While every valedictory address lends itself to personal reflection, Do Nhat Nam’s (Nam’s) speech shone a light on the power of community and transformation found in friendship. Nam '19 came to the U.S. from Hanoi, Vietnam, as a middle-schooler, and his experience at a homogenous school in Texas left him feeling fearful and unwelcome. When he transferred to Church Farm School as a freshman, Nam says he “put up a façade of confidence and superiority that was really just a reflection of my insecurities.”
Expecting loneliness, instead, Nam was quickly enveloped by friendship from students and faculty alike. “I instantly found people I could connect to on many levels, who pushed me to put my guard down. These are the people that have been resolutely by my side, through good and bad, in this collective CFS journey.” Nam noted that his well-rounded peers—heading off to schools as varied as Savannah College of Art and Design, the U.S. Naval Academy, Vanderbilt, Lehigh and Syracuse—to study a variety of disciplines, are “a testament to how CFS can uplift and transform one’s life.” Nam is currently studying at Pomona College in California.
But most of all, Nam praised the indelible transformative effects of friendship. “Through thick and thin, we have always prevailed and emerged stronger than before, and I am incredibly grateful for that. In the next steps of your life, I urge that you hold a piece of CFS in your heart, and cherish the memories we’ve made together. I hope that you will celebrate the mature, confident young men that you have become, and remember the role that CFS has played in your life. In times of crisis, always know that your Griffin brothers love you, and that this place will always be, not just yours, but OUR home.”