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 2023 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 to prepare for the grand celebration Friday morning.

Class of 2023 Brick Dedication

For the first of the evening’s events, the community took a few moments to dedicate the Class of 2023 Bricks. The tradition of the bricks dates back to the 1990s, and continues to provide a tangible spot for each class to leave their mark behind. Classmates and faculty gathered between Berry and Meservey 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. “While your paths take you elsewhere in life, it is our hope that these bricks serve as a North Star for you—a reminder of the stability and purpose you shared here, while also providing the inspiration and confidence you may need to face life’s obstacles as they arise. We hope you will return to Husky Nation often, to visit ‘your place’ on campus, and remember the fun times and old friends whose names interlock with your own.” This year’s class bricks have the honor of placement on Academic Row between Berry Hall and Meservey Hall.

One honored student was selected to share remarks with their class and guests: Quan Hazel ’23. Quan was the head of the senior gift committee, and was counted on throughout the year to connect with his classmates in making this gift a possibility.

Awards Night 2023

This year, Senior Awards combined with Underclass Awards to bring together two special events following the Senior Brick Dedication. The Awards Night ceremony acknowledges the growth of students in their journey to achievement, personal growth, creativity, and imagination and two faculty members for exceptional contributions to the School.

Director of Studies Jen McMahon took a moment to remind us of the exceptional achievement of the honorees this evening. “As we begin our program, let us not forget that every one of our award winners has earned their place here through sweat, tears, and countless days of hard work. They have pushed boundaries, reached for the stars, and inspired others to do the same. […] I would like to recognize all who have accepted the challenge, stayed the course, and did their best.” McMahon also prompted the community to reflect on our theme this year—Gratitude in Action. Noting the lessons gratitude teaches us, how service learning instills opportunity for engagement in us, and how simple acts like holding a door open can uplift someone’s day.

Senior Class President Julia Pellerin ’23, then thoughtfully reflected on the qualities of the community at New Hampton School, the lessons learned from teachers, coaches, and classmates, and how the community becomes part of our family. She also shared how she learned to focus “on just the step in front of me, rather than the entire staircase,” in her pursuit of growth. Through this type of mindset, Julia witnessed her success.

Following the opening, Director of Student Life Scott LeBrun presented the House Citizens of the Year awards. Additionally, Director of Athletics Jamie Arsenault had the annual honor of presenting the athletic awards to underclassmen, seniors, and PGs alike. Erin Walsh ’01, the president of New Hampton School’s Cum Laude Society, inducted several new members of the class of 2023.

Faculty, too, were honored during the evening’s celebration with a presentation of the Ralph S. O’Connor Excellence in Teaching Prize and the Barbara Gardener Master Teaching Chair in Science Prize. Underclass and senior awards were shared by each academic department head, showcasing the vast array of talent and academic commitment in our student body. Please join us in congratulating the honored students and teachers; 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 2023 and their families turned their attention to a formal dinner between the 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 was held in McEvoy Theater with the Class of 2023, their families, and faculty. A common practice at many schools, it offers the opportunity to express reflections. 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 six students—Lucy Palmer, Brielle Fitzpatrick, Brenna Young, Tommy Kenney, Cate MacDonald, and Alex King—shared the evening’s remarks and Alden Truesdale took the mic for a special musical performance.

Faculty Insight

Each year, the seniors join together to elect a faculty speaker for the evening. This year, the graduates of 2022 selected Kevin Driscoll, an English faculty member and New Hampton School alumnus of the class of 2010, to address the class and offer insight.

Mr. Driscoll reflected on some of his cherished memories with this class, citing both concrete moments as well as character qualities of some of the students. Ultimately, however, he dove into the challenges they have faced and will continue to face in life, and lessons to carry with them to counter these often cultural norms. 

Driscoll emphasized the importance of creating a positive environment and living a positive life. He also expressed the challenge to pursue something they are enthusiastic about, and how living life with enthusiasm will serve them to appreciate each day, always set new goals, and make the best out of each moment. He shared, “Don’t check off one box because you have to, or maybe because society is telling you to, or your friend group is telling you to. The true people around you are going to allow you to live a life of enthusiasm.”

Lastly, Mr. Driscoll shared a story from just a month ago. With a busy schedule tying up his day, there were only 30 minutes free, and after reaching for his phone during this time, he came to regret using that opportunity to lean on his phone. He realized we constantly compare ourselves to others because of the constant feed of information from our own technologies. “Unplug and learn about yourself. We don’t know enough about ourselves. Because we are constantly trying to keep up with everyone else and with what everyone else is doing. Unplug. Leave your phone somewhere for a half hour, I’m telling you it is beautiful.” In thinking about our life, our choices, and what makes us happy, we can move forward to better fulfillment.

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

Congratulations to the following students and faculty recognized for their outstanding contributions to New Hampton School.

Cum Laude Society Induction

Current Class of 2023 Members:

Liv Arvidson ’23
Joseph Bourbeau ’23
Averi Curran ’23
Isabella Healey ’23
ThangQuoc “Timmy” Ly ’23
Chucheng “Paul” Tang ’23

Newly inducted Class of 2023 Members:

William Bradbury ’23
Alexandra King ’23
Nina Morel ’23
Alden Truesdale ’23

Ralph S. O’Connor Excellence in Teaching Prize
Ryan Henry

The Barbara Guardenier Master Teaching Chair in Science Prize
Jasmin Buteau

Joe Plaia Athlete Award
Scott Lagos
Julia Pellerin

Golden-Tilton Post-Graduate Award
Charlie Grant

Visual Arts Award
Chucheng Paul Tang

Performing Arts Awards
William Bradbury

English Department Award
Catherine “Cate” MacDonald

History Department Award
Anna Wolf

Mathematics Department Award
Averi Curran

Science Department Award
Joseph Bourbeau

World Language Department Award
Ryan LeBrun

House Citizens of the Year

Caswell House: Andrew Knox
Draper House: Derek Helledy
Ebbels House: Liam Schenck
Galletly House: Charlie Grant
Lewis House: Brady Clough
Lindsay House: Dylan Podergois
Moore House: Lucy Palmer
O’Connor House: Martina Pike
Phillips House: Kayleigh Michaud-Nolan
Rice House: Estelle Jennings
Small House: Jack Slamin
Veazey House: Keyshuan Tillery

Underclass Award Recognitions

Congratulations to the following students that were recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions at New Hampton School. We look forward to their ongoing leadership and growth in the coming years.

Skip Howard Scholar-Athlete: Ronan McNamara
Skip Howard Scholar-Athlete: Kennedy Walker
Scientific Inquiry Award: Martina Pike
Scientific Achievement Award: Xiyu Chen
Emerging Writer in History Award: Catherine Gettens
Emerging Contributor in History Award: Taylor Settles
Spanish Young Language Award: Gus Kusch
French Young Language Award: George Milchev
Mathematical Communication Award: Xingyu Wei
Mathematics Potential Award: Robert Jarvis
Fine Arts Award: Lingyi Kong
Music Award: Jack Slamin
Theatre Award: Ashley Holland
The Writing Prize: Brigid England
The Literature Prize: Ava Millerick

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