Hebron Academy students file into the Williams Center for commencement exercises Saturday morning. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

HEBRON — Emma Borden-Skelton has a lot to be proud of.

So do her parents.

At the Hebron Academy graduation Saturday at the Williams Center, Borden-Skelton was presented with scholastic awards in French and history, and the shiny silver Hebron Academy Cup, the highest award for academic excellence the private boarding school gives.

In her valedictorian remarks, Skelton said she failed during her time at Hebron. Often. But she learned the skills and resiliency to bounce back.

Faculty at Hebron Academy enter Williams Center during Saturday’s commencement exercises. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

“No matter what it was at our time here at Hebron that we may have thought was an obstacle, it’s clear now that we’ve all overcome because of the fortune we’ve had to be able to risk and recover in this community,” she said. “So, to the Class of 2019, let’s let Hebron be our starting point, and walk out these doors with the knowledge in hand that every inevitable failure will welcome amazing successes.”

For Borden-Skelton and the rest of her class of 73 graduating seniors, the future is wide open.

I’m really excited about my awards, but it’s really hard to say goodbye to people, especially because I’ve been here for three years and I’ve made close connections with everyone. That’s been hard, but I’m really excited to graduate and start the next chapter,” Borden-Skelton said.

 She will attend Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, where she will major in psychology.

Borden-Skelton’s father, Bill Skelton, graduated from Hebron Academy in 1986. He said the link that students share at Hebron Academy is unique.

“They become part of a family, here. It’s very, very special,” Bill Skelton said. 

Senior language teacher Cynthia Reedy said that of the 73 graduating seniors, 29 had been at the academy for four years or more (Hebron Academy also has a middle school program).

“That’s unusual for us, to have over a third of the class have that kind of longevity. Because of that, the kids have really been grounded with each other,” Reedy said.

Underclassmen line the walkway at Hebron Academy on Saturday morning as faculty and the Class of 2019 march past Sturtervant Hall on their way to commencement exercises. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Class President Daniel Patrick Maloy said that many of his classmates — future scientists, activists and leaders — would be headed off to top-of-the-line colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.

According to the Hebron Academy website, the student body of the “upper” school is made up of 260 students from more than 15 states and 25 countries. Forty-eight percent are international students.

Maloy said the diversity of the student body granted each student a global perspective.

We’ve been able to take in the benefits of a global community,” he said. “Whether you know it or not, by living harmoniously, as we have all done in our time here at Hebron, we proved that no matter your background or origin, living in peace amongst each other despite different beliefs is more than possible, and in this setting you can actually thrive, and expand your own thoughts,” Maloy said in his graduation speech.

Underclassmen line the walkway at Hebron Academy on Saturday morning as faculty and the Class of 2019 march past Sturtervant Hall on their way to commencement exercises. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Paul Goodoff, a 1967 graduate of Hebron Academy and the chairman of the board of trustees, welcomed the 215th class to the family.

“I salute you, I congratulate you, and welcome you to the community of alumni of Hebron Academy,” Goodoff said. “You have a home here as long as you live, and I hope you will use it often.”