Commencement Eve; The Final Hours Before Graduation

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Each moment counts on the day preceding Commencement at New Hampton School. It is a day filled with events that are both memorable and necessary for our graduates. From brunch to graduation rehearsal, New Hampton School’s Class of 2022 attends a string of events from morning until night. These events allow both the community and the graduates to celebrate their achievements, their history at the school, their new status as alumni, and prepare for the grand celebration on Saturday.

Class of 2022 Brick Dedication

For the first of the evening’s events, the community took a few moments to dedicate the Class of 2022 Bricks. The tradition of the bricks dates back to the 199os, and continues to provide a tangible spot for each class to leave their mark behind. Classmates and faculty gathered in front of Lane Hall early Friday evening to view their names in the sidewalk, listen to their classmates, and reflect.

Head of School Joe Williams opened the ceremony, sharing some history on the brick walkways and sitting areas. “This is where you are all immortalized, providing a space of reflection for your underclass friends or faculty who may visit this place to remember individuals and the class as a whole. […] Right now, your focus is simply on leaving tomorrow, which I understand, but as the years go by, the pull of this place will draw you back.” This year’s class bricks have the honor of placement on Academic Row in front of the newly renovated Lane Hall. Mr. Williams noted that it feels like a “fitting spot” as it is a new space beginning a new journey, just as the class is beginning a new journey in life.

Two students were selected to share remarks with their class and guests: Sophia Schwartzman ’22 and Calvert Nolan ’22. Sophia reflected on her time here, and how this was the first spring she was able to fully experience these three years, but ultimately the connections she made helped define New Hampton for her. “New Hampton means something different to everyone. To me, it means a big family.” From each teacher she gratefully gained something new, and from her class she notes, “the friendships we have all made are lifelong friendships, whether we shared classes, sports, houses, events, or just a hi in the hallway. You are all a part of my New Hampton family.”

Cal, for his part, shared his congratulations with his classmates. The end of their time together led him to ponder their beginnings and his time here at New Hampton, and a final takeaway.

“When it comes down to it my time at New Hampton has been a time to figure out who I really am, and I am happy to say I have. New Hampton has been the place I have called home for three years and is the first place I truly felt connected and at home. What these bricks mean to me is that our names will be here forever and no matter where we are we will always have a connection here. I will take all the memories and lessons I have gained here and use them to help propel me forward and bring life and love to wherever I end up.”

Class of 2022 Senior Awards

This year, Senior Awards followed the Senior Brick Dedication and returned to its traditional location in the Arts & Academics Center Field House with the full school community and Class of 2022 families. The Senior Awards ceremony recognized individual students and one faculty member for exceptional contributions to the School.

Head of School Joe Williams took a moment to remind us of the School’s yearlong theme of Together Again, noting the optimism with which this theme was selected, in hopes that our year would be “uninterrupted, which it was, and that we would find joy in what we have, not dwell on what has been lost.” He also acknowledged that the School’s ultimate goal is to produce graduates of great character. The award ceremony acknowledges the growth of these students in their journey to achievement, personal growth, creativity, and imagination.

After remarks from Senior Class President Jaewon Oh ’22, which thoughtfully reflected on the qualities of the class, while also noting a sadness at the end of their days together, and an inherent excitement “to see what will all accomplish in the near future.” Oh shared a personal reflection of his own growth found through his experiences on the football field—something he was unfamiliar with in his early days at New Hampton. Through perseverance, he found success. “Soon, all of us will take a big step to the next chapters of our lives. It might get uncertain at times, but let’s believe in ourselves, put our heads down, and just keep going.”

Following the opening and Cum Laude Society Induction, the awards for the Ralph S. O’Connor Excellence in Teaching Prize and Senior Awards were shared with the community. Please join us in congratulating the honored students and teacher; the full listing is available below.

As underclassmen retreated to their houses for a casual year-end celebration with their housemates and final moments to pack prior to summer break, the Class of 2022 and their families turned their attention to a formal dinner between Senior Awards and Baccalaureate. Hosted in Memorial Dining Hall, this tradition is a special meal to both welcome families and send off our graduates with a nourishing meal.

Baccalaureate

Baccalaureate was held in McEvoy Theater with the Class of 2022, their families, and faculty. A common practice at many schools, it offers the opportunity to express reflections. To be clear, it is a personal space, and a deeply connecting experience filled with heartfelt tales, humorous quips, hopes, and advice. Most of all, it often focused on what will be missed and what will be gained in return. Mr. Williams and four students—Nga Nguyen, Cam MacLean, Sarah LaCroix, and Juju Ramirez—shared the evening’s remarks.

Faculty Insight

Each year, the seniors join together to elect a faculty speaker for the evening. This year, the graduates of 2022 selected their senior class dean, Greg Ladd, to address the class and offer insight.

Mr. Ladd dove into memories and the at times difficult experiences the students and faculty experienced these past few years. While the outcome has “built up your toolbox on the best ways to deal with adversity,” it makes no guarantees for the future. Ladd shares, “I can say for certain that there will be times when the road you are traveling on becomes tougher to navigateA fork in the road where you have to make a very difficult decision: bad weather, or something out of your control that slows you down or makes you change course.” Through a personal anecdote that carries us through Mr. Ladd’s high school and college years, he advises that there was always one person checking in on him—his baseball coach, Dale Plummer.

Through this relationship, even when worry and stress became at times “unbearable”, Ladd found he gained a new perspective.

One: if I keep pushing forward, day by day, with a positive attitude and showing respect and care for others I can make it through the most trying of times. Two: there will always be someone out there, a teacher, a coach, a friend, who believes in you and your goals. 

Your experiences you’ve faced in the past four years at New Hampton, at 2 schools, maybe even 3 or 4 schools, have been molding you into a person ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. When something happens—maybe a professor or coach that you can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with, a challenging problem set where you can’t get to the answer, or a relationship that you care about may be on the rocks. If you feel like you are sinking into a pit of mud, dig in harder with your feet and hands, work as hard as you possibly can and know that you can find a way out. Reach out and grab that hand of the person who is trying to pull you through this challenge.  Be the person that is aware of the struggles of others and be the person that gives their hand to help.”

Ladd implored the senior class to consider what their life would have been like these past years without New Hampton, and what possibilities have run through their minds. Ladd notes he knows he has been at the “right place” these past seven years, and that he could not imagine missing out on the lifelong friends he has met, the experiences he has gained in his career, and the “amazing students like yourselves that I’ve grown from at New Hampton School.” The power of connection, the people met, the teams and classes experienced, the chances taken—all of these shared experiences have perhaps become a part of our essential selves, making it impossible to imagine changing a choice that has led to these moments. In closing, Mr. Ladd asked the seniors to “make some more memories, laugh and cry, and let your emotions out, and enjoy and appreciate the tremendous company you have around you!”

Following the featured speakers, a closing slideshow captured the character of the class and their time together over the years.

Congratulations to the following Seniors recognized for their outstanding contributions to their class and New Hampton School.

Cum Laude Society Induction

Current Class of 2022 Members:

Alex Boriss
Sophia Hausberger
Haozhan “Harry” Lu
Mucheng “Max” Ma
Cat Vu Nguyen
Hadley Rossignol
Talia Shirley
Charlie Truesdale

Newly inducted Class of 2022 Members:

Ke Chen
Casey Chesner
Nga Nguyen

Ralph S. O’Connor Excellence in Teaching Prize
Lauren Gale

Joe Plaia Athlete Award
James McCool
Casey Chesner

Golden-Tilton Post-Graduate Award
Alexi Twahili

Visual Arts Award
Cat Vu Nguyen

Performing Arts Awards
Sophie Pankhurst

English Department Award
Linda Mukundwa

History Department Award
Alexander Boriss

Mathematics Department Award
Prompt Kerdphoksup

Science Department Award
Hadley Rossignol

World Language Department Award
Sophia Hausberger

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