“One could say Antioch is a social experiment. A microcosm of current cultural crises; a movement towards liberation of the parts of ourselves that have been denied or turned away from in the shared struggles of our time.”
These words are from the opening of Hollyn Bermond’s Commencement speech, which she delivered on Saturday, June 22, 2019, in front of Main Building a few minutes before receiving her B.A. from Antioch.
Like virtually all graduating students since the re-opening of the College, Hollyn thanked alumni for supporting her education. Hollyn’s Antioch Adventure has been particularly intertwined with alumni: she applied to Antioch on the recommendation of Ann Theis ’99, her mentor at the local TV station where she worked as a high school student in Denver, CO.
She was admitted to several other colleges, but it was her interactions with alumni that made her decide to come to Yellow Springs. “Every alum that I met glowed when they talked about their time at Antioch.”
Hollyn Co-oped at the Antioch School, in Costa Rica—where she got certified in permaculture—and at Riversong Sanctuary in Hawaii where she worked with more Antioch alumni. During her time on campus, she worked at the Wellness Center where she received her yoga teacher certification, and volunteered with incarcerated women at Dayton Correctional Institution where she co-created a children’s book with inmates.
She was also a regular volunteer for Phonathon nights in the Office of Advancement, where she was known to go off script to swap Antioch stories with alumni late into the night!
Hollyn Bermond ’19 and Ann Theis ’99
Hollyn receiving her diploma from President Manley
Hollyn self-designed her Eco-Performance degree. “The ability to self-design and work intimately with faculty advisers is one of my favorite things about Antioch,” she says. “It allows you to individualize your learning but also, to diversify it by drawing from different disciplines. Like permaculture, it’s healthy for the soil to have more than one crop. We really learn from each other—we grow.”
“Contrary to popular belief,” she continues, “Antioch is closer to the real world than it is to a bubble. It teaches you to problem-solve, to take control of your path, and to never expect anything delivered on a silver platter. It builds resiliency.”
The following are the closing words of Hollyn’s Commencement Speech:
“Being an Antiochian requires fierce determination and courage, adaptability, and resourcefulness. From curriculum shifts to Co-op swaps, we have been around the world and back again. We have been through a great many changes, collectively and individually over the past four years (and for some of us a bit longer!). We have changed.
“Acknowledging the inherent changeability of life affords us the perspective to be active participants in world affairs, our cultures, and our own lives in a way that we do not take things for granted. We take responsibility for our education, we are in the driver’s seat, with guidance from faculty, staff, and students we’ve built relationships with. Those relationships aren’t ending; they are transforming.
“Finally, I want to thank the generous alumni that fuel the rising phoenix—the flames that have served as a kiln for each of us graduating today—stronger than before. I was awarded a four-year full-tuition scholarship, an opportunity to do something no one in my family has done before.
“Thank you all for making this moment possible.”