Class of 2017 Celebrated in 84th Annual Commencement Ceremony
Class of 2017 Celebrated in 84th Annual Commencement Ceremony
Liz Torrey

St. Andrew's held its 84th annual Commencement ceremony this morning, honoring and graduating the 77 members of the Class of 2017.

"Commencement gives me, as a Head of School, the opportunity to express gratitude," said Head of School Tad Roach in his opening remarks, "gratitude for our founding Trustees and leaders who began this educational journey with a vision for a small residential community open to all, regardless of means; for our three previous Heads of School, who daily teach me how to translate the mission created in 1929 to a School exploring the contours of the first twenty years of the 21st century; for our current faculty, who literally bring the rhetoric of our mission statement to life with vitality every day. We honor the teacher in the emergency room; the teacher in the DIning Hall at 7:00 a.m. every morning; the teacher walking the campus with his advisee; the teacher who establishes a distinctive culture of family in a dorm, on a team, in ensemble, or in an advisory group; the teacher who makes the world of learning so exciting and so powerful; the teachers whose very intention, patience and character serves as a guiding light for the lives of students both here and in the years after they graduate. "

L. Heather Mitchell '92 (seen here) gave the Commencement address. Mitchell serves on St. Andrew's Board of Trustees, and also was a member of the School's faculty from 1997 to 1999, during which time she taught English, coached girls soccer and basketball, and worked in the Admission Office. Mitchell's Commencement remarks will be printed in the Spring 2017 issue of the St. Andrew's Magazine.

"As graduates of this esteemed institution, in which almost 50% of the student body receives sizable financial aid, you have an obligation to give back to it," Mitchell said in her remarks, in which she asked students to "stay woke" in this imperfect world. "Whether you have received financial aid or not, every single one of you has benefited from this extraordinary experience. In fact, I would argue that this experience was made extraordinary due to almost 50% of you receiving financial support. We have an obligation to give back to it, because once you take it for granted, it will disappear. There are many who will follow you who will work just as diligently and sacrifice just as much and deserve this just as much as you and I did."

Student body Co-Presidents Jas Southerland '17 and Francis Kigawa '17 also made Commencement remarks; both their remarks and Mitchell's will also be reprinted in the Spring 2017 issue of the St. Andrew's Magazine.

During the ceremony, members of the Class of 2017 were also recognized with the following awards:

Christopher Wilson Award and Scholarship, given by his parents in memory of Christopher Edward Wilson '99. The award recognizes seniors who best embody Chris' virtues and personal qualities: a love of St. Andrew's, a quiet and authentic appreciation of life, friendship, and community; a devotion to service and to children; and a kind and generous spirit. Presented to Charlotte Berl '17.

The Cristin C. Duprey Diversity and Inclusivity Award, given in memory of Cristin C. Duprey '04, to the VI Former who has provided exceptional service in the cultivation of a diverse and inclusive St. Andrew's School community. Presented to Camille Seeley '17 and Jaryd Jones '17.

Jonathan B. O'Brien Head of School Award celebrates the brilliant and courageous leadership and vision of St. Andrew's third Headmaster Jonathan O'Brien, who led the School from 1977 to 1997. The award recognizes seniors who contribute to the ethos of the School with integrity, generosity, humanity and love. Presented to Francis Kigawa '17, Will Imbrie-Moore '17, Nik Malhotra '17, Emma Marvil '17, and Jas Southerland '17.

Fine Arts Award, given to the student who has made the greatest contribution in the fine arts and demonstrated a depth and quality of talent that demands our recognition. Presented to Ruth Puryear '17.

Henry Prize, awarded to the VI Form boys and girls who have been of the greatest service to athletics. It recognizes not only personal athletic skill, but also service to the teams of which the students were members. Presented to Caitlin Cobb '17, Keegan Pando '17, John Paris '17, and Hannah Sailer '17.

King Prize, awarded to the leading scholar during the VI Form year. Presented to Duohao (Russell) Xu '17.

Founder's Medal, awarded to the scholar in the graduating class who, during his or her career at St. Andrew's, has achieved the best academic record in the Form. Presented to Duohao (Russell) Xu '17.

William H. Cameron Award, given to the VI Form boy and girl who have performed outstanding service to the School. Presented to Sarah Pinto '17 and John Paris '17.

St. Andrew's Cross, given in honor of the late Bishop Cook of Delaware, who was associated with the founding of the School, in recognition of the student whose contribution to the School has been distinguished for Christian qualities of concern for others, humility, and high principle. Presented to Harrison Foley '17.

A full list of student awards granted at the close of the 2016-17 School year will also be made available in the Spring 2017 issue of the St Andrew's Magazine. You can watch both Awards Night and Commencement in their entirety on the St. Andrew's Livestream channel.