HUDSON -- It was touch and go for a while, but despite the ominous forecasts, the weather cooperated and the Class of 2017's final day at Western Reserve Academy was a truly beautiful one.

Akron and District Pipe Band steered the 114 graduates from the Class of 2017 and WRA faculty forward, leading the way with the bright, ceremonial music as they processed from the John D. Ong Library to the front of the Chapel.

After a warm welcome from Head of School Christopher D. Burner '80, student speaker Daniel Mylott addressed his classmates, faculty, staff and all those attending the ceremony. His speech was full of affection for the school, particularly for those peers, faculty and WRA community members who made his time so memorable, and to whom he expressed sincere gratitude.

"As long as we can remember this place, we can remember the people, the relationships, the friendships we made while here," said Mylott.

This year's featured speaker was Jude Kearney '76, an attorney at the law firm Greenberg Traurig in Washington, D.C., as well as the Chair of the firm's Africa practice. He returned to campus to deliver a message filled with well wishes and words of wisdom for the departing class.

"We have joined together here today to thank you, to congratulate you and, for many of us who have graduated here, to tell you that we love you as if you were our own," he said.

He spoke of his time at Reserve with the highest regard, holding it even closer to his heart than his also cherished time at Harvard and Stanford Law School.

"The impact that Western Reserve Academy had on me was never had again," said Kearney. "This school is unique. It's magical. It provides a community. It provides a curriculum. It provides caring administration and teachers like no other school in the world."