2015 Chatham Hall, Chatham VA – High School Graduation

“Know that you are loved. Encode this in your head and heart. You are worthy.”

Suzanne Walker Buck, Rector, Chatham Hall


Enjoy the slideshow. And remember, it is a show that requires Adobe Flash, so put down your iPhone or iPad and watch it on your main computer or one that supports Adobe Flash. Slideshow link:


This was my 31st year photographing graduation ceremonies for my alma mater, Chatham Hall in Virginia. Every year it’s an emotional event for me and each year I take away something different from my experiences; listening to the student and faculty speakers and photographing the inspiring girls who depart for adventures unknown.

At May’s event I was particularly touched by the words of the school’s new Rector, Suzanne Walker Buck, who delivered a heartfelt speech not about the traditional themes of achievement and hard work but instead about emotional engagement and resilience, important traits that I have personally found have stood me in good stead through the ups and downs of my own life. Qualities that, in part, I can still attribute to my time at Chatham Hall.

Suzanne called on the graduating class to practice gratitude – the simple art of saying thank you – and to engage in their life, to be the architect of its growth and direction rather than a victim of circumstance. But most impactful of all was her reminder that each of us is loved and worthy of that love. Stepping into life with an open heart gives us the courage to take chances and to make mistakes without fear of failure. I think that this was such an important and rare message for these girls and I applaud her for making it the cornerstone of her speech.

It’s always an honor and a privilege to be present during these days at Chatham. I would like to thank the staff there who are always welcoming and helpful, making my arrival feel like a homecoming each and every year. Special thanks to Abbi Plemmons who was my student assistant this year and did another fantastic job, to La(congrats on your new position!), Tammy, Owen, George and JC for being great team players, and to Schay and Hunter for their huge warmth and hospitality!

As always, I love to celebrate the graduating class’ achievements with a slideshow. Special thanks to my nephew, Cameron Held for joining me again this year in Virginia and for assisting and 2nd shooting. It’s not only wonderful to have his help, his photographic contributions are beautiful.


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