On June 1, the 94 members of the Class of 2018 graduated in St. Anne's-Belfield School's One Hundred Eighth Commencement Exercises. More than a thousand people were in attendance at the Conway Convocation Center to celebrate the graduates, who together made up the most international class in the School's history.
"This is the story of the Class of 2018," Head of School David Lourie told the assembled guests while introducing the class.
"Leaving something better than they found it. Part of something bigger than themselves... Leaving a legacy behind. This is to have succeeded. Examples of this among all of these seniors are myriad in individual and group accomplishments, but more so in their effort, and their integrity, and their comradery."
Twenty "sandbox kids" were among the members of the Class of 2018, those enrolled since Pre-School, Kindergarten, or first grade, and were honored with their names read aloud.
Mr. Matthew Swift '05, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Concordia, an impactful, nonpartisan organization dedicated to actively creating, elevating, and sustaining cross-sector partnerships for positive social impact, served as the keynote speaker. Swift attended the School from 1998 – 2003, and his message focused on each graduate's ability to positively impact their communities and world, even when it seems uncertain.
"I feel it is my obligation to talk a bit about what is going on around the world today," Swift said. "The time we live in today is unprecedented. I can tell you with confidence that we are living through a time where fifty years from now your grandchildren will ask you what it was like to be alive today, to witness what is happening in our country and in our world...
"Each and every one of you, embers of the Class of 2018, have the power to impact the world in a positive way. Whether a small impact or a large one, each of you have in you the skills, the intelligence, the drive, the focus and the determination to add value and make a difference. In fact, I would go as far to say that each of you do not have a choice, the experiences and education you have received require you to become a person of values, integrity, and to be centered by a moral compass that will lead us into the next decades."
In addition to Swift's speech and the conferral of diplomas, the ceremony included an official resolution honoring 45-year teacher, coach, and administrator Doug Tarring, and the presentation of three special recognitions:
- The Malone Prize —presented to a member of the St. Anne's-Belfield School community in recognition of that individual's loyalty, service, and contribution to the life of the School, this year honoring Nancy Kovatch;
- The Michael E. Waylett Service Award — honoring a teacher or staff member whose extraordinary dedication and service extends beyond the classroom, this year awarded to co-recipients Mark Adair and Steven Gagnon;
- The Diana Edwards Smith Teaching Mastership — awarded since 1987, the highest teaching award given in the academic year, this year recognizing "Miss Pat" Riddick.
The graduates of the Class of 2018 will matriculate at nearly 60 colleges and universities this fall. The full Class of 2018 Matriculation List is available online now.