News From Masters

Martin Scorsese Delivers Commencement Speech for Class of 2018
Posted 06/12/2018 01:00PM

 

To cheers, claps and palpable enthusiasm, 121 seniors at The Masters School received their diplomas on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Adding to the significance of this already momentous occasion, the graduating class basked in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear from one of the world's most influential contemporary filmmakers: Martin Scorsese.

Mr. Scorsese played a dual role as commencement speaker and proud parent of a graduating senior. His daughter, Francesca, received her diploma from the hand of her father after a heartfelt embrace. 

Mr. Scorsese centered his speech on the importance of learning from failure, pursuing dreams, and seeking help and mentorship when needed. He framed the narrative around his upbringing and early influences, as well as his current experiences as a movie director. 

Mr. Scorsese recalled growing up in New York's Little Italy in the 1950s. "It was a tough place, a tough life ... It filled me with this passion that kept growing and became a real drive to tell their stories and my story."

But at the time, Scorsese added, he had no way to pursue a career in cinema — no equipment, no connections. Inspired by the example of a local priest and mentor, he decided instead to enroll in a seminary with the goal of becoming a priest.

But before long, Mr. Scorsese said, he realized that he wasn't cut out for the priesthood and began studying film and making pictures. "I took a chance, a really big chance," he added. "Failure can be a great teacher if you let it," said Mr. Scorsese. "You learn to start over."

Head of School Laura Danforth touched on similar themes during her speech. "Every generation faces its own unique challenges," she said. "I don't envy your generation and its challenges, though I know you will prevail."

"My hope is that the time you spent learning here will continue to inspire you," Ms. Danforth said, urging the graduates to "use those muscles with thy might."

Daniel Cienava and Ciara Escobar, Presidents of the senior class, delivered messages that were optimistic and forward-looking.

"We're all authors as we step off this stage," Daniel told the graduates. "We'll forge our own paths."

Turning to her classmates, Ciara said, "You will have the fortitude, courage and power to pursue [your goals] ... Masters has prepared us for the world that awaits us."

After the presentation of diplomas, and in keeping with Masters tradition, the newly-minted graduates tossed red roses into the air.

In her farewell address, Shelly Kaye, Dean of the Class of 2018, told her students, "You've developed resilience and strength you thought you never had ... We are immensely proud of the human beings you've become."

Ms. Kaye urged the graduates to "give back to the world more than you take from it. Be a power for good in the world in deed and not just words."

The Glee Club sang the "Old Irish Blessing" as the ceremony came to a close. The graduates then walked down the center aisle, joining their families to celebrate their achievement.

Watch the ceremony again here: 

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