia both graduated Summa Cum Laude and are both members of the school’s National Honor Society. They have each contributed to Middlebury Union High School in myriad ways. Sofia is a member of the school’s cross-country team and Anna has been active in student government and the environmentally focused club, BIOME. Both skied on the Nordic ski team.

They both received the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Anna and Sofia delivered personalized speeches to their classmates as they reflected on the past four years of high school, one that included a worldwide pandemic.

Berg talked about Time and how she thought of it, used it and treated it differently this past year. “Although the pandemic undoubtedly created a lot of chaos in all our lives, it granted me a luxury that I never used to have much of: time,” she told the hundreds of people gathered in the hockey rink.

The pandemic had loosened time’s grip on student schedules, which allowed Berg and the classmates she observed to reevaluate goals, reflect on deeply held values and negotiate the challenges of COVID-19, she explained.

Stefani reflected on the return to in-person conversations that were so missed during the social distancing of the pandemic. She was big on self-reflection, but she also missed talking with other people.

Conversations have helped Stefani see the world in all its complicated beauty, she said.

“By talking to you all — my family, teachers, classmates, friends, and community — my worldview shifts kaleidoscopically. The world appears to me in one way, but when I speak with any of you about favorite hobbies, people you know, fleeting thoughts, or persistent concerns, you broaden my perspectives and I see new patterns. Not all conversations are pleasant, but all conversations can make us more aware of ourselves, others, and how variable our world is.”

Anna and Sofia are part of an extended group of talented Tigers who plan to pursue higher education, trade school, apprenticeships, employment, and serve in the military. Sofia Stefani will enroll at Williams College in Massachusetts and Anna Berg will matriculate at the University of Vermont in the fall.

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