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Senior Class Commencement 2021 Address

Jane Casey-Fleener ’21, Senior Class President and Class of 2021 Alumnae Class President


Watch on Facebook: Jane Casey-Fleener’s remarks start at 43:04.

Good morning! I would first like to extend a warm welcome to all of you. Students, family, friends, loved ones watching from home and distinguished guests.

I am so grateful to be standing here in front of all of you today to celebrate.

Before I begin, I first must thank my family. When I found out I had been elected senior class president, the first thing my mom said to me was, “You better thank me during your graduation speech.” So to my mom, my dad and my sister, thank you for everything.

For those of you who I have yet to meet, my name is Jane Casey-Fleener, a sociology major and education minor, as well as your senior class president. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for giving me the honor to represent the senior class this year.

Reflecting on my last four years, I feel so incredibly lucky to have been at Smith. I’ve had the opportunity to take classes with amazing professors. I’ve been able to connect with people who empower me and push me to be my best self. I’ve met people through SGA that will be lifelong friends. Most importantly, though, I’ve made unforgettable memories with you, the class of 2021.

This is not the senior year we hoped for or expected. COVID-19 has taken so much from all of us. It’s taken away our loved ones, our sense of security and any aspect of normalcy, just to name a few. But it’s also given us the opportunity to connect with each other in ways we never thought possible. It’s tested our patience, pushed us to our breaking point, and increased our screen time.

But in all seriousness, I think it has shown us what it means to be a Smithie. More specifically, what it means to be part of the class of 2021.

We have demonstrated resilience. We have shown accountability for one another and ourselves. We started and ended our senior year in the midst of a pandemic, and that speaks for itself.

To say that there is incredible potential for this class would be an understatement. We have people attending elite graduate programs. We have future doctors, lawyers, artists, engineers, historians, teachers and leaders in our presence. Most importantly, though, we have people who aren’t afraid to take risks. People who won’t take no for an answer. People who are unapologetically themselves.

No, we didn’t get our full four years on campus, and for lack of a better word, that sucks.

But the unique part about being a Smithie is that the time you spend at Smith up until you graduate is just one part of that title.

As Smithies, we create legacies. We inspire others. When we leave, we are proud to tell people that we attended Smith College. And when we step out into the world to create a name for ourselves, we never forget the home we will always have waiting for us at Smith.

I cannot even begin to express my love and gratitude for all of you. I am so immensely proud to be graduating alongside the most determined, kind and intelligent people I have ever met. I hope that you are as equally as proud of yourselves. So thank you, class of 2021 for everything, and congratulations.