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After the presentation of diplomas, Robert Downey Jr. stands with the chairman of the Pace Academy board of trustees, Robert Sheft (left), and Head of School Fred Assaf.

The 107 members of Pace Academy’s Class of 2015 had a surprise sendoff from actor Robert Downey Jr., in town to film the latest “Captain America” movie, at the graduation ceremony Saturday, May 16, at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.

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Actor Robert Downey Jr. delivers Pace Academy’s 2015 commencement address.

In his speech, Downey, whose wife and second son are Jewish, shared observations from his experiences as a father, actor and businessman. “Life is doing something with us, something kind of beautifully messy and imperfect. But I like it,” he said. He encouraged graduates to “stay out of life’s way,” “be rigorously honest,” “strive to be tolerant of yourself and others” and “make the right series of sacrifices.”

“I’m grateful that the future belongs to you,” Downey said.

Pace’s new graduates will attend 55 colleges and universities in 26 states and the District of Columbia, plus one in Scotland. Six graduates were named National Merit Finalists; two are National Achievement Scholars.