Recognition Day 2023 lauds the Class of 2027
Thayer Academy’s Class of 2027 ended their Middle School careers in style as 78 eighth graders received their certificates of promotion June 8 in the CFA’s Hale Theater.
“We’re so glad you’re here,” Middle School Director Galen Hamann told the proud families who filled the theater to celebrate the students’ big day, “and congratulations to our Class of 2027.”
Head of School Chris Fortunato P ‘26, ‘28 also congratulated the class and said he’s excited to welcome the rising ninth graders to the Upper School next fall.
“We have such faith in you and what you’ll do here,” said Fortunato, who reminded eighth graders of the advice he gave at the start of the school year: look up more than you look down; choose to be a builder and not a cynic; and be kind.
Chosen by the class as its guest speaker, Middle School Science Faculty Kristina Macauley called it an honor and privilege to address the gathering. She added that since this was her first year teaching at Thayer, the Class of 2027 will always have a special place in her heart.
“Your achievements have paved the way for your bright futures filled with endless possibilities,” Macauley told students.
Of course, most in the audience were there to hear from the students themselves, and those students did not disappoint. Traditionally, the top scholar in the class delivers the farewell address, but this year saw two top scholars: Compton Jones ‘27 and Isabella Kahn ‘27, whose grade point averages were identical down to the hundredths place value. In the collaborative spirit they’ve enjoyed all year, the two good friends decided to deliver a joint address.
“For me, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout the last couple of years is to stay focused on the present,” said Kahn, who also challenged her peers to surround themselves with friends who bring out the best — and want the best — for each other.
Jones called it ironic that, as a top scholar, one of the most important takeaways from his Middle School experience is that grades are not the be-all and end-all of education.
“I learned that what truly matters is the questions you ask, the interactions you have, and the passions you discover,” said Jones, adding that his experiences with Thayer Academy Television (TATV) and the highs and lows of the class trip to West Point will remain with him far longer than the results of any test.
Delivering the day’s invocation, Nina Mathelus ‘27 told classmates that she would never forget the time spent together in the Middle School. “This day was long-awaited, but we made it,” she said.
Austin Archabal ‘27 offered the welcome address. She compared the Middle School experience to one giant lost-and-found table, where students might feel a little lost or misplaced from time to time as they navigate a new school and classes, but they are always rescued by the faculty, their families, and friends.
“For me, the Middle School was about finding three things: my people, my place, and my voice,” said Archabal.
Deftly leavening his message with humor, Aaravsinh Vaghela ‘27 read an excerpt of Edgar Albert Guest’s poem “It Couldn’t Be Done” while encouraging his classmates to embrace what comes next.
“In the next four years, we’ll create new memories and reminisce about the old ones,” he said.
While the conferral of certificates took center stage, Recognition Day also saw numerous Middle School students receive awards in a range of categories. In addition, Middle School World Languages Faculty Angela Toussaint was recognized for her 20 years of service to Thayer, and Middle School Collaborative Design Lab Director Marie Jimenez was named a co-recipient of the Academy’s Eric M. Swain Chair for Excellence in Teaching.
This year’s “We Are Tigers” award was presented to Teresa Tenney, the Middle School’s assistant to the director and registrar, for her service to the Middle School community.