Yesterday, Gill St. Bernard's School awarded diplomas to the 85 members of the Class of 2017 during the school's annual Commencement ceremony. Among the graduates were 16 "Lifers," students who have been at the school since first grade or earlier.
The program began with an invocation from the Reverend Sharon Sutton from St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Gladstone, followed by introductory remarks from Head of School Sid Rowell. In his address
, Rowell encouraged the graduates to ask "good questions" and work to "understand the nature of a problem" before arriving at a solution. "Now, more than ever, we need thoughtful, constructive and respectful conversations," he said. "The members of the Class of 2017 are not merely seniors at Gill St. Bernard’s. Each one is also a citizen of the world with all of the duties and responsibilities that come with that citizenship. As they leave our campus today, soon enough to head off to college, I ask each one to consider the nature of what it means to be a citizen in today’s world."
Concluding his remarks, Rowell introduced the seven seniors who would serve as this year's Commencement presenters, offering, "Mine is not a commencement speech, as our speakers today are members of the senior class. In song, poetry and personal reflection, their eloquence will far exceed mine, as does their importance today."
Afterward, the program continued with student awards for accomplishments in academics, athletics and for contributions to the life of the school (full list below), and this year's recipient of the Chair of Excellence in Teaching—the only award presented to a faculty member annually at Commencement. Following the award presentations, Janine Udoff, P '16, '17, '21, '23, chair of the board of trustees, awarded the 85 diplomas, including one to her son Jake who began at the school in 2003.
As our 85 graduates prepare to join the ranks of colleges and universities, we wish them every success in the years ahead.
Congratulations to the Class of 2017!
Commencement honors and prizes
Frances B. Rohn Memorial Award in Mathematics: Sharon Jin
The Carol J. Heaney Memorial Science Award: Pia Bhatia
History Department Award: Charlotte Walsh
Peapack Gladstone Bank English Award: Charlotte Walsh
The Patricia Lee Gauch Award for Creative Writing: Nichole Morley and Charlotte Walsh
World Language Department Award: Louise Horn
Computer Science Award: Evan Druskin
Gerry Cirillo Prize in the Fine Arts: Cindy He
The Lisa Schmidt Music Award: Nathaniel Bess
The Joyce Creasey Memorial Award: Jennifer Lowe
Given to the senior girl whose ability, leadership, sportsmanship and team loyalty have distinguished her and contributed the most to our athletic program.
The Harold D. Nicholls Memorial Award: Cameron Miller
Given to the senior boy whose ability, leadership, sportsmanship and team loyalty have distinguished him and contributed the most to our athletic program.
The Bennett Service Recognition Award: Mary Frances Howard
Presented to the student who best demonstrates, through active community service, the School's concern and consideration for others.
Susan H. Stover Award: John William Dadouris
Presented to the senior who demonstrates the highest level of service and loyalty to Gill St. Bernard’s.
Lindabury Senior Honor Award: Kelly Schiesswohl
Awarded to the senior who has made an outstanding effort to positively affect the experiences of underclassmen.
The Caporusso/DeLuca Award: Erica Phiansunthon
Presented to a senior who provided distinctive leadership to both the class and school during his/her years as an Upper School student.
The Julian T. Brown Cup: Jack Riccardo-Wood
Awarded annually since 1913, the Brown Cup is the highest honor that may be attained by a boy at Gill St. Bernard's. This boy is chosen from the graduating class on the basis of his character throughout his years at the School. He has worked for the good of the School, shown thoughtfulness and consideration, and has maintained his integrity. It is this boy, more than any other, who exemplifies the characteristics of Faith, Honor and Consideration.
The Elizabeth Gill Girl Award: Kaitlyn Sleyster
The highest honor that may be attained by a girl at Gill St. Bernard's School. This girl is chosen from the graduating class on the basis of her character throughout her years at the School. She has worked for the good of the School, shown thoughtfulness and consideration, and has maintained her integrity. It is this girl, more than any other, who exemplifies the characteristics of Faith, Honor and Consideration.
The Jean Loizeaux Award: Pia Bhatia
Presented to the senior with the top academic record
Honor Board Recognition: Allison Coffey, Andres Gonzalez, Mary Frances Howard, Jack Riccardo-Wood and Christian St. Germaine
Cum Laude Society Inductees: Madeline Bedrock, Nina Bhatia, Pia Bhatia, Emma Dean, Yuxin ‘Cindy’ He, Louise Horn, Sharon Jin, Hannah Lazar, Junsheng ‘Isaac’ Ling, Sabrina Marques, Armeen Mozaffari, Lauren Renna, Jack Riccardo-Wood, Kelly Schiesswohl, Naya Shim, Luke Solondz, Charlotte Walsh and Yucheng ‘Ken’ Zhang
An association of 382 chapters worldwide, membership within cum laude is granted to those students who rank among the top 20 percent of their graduating class.
St. Bernard's School Chair of Excellence in Teaching: Math Department Chair Ed Brown