Commencement Eve; The Final Hours Before Graduation

Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+

Peek at the schedule for the day before Commencement and you will find a day filled with moments both memorable and necessary for our graduates. From brunch to rehearsals, New Hampton School’s Class of 2024 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 2024 Brick Dedication

For the first of the evening’s events, the community took a few moments to dedicate the Class of 2024 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 Pilalas and Meservey Hall early Friday evening to view the freshly finished names in the sidewalk and reflect.

Head of School Joe Williams opened the ceremony, sharing some history on the brick walkways and sitting areas. “They may look like just bricks, but we want you to view them as something much more. They are time capsules filled with memories of your years here at New Hampton. They are the friendships, events, performances, big wins, academic accomplishments, challenges, and perseverance’s all stuffed into this brick. They are building blocks that have established your foundation of values, habits, and skills learned here upon which you can now start building the house that will represent your life’s journey.” This year’s class bricks have the honor of placement on Academic Row between the Pilalas Center and Meservey Hall.

One honored student was selected to share remarks with their class and guests: Everett Lybrand ’24. Lybrand shared with his fellow classmates, “As we stand here, surrounded by friends, teachers, and family, let’s remember that these bricks are just a small token of our legacy. The true mark we’ve left behind is in the memories we’ve created, the relationships we’ve forged, and the positive changes we’ve inspired.”

Awards Night 2024

The Awards Night ceremony acknowledges the growth of all students in their journey to achievement, personal growth, creativity, and imagination, as well as 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 and to reflect on this year’s theme—Make it Matter. “Our students understand that their actions and contributions hold significance, not just for themselves but for their community and beyond. Whether it’s through innovative learning experiences, meaningful service learning, or dedicated teamwork in the arts, athletics, or community life, our students strive to make a positive difference in the world around them. By embracing this theme, they not only excel academically but also develop a strong sense of responsibility, empathy, and leadership. You have not only made us proud, but you have also contributed to the growth and development of Husky Nation.”

Senior Class Co-President James Thomson ’24 then took to the lectern to welcome the community and reflect on his four-year experience at New Hampton School. Expressing themes of finding one’s place amidst new and uncertain experiences, and learning valuable skills to focus and achieve even on the toughest days, Thomson implored his classmates to let go of the stress of trying to control the uncontrollable. “Time is fleeting and I want to emphasize to everybody returning to New Hampton to make the most of it. You won’t get an experience like this again so make every moment count. To my graduating class, make the most of your time going forward.”

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 postgraduates alike. Erin Walsh ’01, the president of New Hampton School’s Cum Laude Society, recognized the societies members and presented them with their gold tassels for their Commencement regalia.

Faculty, too, were honored during the evening’s celebration with a presentation of the Ralph S. O’Connor Excellence in Teaching Prize and The O’Hara Family Excellence in Teaching 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 2024 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 2024, 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. Four students—Dylan McDougall, Amanda Wei, Ingrid Bjornas, and Santiago McCulloch—shared the evening’s remarks and Contemporary Performance Lab members Emma Morel, Laura Liebert, Teddy Sang, Will Schremp, and Matteo Vecchione performed “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.

Faculty Insight

Each year, the seniors join together to elect a faculty speaker for the evening. This year, the graduates of 2024 selected Ky Feldman to address the class and offer insight.

Mr. Feldman reflected on what he could offer at his age, noting that he’d have “a hard time convincing myself, that I of all people, have any answers.” But in fact, he had earnest and practical advice to share with what it means to grow and embrace life in a community.

Feldman first covered the importance of a good friend and how they will get you though “just about anything.” In acknowledging that the start of their high school careers under the masks of COVID-19, he tied together the idea of shedding their masks in many ways as they grew. “Despite our best efforts, the beginning for many of you was far from normal. But, if you’re anything like me, wearing a mask at the beginning of high school, whether literally or figuratively, is the easy part, it’s taking it off and letting people see who you really are that can be intimidating. Change will always be scary, and the trick is finding the few people who give you the courage to take your mask off.” He continued his advice with two additional notes: to not take ourselves too seriously, and to remember to be more than one thing. Each of us is multi-faceted, and it can be easy to forget that we are not just a good athlete, a good student, a good artist as we move from high school to college to careers. “People may try to convince you your identity is defined by your sport, your grade, or somewhere down the line, what you do for a living. But if you’re lucky, what you do will be a vehicle through which you express who you are. And if you’re smart, who you are will always evolve.”

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 Recognition & Tassel Presentation

Class of 2024 Members:
Brady Bernier ’24
Xiyu (Jerry) Chen ’24
Catherine Gettens ’24
Ashley Holland ’24
Everett Lybrand ’24
Ava Millerick ’24
James Thomson ’24
Xingyu (Amanda) Wei ’24
Hanyin (Coco) Zhang ’24

Ralph S. O’Connor Excellence in Teaching Prize
Jake Moore

The O’Hara Family Teaching Prize in English
Meghan Aronson

Joe Plaia Athlete Award
Kieran McNamara ’24
Emily Hobausz ’24

Golden-Tilton Post-Graduate Award
Alex Lafreniere ’24

Visual Arts Award
Xiyu (Jerry) Chen ’24

Performing Arts Awards
Emily Hansen ’24

English Department Award
Gus Kusch ’24

History Department Award
George Milchev ’24

Mathematics Department Award
Kornpholkrit (Numton) Weraarchakul ’24

Science Department Award
Everett Lybrand ’24

World Language Department Award
Eva Thirion ’24

House Citizens of the Year

Caswell House: Heidi Smith ’26
Draper House: Brady Bernier ’24
Ebbels House: Lucy (Lulu) Zuker ’25
Galletly House: Jack Mahoney ’24
Lewis House: Jayden Terrell ’26
Lindsay House: Kelsey Baker ’26
Moore House: Ingrid Bjornas ’24
O’Connor House: Eva Adams ’25
Phillips House: Ferdinand von Bismarck ’27
Rice House: Xiaoshu (Jessie) Jiang ’27 
Small House: Charles (Charlie) Kaikow ’26
Veazey House: Conor Griffin ’25

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: Noah Stevens ’26
Skip Howard Scholar-Athlete: Elyse Ngenda ’26
The Scientific Inquiry Award: Kennedy Walker ’25
Scientific Achievement Award: Robert Jarvis ’25
Emerging Writer in History Award: Adam Rizk ’25
Emerging Contributor in History Award: Alisa Koroleva ’25
Spanish Young Language Award: Aiden Suarez ’25
French Young Language Award: Miles Sargent ’25 
Mathematical Communication Award: Anqi (Angel) Zhao ’25
Mathematics Potential Award: Adam Rizk ’25
Visual Arts Award: Siyue (Jocelyn) Fan ’25
Music Award: Miles Sargent ’25
Theatre Award: Alycia Leriche ’25
The Writing Prize: Robert Jarvis ’25
The Literature Prize: Caroline Thomas ’25

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


An independent, college preparatory school for boarding and day students, grades 9-12 and postgraduate.

© Copyright 2020 New Hampton School