Thayer Academy held its 144th Commencement exercises Saturday and made a little history in the process with 139 graduates, its largest class ever.
The ceremony was held in person on the Teardrop, and while the weather was far from picture-perfect, graduates and guests were happy to have avoided the rain earlier in the day. More to the point, they were grateful to be together.
“Class of 2021, we are a community and family always,” said Jefferson Driscoll ‘21, who offered the invocation at the June 12 event. “Thayer, Thayer forever.”
Senior Speaker Anna Bagley ‘21 offered a mix of humor and hope in her remarks. She urged her classmates to “be relentlessly kind” and told them: “I can’t wait to brag that I know you.”
Valedictorian Vinh Tran ‘21, who will attend Yale in the fall and boasted a 4.5 GPA at Thayer, told the story of hearing “grheumatism” instead of “rheumatism” during a freshman spelling bee … to predictable results.
“You will fail because failure is a part of life,” said Tran, who added that finding those moments of joy and laughter are what makes life truly meaningful.
Head of School Ted Koskores ‘70 P ‘10, ‘13, who will retire this summer after 18 years at the helm of his alma mater, served as this year’s Commencement speaker. He spoke of his own time at the Academy before calling the school a place of support and affirmation, singling out faculty and staff as the primary reason. He told the graduates to hold on to the discipline and confidence that they’d acquired over their time at Thayer.
“Don’t allow anyone to shake that faith in yourself,” he said.
Koskores also warned that the polarization our society faces is dangerous because it stops people from truly seeing one another and working together.
“It can all come undone,” said Koskores, whose tenure as a teacher included time in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution. “It takes an act of will to hold on to those things that are dear to us.”
Thayer Academy Board of Trustees Chair Michael Joe conferred diplomas to the graduates. He told the class that the resilience it displayed during the COVID-19 pandemic “is a testament to you, your parents, and Thayer Academy.”
One additional highlight of Commencement was Arts Faculty and Gallery Director Karen Koskores P ‘10, ‘13 receiving the last diploma on behalf of her art student Amanda Zhang ‘21, who was watching remotely from her home in China. Earlier in his remarks, Koskores noted how fitting it was that he would be handing the last diploma to his wife and fellow retiree to mark “a career we have traversed together.”
This year’s benediction was offered by Layla Claybourne ‘21, who reflected upon the years of love, challenges, and support that have shaped the Class of 2021.
“We are blessed and truly grateful,” Claybourne said.
To view a video of Commencement, please click here.
NANCY DINATALE TAYLOR AWARD: MIKAILA KITCHEN
THAYER ACADEMY OUTSTANDING MALE ATHLETE AWARD: MYLES WILSON
THE MAUREEN E. BUCKEN GIRLS ATHLETIC AWARD: CASSANDRA DAVIDSON
THE THOMAS J. BERRY III AWARD: VINH TRAN
GILBERT A. BOOTH AWARDS: LILLIAN BRADLEY and CHRISTIAN MONTURIO
WARD S. DONNER AWARDS: JOHN CARBONE and MIKAILA KITCHEN
PHOEBE LEE HOSMER FOREIGN LANGUAGE PRIZE (for excellence in the study of French language and culture): KATE PULGINI
PHOEBE LEE HOSMER FOREIGN LANGUAGE PRIZE (for consistent and constructive contribution to the Latin program): SEAN WALLACE
PHOEBE LEE HOSMER FOREIGN LANGUAGE PRIZE (for excellence in the study of Hispanic language and culture): JOHN CARBONE
LEIGHTON S. TOWER HISTORY PRIZE (for excellence in the study of history): MEGAN BOWEN
LOUISE E. SAUL AWARD FOR ENGLISH (for extraordinary interest in the study of literature): MARK “OLIVER” VONNEGUT
LOUISE E. SAUL AWARD FOR ENGLISH (for outstanding achievements in writing): SIDRA ESCHUAZIER
MAURICE R. SEYMOUR PRIZE FOR MATHEMATICS (for excellence in mathematics): SAMANTHA HUGHES
CHARLES R. MANGAT-RAI PRIZE FOR COMPUTER PROGRAMMING (for outstanding work in computer science): OLIVIA NOREKE and GIOVANNI MARINILLI
HELEN ALDEN BREEN DRAMATICS AWARD (awarded to that student who has contributed a great deal of time, interest, and ability either on stage or backstage or both, in school productions): AVA CLANCY and LAYLA CLAYBOURNE
E. IONE LOCKWOOD MUSIC AWARD (awarded to a student who has been involved in musical activities exhibiting talent, effort, and personality of permanent remembrance): CHRISTOPHER CARRABES and SIDRA ESCHAUZIER
THE JOHN M. RODOCANACHI ART PRIZE (awarded to a senior who has exhibited strong potential and outstanding achievement in the field of art): SARAH NAANAA
NATHANIEL AUGUSTINE THAYER SCHOLARSHIP: VINH TRAN
JOTHAM B. SEWALL PRIZE: VINH TRAN
THE WALTER AND PRUDENCE ABELL DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS: JEFFERSON DRISCOLL and JOURNEY-ADE KING
HEAD OF SCHOOL AWARD: ANDREW BENNETT II and JOVANNA WALKER