Family and friends gathered on Sunday, June 5, to celebrate the Class of 2022 in the Gill St. Bernard's Commencement ceremony.
After processing into the Athletic Center to the traditional sounds of bagpipes, the GSB graduating class was emphatically welcomed by Head of School Sid Rowell. During his opening remarks, Mr. Rowell thanked the 84 seniors, their families, and GSB faculty and staff for their wonderful accomplishments and contributions to the school this year.
During the ceremony, GSB Kindergarten Teacher Diane Lipnickey recognized GSB’s Lifers. Lifers are those who attended GSB since first grade or before and included: Blake Bertolini, Hayden Chan, Meghan Cohen, Anthony Curialle, Caroline Davino, Robert DeVergillo, Madison Frantz Pendell, Mary Jane Granito, Regan Macak, Shane Moriarty, Benjamin Novinski, Zachary Saunders, Katherine Scott, Madeleine Soultanian, Olivia Soultanian, William Stamato, Benjamin Sturman, Isha Vemuri, and Chloé Wasser.
In keeping with GSB’s tradition that students serve as commencement speakers, six graduating seniors presented their personal reflections. Speakers included Kayla Palaia, Meghan Cohen, Anna Gnapp, Blake Bertolini, Maya Coleman, and Ryan Brandl.
Award and Prize Recipients:
GERRY CIRILLO PRIZE IN THE FINE ARTS: Cecilia Crowe
Initiated by alumni from the late ’70s, this prize was established in 2017 to honor and recognize Gerry Cirillo, a longtime art teacher, Chair of Fine Arts, Director of Admission, Dean of Students, and coach. The prize goes to a senior for four-year participation and quality of work in the Fine Arts program.
LISA SCHMIDT MUSIC AWARD: Ella Quincy
Established by Lisa Schmidt of the Class of 1974, this award is given to a senior in recognition of his or her musical talent, contributions, and ability to inspire growth and participation in the field of music.
PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENTAL AWARD: Robert DeVergillo
This book award is given annually to a senior who has shown exceptional dedication to the performing arts at GSB through successful completion of departmental course work and regular participation in co-curricular activities and performances throughout their four years in the Upper School.
COMPUTER SCIENCE AWARD: Drew Kania
This honor is awarded each year to a senior who has demonstrated interest, aptitude, and exemplary achievement in computer science throughout his/her years at Gill St. Bernard’s School.
PATRICIA LEE GAUCH AWARD FOR CREATIVE WRITING: Lindsey White
Established in 2014 and endowed by former students and colleagues, this award honors Patti Gauch, a cherished English teacher known for her joyful embrace of life and learning. The award is presented to that senior whose inventive voice, artful storytelling, and disciplined work contribute to the literary life of Gill St. Bernard's School.
PEAPACK GLADSTONE BANK AWARD: Jennifer Salemy
The prize is provided by Peapack Gladstone Bank and awarded to the senior with the highest four-year average in English.
FRANCES B. ROHN MEMORIAL AWARD: David Frankel
The award is named for a highly respected teacher of mathematics for many years at The Gill School and is given to the student who achieved the highest four-year average in mathematics.
CAROL J. HEANEY MEMORIAL AWARD: Emma Ryan
Given in memory of Carol J. Heaney, a treasured science teacher at GSB, this award recognizes intellectual curiosity, outstanding academic achievement, and superior promise in the study of science during the high school years.
HISTORY DEPARTMENT AWARD: Anna Gnapp
This award is a book prize presented annually to the senior who has done the most outstanding work in history.
WORLD LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT AWARD: Ryan Brandl
The award is a book prize presented to the senior dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in world languages and world cultures.
JOYCE CREASEY MEMORIAL AWARD: Sarah Hulsen
The award is given to the senior female athlete whose ability, leadership, sportsmanship, and team loyalty contributed the most to our athletic program.
HAROLD D. NICHOLLS MEMORIAL AWARD: Christian Mote and Logan Mote
The award is presented to the outstanding senior male athlete in memory of Harold D. Nicholls: teacher, coach, Senior Master, and Headmaster from 1917 to 1957 (“A good friend and wise counselor to generations of boys at St. Bernard’s”).
CLASS OF '73 AWARD: Jessica Jose-Navarrete
In keeping with the school’s mission to “provide a balanced, diverse, and secure community,” the Class of ’73 Award recognizes a student dedicated to creating conversations that allow us a better understanding of ourselves and each other. The class of ’73 was the first to combine the girls’ and boys’ school students into what became GSB.
BENNETT SERVICE AWARD: Mary Jane Granito
Given in memory of Caryl and J. Gordon Bennett, the award was established by the Gill School Parents Committee to honor the student who best demonstrates, through active community service, the school's concern and consideration for others.
SUSAN H. STOVER AWARD: Michaela Kroon
Beginning with the Class of 2003, this award honors Susan H. Stover, who served for many years as Director of Development at the school. It is presented annually to the senior who demonstrates the highest level of service and loyalty to Gill St. Bernard’s.
LINDABURY SENIOR HONOR: Blake Bertolini
The Class of 2007 established this award to encourage future seniors to understand the importance of community at GSB. The prize is awarded to a senior who made an outstanding effort to positively aspect the experiences of underclassmen, who acted as a role model and leader, and who was inclusive, compassionate, and thoughtful—the characteristics that underclassmen seek to emulate.
CAPORUSSO/DeLUCA AWARD: Isha Vemuri and Kayla Palaia
The award was established by two graduates of the Class of 1996 to honor a member of the senior class who provided distinctive leadership to both the class and school during his/her years as an Upper School student in extracurricular activities.
JULIAN T. BROWN CUP: Connor Albertson
A St. Bernard's tradition, the cup has been awarded annually since 1913. It is the highest honor that may be attained by a young man at GSB. This student is chosen from the graduating class based on his character throughout his years at the school. He worked for the good of the school, showed thoughtfulness and consideration, and maintained his integrity. It is this student, more than any other, who exemplifies the characteristics of faith, honor, and consideration.
ELIZABETH GILL AWARD: Mary Jane Granito
This is the highest honor that may be attained by a young woman at GSB. This student is chosen from the graduating class based on her character throughout her years at the school. She worked for the good of the school, showed thoughtfulness and consideration, and maintained her integrity. It is this student, more than any other, who exemplifies the characteristics of faith, honor, and consideration. Part of the tradition is that the recipient receives a red rose.
JEAN LOIZEAUX AWARD: Ryan Brandl
Named for Jean Loizeaux, a beloved and influential teacher at GSB for 45 years, this award is given to the senior who earned the top academic record.
In addition, special guest Major Jeff Borriello appointed Connor Albertson as a cadet in this year's United States Air Force Academy Class of 2026. As a member of the USAFA, Connor will join a select group in becoming the next outstanding line of leaders of character in the United States Air Force and Space Force.
Cum Laude: Ishaan Bal, Ryan Brandl, Hayden Chan, Alexander Chotai, Cecilia Crowe, David Frankel, Anna Gnapp, Sydney Goldberg, Phoebe Kirsh, Mia Kolb, Michaela Kroon, Regan Macak, Lily Micera, Eideen Mozaffari, Jennifer Salemy, Katie Scott, and Isha Vemuri were among the 17 newly-inducted members of the Cum Laude Society.
Founded in 1906, the Cum Laude Society recognizes excellence, justice, and honor in secondary schools. 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.
Honor Board: Blake Bertolini, Anna Gnapp, Jessica Jose-Navarrete, Joe Licata, and Isha Vemuri were also recognized as members of the school honor board.
To support Gill St. Bernard’s Honor System and the core values inherent to it, a student-faculty Honor Board was established in the Upper School. This group commits to promote honor and integrity throughout our community and helps to evaluate cases of student misconduct. Five seniors are selected each year to serve in what is considered one of the most important student-leadership positions at the school.
St. Bernard’s Chair of Excellence in Teaching Award:
For the Chair of Excellence in Teaching Award, Mr. Rowell presented this year’s honor to Mr. Frank Corrado.
Conferral of Diplomas:
After Upper School Director Dr. Joel Coleman conferred diplomas to the Class of 2022, Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Doug Matthews officially certified the class: “By the authority vested in me as chair of the Board of Trustees of Gill St. Bernard’s School, and on behalf of its trustees and faculty, I declare you bona fide graduates of the school and entitled to all its rights and privileges thereunto appertaining. The diploma you received is evidence of our actions.”
The Invocation and Benediction were performed by The Reverend Beth Rauen Sciaino of St. Bernard's Episcopal Church. Bagpipers of St. Ann’s of Hampton Pipes and Drums led processional and the recessional.
Stay tuned for the full gallery of Commencement photos available through Bedrosian Photo.