Steward Honors Graduates During End-of-Year Ceremonies

Steward celebrated the accomplishments of all students for the 2018-19 school year, especially fifth-grade, eighth-grade, and senior students.

The end of the school year is a time for celebration and festivities, and the close of the 2018-19 school year was no exception. The past week included several ceremonies recognizing the accomplishments of students at all grade levels, with special events for the classes of 2026, 2023, and 2019.

Lower School Recognition Ceremony

Steward's Class of 2026

Steward celebrated its 39 fifth graders during the Lower School Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, May 30. The celebration marked the Class of 2026’s official transition into Middle School.

Audience members were treated to an inspired class-wide performance of Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” led by music teacher Samson Trinh on the ukulele, as well as a slideshow presentation highlighting each student in the Class of 2026.

Lower School Student Council President Molly Timmerman presented the legacy gift to Head of School Dan Frank on behalf of the fifth-grade class. “We wanted to bring the Lower School into the 21st century with a water bottle filling station,” she said. “When you’re filling your water bottle next year, we hope you will think of us.”

Accolades presented during the ceremony included awards for art, sportsmanship, computational thinking, library, and more. The most prestigious award given to a Lower School student — previously known as The Lower School Award, but renamed The Linda Dunville Award in honor of longtime Lower School Division Assistant Linda Dunville, who passed away earlier this year — went to Burke Jennette. The award is presented to one student each year who best exemplifies kindness, effort, cooperation, and school spirit.

In her message to the graduates, Lower School Director Ingrid Moore asked students to think about their legacies, or what they will leave behind them as they move through life. She recalled Mrs. Dunville’s legacy of kindness and acceptance, and how it shaped Steward’s culture.

“You can contribute to this legacy and leave your own mark on it by being true to yourself, following your passions, and being the very best you you can be,” Mrs. Moore said. “That’s what Mrs. Dunville did, and that’s what she would want from each of you. Good luck!”

Class speaker Burke Jennette shared his experience as a Lower School student, highlighting the importance of the friendships he made there. “Some of us may be sad to finish Lower School, and that’s okay because we take our memories and the lessons we’ve learned with us,” Burke said. “Lower School sure was fun, but watch out, Middle School.”

Middle School Recognition Ceremony

Steward's Class of 2023

Fifty-nine members of the Class of 2023 were recognized on Friday, May 31 for their successful completion of Middle School at the division’s recognition ceremony.

During their joint opening remarks, eighth-graders Hayden Ashworth and Henry Bearden recounted the many lessons they learned from Middle School teachers. “It seems to me that Middle School is so special because it goes by so fast,” Henry said. “When you get to the end, you suddenly realize how amazing it was.”

Lily Jennette presented the class gift to Mr. Frank — sports equipment for recess activities, along with a donation to ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation. “We hope this gift will unite the Middle School students and allow them to have as much fun as we did during the past few years,” she said.

The eighth-grade chorus members performed “What I’ve Been Looking For” from High School Musical as well as Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me.” Members of the eighth-grade band followed with a jazzy rendition of the eponymous score to the 2004 Disney-Pixar film The Incredibles.

Middle School Division Director Susan Atkinson addressed the class with a retelling of the story of Donald Davis. Davis, a professional storyteller, severely injured his leg as a child. His mother required him to repeatedly share the story of his accident. When the younger Davis protested that telling his story wouldn’t change anything, his mother responded that the point was not to change what happened; the point was to change him.

“You are going to face successes as well as difficulties,” Ms. Atkinson said. “But those difficulties should not define you, and can actually help you achieve things you didn't think were possible.”

Seventeen eighth-grade students were recognized for achieving Honor Roll, and an additional six were noted for their inclusion on Headmaster’s List. Two students were presented with the Outstanding Progress Award for showing the greatest overall growth and improvement in all areas of school: Mollye Goldberg and Cooper Thomas. Lastly, Hayden Ashworth was awarded The Steward Award before the presentation of certificates by Mr. Frank.

Mikal Banks and Gates Fox closed the ceremony by reminiscing on fun activities they remembered from Middle School. “Middle School can be a difficult time learning new things about yourself and other people,” Mikal said. “Having a support system is a good thing to have, whether it be your friends at school or your family at home. To all the sixth and seventh graders, we hope that you are able to find a good support system that is able to help you for years to come.”

Baccalaureate and Graduation

Steward's Class of 2019

Forty-six students of Steward’s Class of 2019 were honored in last week’s Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremonies.

Director of College Counseling Heather Jeter provided the invocation for the Baccalaureate and Senior Program on Sunday, June 2. Multiple featured readers spoke at the event including seniors Logan Ransom and Aayush Lalwaney, and Class of 2019 sponsors Kristen Householder and Greg Young.

Upper School Director Adam Seldis spoke to the seniors preceding a choral performance of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” Band Director John McAlister led an instrumental ensemble in a special arrangement of “Now’s the Time” by jazz legend Charlie Parker. Afterward, Mr. Frank introduced the “Faculty Reflections” video in which Steward faculty and staff members spoke on behalf of each member of the Class of 2019.

The following day, Monday, June 3, Steward honored the Class of 2019 at the Senior Graduation.

Following an invocation from the Class of 2019 sponsors, Chair of the Board of Trustees Jay Poling welcomed attendees with a broad overview of the graduating class. Mr. Poling pointed out that together, the students had earned over $5.4 million in merit scholarships. He then invited his son, senior Class President Alex Poling, to the stage to present the class gift to Mr. Frank: a new school sign to be installed in the Upper School parking lot.

Sam Popp took the stage to offer a special message to seniors. His engaging speech included references to major events that occured in each year while the senior class was in high school, highlighting the reopening of the United States and Cuban embassies, the release of Drake’s music video for “Hotline Bling,” the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, and the removal of the giant panda from the endangered species list.

He then relayed some timely advice: “Once you find your rhythm, slow down and enjoy the moment. These are the memories you’ll want to cherish for the rest of your life.”

Speaker Chloe Zehfuss made similar remarks: “To the Steward students not graduating today, I encourage you to cherish every day you have left at Steward,” she said. “Your time here will be over before you know it.”

Musical selections included the instrumental “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” by Duke Ellington (arranged by John McAlister), and a choir performance of “Seasons of Love” by Jonathan Larsen, both of which featured graduating seniors.

Mr. Frank made a point to honor Director of Admissions Robin Oliff‘s 17 years, announcing her new part-time role as the Alumni Engagement Coordinator — “a very fitting role for the woman who personally admitted every single student who is graduating today,” he said. As a thank you, he presented Mrs. Oliff with her very own letter of acceptance.

Mr. Frank then announced the winner of The Dixon Award — given annually to the member of the senior class who has made outstanding contributions to all aspects of The Steward School — to Logan Ransom.

At Graduation and the Upper School Awards Assembly in May, other awards were presented to members of the senior class for their achievements:

  • K-12 Lifer Awards: Trace Coles, Abby Dwelle, Gracie Goodpasture, Kayla Hudnell, Bentley Mescall, Lizzie Parris, and Alex Poling
  • The Janet L. Rice Spartan Club Scholarship Award: Logan Ransom and Abbie Campbell
  • The SPC James Vawter Buis, USA, Athletic Scholarship Award: William Glazebrook
  • The Carolyn R. Brandt Alumni Award: Abby Dwelle
  • The Michelle Anderson-Haigler Performing Arts Scholarship: Evelyn Dumeer
  • The Brantley Blair Scott Leadership Scholarship: Kerrington Martin
  • The B. Lee Healey Award: Abbie Campbell
  • The Ian M. Coddington Award: Evan Salp
  • The Faculty Award: Abbie Campbell, Tre Chalmers, Evelyn Dumeer, Aayush Lalwaney, and Chloe Zehfuss
  • The Mission Award: Gracie Goodpasture, Morgan King, Allie Maxwell, Brandan Pruitt, and Summer Qu

During his commencement address, Mr. Frank challenged the audience not to be preoccupied with post-graduation events, but to focus instead on the people seated around them and why they’re important. He celebrated being aware of the present moment, and moving through life patiently rather than frantically.

“We think wrongly that if we move faster, we will accomplish more,” he said. “But the most important things can only be built slowly over time and with great care.” Mr. Frank then shared heartfelt comments of admiration and appreciation for each member of the graduating class.

Following the presentation of diplomas, honorary diplomas were awarded to retiring teachers Margaret Maclin and Jane Whitely, each of whom taught at Steward for thirty years.

Director of Upper School Adam Seldis delivered the closing remarks. “In this room right now is your village as you know it,” he said. “It is unlikely to form in the same room again. So take this opportunity to soak it all in and be grateful for what others have done for you.”

Congratulations to every student for the successful completion of another year! Click here to view and order photos from each of the end-of-the-year celebrations. Use the password “spartans1819” to access the gallery.




Copyright 2019 The Steward School

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