The Gunston School Celebrates 107th Commencement

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On the morning of June 9, 2018, The Gunston School celebrated its 107th Commencement, graduating 42 students from the Class of 2018. The longtime tradition of an outdoor ceremony along the banks of the Corsica River was greeted with cloudy skies, but warm smiles. Bagpiper Robert Wallace led the processional, as the girls in white formal dresses carrying flower bouquets and boys in blue blazers and khakis processed.  Class President Neel Patel delivered the opening greeting, followed by each senior presenting a favorite quote.

Photo: Class of 2018: L-R, front row, Lila Ingersoll, Alli Webb, Emma Hottell, Gillian Felton, Ryleigh Paskoski, Joey Smith, Mary Macmillan, Hope Murphy, Betty Zhou, Crystal Liu, Grace Dai; second row, Assistant Headmaster Christie Grabis, Headmaster John Lewis, Oliver Wu, Charlotte Sheets, Brennan Paddy, Lily Phipps, Susie Fordi, Rose Fan, Tirza Enriquez, Heidi Barcus, Steven Goss, Board of Trustee Chairman Jim Wright, President of Washington College Kurt Landgraf; third row, Naix Wang, Tanner Ways, Max Cao, Yohanes Gray, Neel Patel, Jacob Yu, Cubby, Zhou; fourth row, Dutch Nickerson, Mitchell Naumann, Alex Papadopoulos, Sam Johnson, Henry Parkhurst, Robert Messier; back row, Nat Vivian, Kobe Zheng, Simon Cawley, Jack Morrison, Chris Newberg, Garrett Rudolfs

This year’s commencement speaker was Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Landgraf earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Wagner College, before going on to earn three master’s degrees. Mr. Landgraf earned a master’s of economics from Pennsylvania State, a master’s of educational administration from Rutgers, and a master’s of sociology from Western Michigan University. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

“Today is about defining success.” Mr. Landgraf stated in his remarks to the graduates. “Success is about you being happy, it has nothing to do with how much money you make, how big your house is, or what you drive.” He concluded with these words of wisdom, “who you are and what you are, are enough. You don’t have to be more than the person inside you.”

On Friday, June 8, the Green & White Awards Ceremony was held in The Field House. Headmaster John Lewis addressed the class of 2018 praising them for their accomplishments, adding what a privilege it had been to work with such an extraordinary group of young men and women. He wished them all the best in their future endeavors.

Valedictorian Lila Ingersoll addressed her classmates with the metaphor of a layer cake. “I crafted a unique one to represent the senior class’ four years at Gunston. I am sure you have all seen a layer cake before, but the cake I am using in this metaphor has 4 layers of cake and 4 layers of frosting in between (including the icing on top of course). When reflecting back on our high school experience, I found all the layers to be very sweet but each one has a different purpose…”

The awards ceremony was followed by the Brick Laying Ceremony and Senior Disembarkation. Four years ago the Class of 2018 arrived to campus by boat, where they were greeted by outstretched hands and smiling faces of the upperclassmen and faculty. On Friday, the 42 members of the class of 2018 once again walked through the receiving line, but this time they said farewell to their friends as they disembarked from Gunston to start their next journey.

Board of Trustee Chairman Jim Wright, Valedictorian Lila Ingersoll of Chestertown and Headmaster John Lewis

Several faculty members participated in the presentation of awards, which recognized the following students:

Valedictorian—Samuel A. Middleton Award: Lila Ingersoll
The Gunston Award: Henry Parkhurst
Leadership Award: Neel Patel
Diversity Leader Award—Susie Fordi
Community Service—Marguerite Thomas Award: Rose Fan
Moore Award for Improvement: Alli Webb
The Faculty Award: Josephine Smith and Gillian Felton
Environmental Stewardship Award: Sam Johnson
Paul M. Long Award: Caroline Roser
Clare Poussard Award: Katie Staley
Megan V. Batdorf Award: Elena Sherman
The Anita Gruss Athletics Award: Brennan Paddy and Mitchell Naumann
Art Award: Rose Fan
Music Award: Li (Cubby) Zhou
Theatre Award: Simon Cawley
Mathematics Award: Henry Parkhurst
Science Award: Ryleigh Paskoski
Engineering: Jack Morrison
Bay Studies High Honors: Emerson Borghardt, Jianna Casiello, Katherine Chen, Dylan Conner, Cora Duncan, Katie Easter, Cole Evans, Gillian Felton, Francesca Fisher, James Fordi, Yanni Harris, Griffin Hecht, Lindsay Hildebrand, Sam Johnson, Ellie Merton, Will Newberg, Dutch Nickerson, Henry Parkhurst, Ryleigh Paskoski, Neel Patel, Lily Phipps, Isabella Santoboni, Max Scott, Elena Sherman, Charles Shifrin, Abbie Silva, Nellie Stup, Jackson Talbott, Nat Vivian, Alli Webb, Owen White
History—Capt. John P. W. Vest Award: Sam Johnson
Spanish Award: Henry Parkhurst
Latin—Marie W. Whittico Award: Katie Easter
English Language Acquisition: Karen Chen
English—Sandra Slacum Spears Award: Lila Ingersoll
Literature—Hila C. Ferguson Award: Simon Cawley
English Immersion Award: Areopl Bai
Junior Symposium Award: Marisa Pisapia
Senior Paradigm Project Award: Hopewell Murphy

The final award, the coveted Green & White Cup for the 2017-2018 school year, was presented to the Green Team! Twice each year, Gunston declares a “green & white field day” as students, faculty and staff divide into two teams and compete in activities that range from canoe races, tennis matches, a pie eating contest and sack races, to math competitions, creative writing challenges, ultimate Frisbee, photography and more. The team accumulating the most points from both days wins the Green & White Cup.

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