In a moving ceremony Saturday night, St. Johns was honored to celebrate the graduation of the 62 members of the Class of 2021. In a refreshingly "normal" commencement ceremony, final awards were bestowed, honors given, and the seniors graduated to become the latest alumni of St. Johns Country Day School.
"As I reflect on this past school year, we can talk about the many obstacles, misfortunes, and traditions not kept due to COVID, but instead I will focus on what this past year has given to us all," said Head of School Valorie Baker, in her opening remarks. "What I'm referring to is grit." And certainly the Class of 2021, and the rest of the student body during this past year, has shown a lot of grit and determination. That will serve them well in the future, and "now is a skill that will serve them well as they move past the doors of high school," said Baker.
After the awards presentations, Seniors Gaby Loustau and Ellie Rosenau delivered some remarks. In an heartfelt talk, Loustau reflected in a poem on what each of her classmates had taught her over their years together. From hard work and dedication to how to laugh at herself, Loustau called each of her fellow seniors out by name with one of their offerings to the demographic of their class.
"These incredible, studious, and generous people that sit here with me today are people that have a permanent place in my heart," Loustau summed, punctuated with both laughter and tears. "As we take our next steps out into the world as independent humans, we will be confronted with new experiences, new interests, and new challenges. We will work hard and we will be courageous and humble in our endeavors, as St. Johns has taught us. But I know if things get tough we will always be there for each other no matter how many miles apart. These past four years have been full of laughs and tears," she said through tears of her own, "they've been full of success and failures. They have been the most meaningful and memorable years, and I am so fortunate to have experienced them alongside each of you."
A tough act to follow, Rosenau did so with aplomb, invoking the Senior Presentation talk given by senior-elected speaker Mr. Wes Cox.
Swag, she said, is "less about what you look like and more about what you’re made of. It's not wearing the latest Jordans, it's showing compassion to someone in need. It's how you compose yourself, what you do to make a positive difference in this world, and how you handle the inevitable negativity."
Referring to Mr. Cox’s Senior Presentation acronym, she spelled out swag as:
S Stay true to yourself
W Wake up and make the most of today
A Always remember where you came from
G Go after the thing that scares you the most.
After talking through each of the letters, Rosenau zeroed in on going after the things that scare us by quoting former President Barack Obama. “Fear, uncertainty, and discomfort are your compasses toward growth," Obama said. "If you run, you stand a chance of losing. But, if you don’t run you’ve already lost.” So, said Rosenau, "ask yourself, is this challenging? Yes, then do it. Am I afraid of failing? Yes, then do it. Do I feel unsure of myself? Yes, still do it. Our minds so often tell us that we’re not good enough, not equipped enough, not strong enough, not pretty enough, not 'fill in the blank' enough. That is just not true. These doubts and fears and insecurities will creep in, but it’s when we no longer let them have so much power that we can conquer even the things that make us afraid."
"While our experience was nothing like High School Musical, these movies provide a sense of camaraderie and love that we do share," she summed. "We may not hold hands and sing 'we’re all in this together,' but remember we really are."
After tremendous applause for these inspiring talks, diplomas were presented. Reading each graduate’s accomplishments and the college or university each has chosen to attend, Mrs. Fisher and Vice President of the Board of Trustees Mr. Richard Wilson bestowed the diplomas.
Congratulations to these 62 new St. Johns alumni, and best of luck on all of your future endeavors!
Class of 2021 Graduation Awards:
English Award: Allison Bright Korahais
The Carol A. Hart Math Award: Ethan Anderson Albright
Science Award: Anna Simmons Wulbern
Art Award: Natalie Rae Higingbotham
The Mary Virginia Fisher French Award: Allison Bright Korahais
Spanish Award: Ethan Anderson Albright
The Myrtle O’Shea Latin Award: Cade Robert Zehner
Cynthia C. Landry History Award: Julia Reese Nichols
Drama Award For Theatrical Performance: Gabrielle Martha Loustau
Drama Award For Technical Theatre: Jason Richard Thomas Jr
Dance Award: Julia Grace Schildberg
Music Instrumental Award: Alexander Kingdon Dimmick
Music Vocal Award: Alexa Rose Verboort
Computer Science Award: Jonathan Eugene Kats
Captain Borries Cup Award: Connor Thomas Moore
Linda C. Guswiler Athletic Award: Madeline Laura Moody
Maggie Elizabeth Kent
Julia Marie Andrawis
Avery Paige Baskin
Julia Grace Schildberg
Jonathan Eugene Kats
Amelia Jane Dyer
Alexander Kingdon Dimmick
Ellie Camille Rosenau
Fred Marion Cone IV
Jason Richard Thomas, Jr
Valedictorian Award: Alexis Sophie Drumm
Edwin Paul Heinrich Award: Ellie Camille Rosenau
Dora Helen Skypek Award: Jonathan Eugene Kats
Stephen F. Russey Best All-Around Young Man: Ethan Anderson Albright
Stephen F. Best All-Around Young Woman: Maggie Elizabeth Kent
Roddey R. Fisher Award: Ellie Camille Rosenau
Members of the Class of 2021 Include:
|Alexis Michelle Agramonte||Allison Bright Korahais|
|Ethan Anderson Albright||Abbey Rebecca Lantinberg|
|Paul Brandon Allen||Natalie Grace Lassiter|
|Julia Marie Andrawis||John Bernard Linge III|
|Yashas Aprameya||Gabrielle Martha Loustau|
|Maxwell David Arnold||Hannah Agnes Marshall|
|Avery Paige Baskin||Spencer Charles Martin|
|Gary Frank Bradley III||Walker Bay Mathews|
|Landon Jeffery Boone Brafford||Max Nicklaus Monroe|
|Charles Tilson Branch||Madeline Laura Moody|
|Kaley Marie Burnside||Connor Thomas Moore|
|Fred Marion Cone IV||Julia Reese Nichols|
|Stephanie Grace Constantino||John Michael Nowicki|
|Chloe Renee Crews||James Douglas Oman|
|Paige Riley Crews||Alexa Marie Radford|
|Chloe Adair Davis||Brooke Alexis Remolde|
|Mason Timothy Davis||Isabella Grace Richardson|
|Alexander Kingdon Dimmick||Luke Daniel Robinson|
|Alexis Sophie Drumm||Ellie Camille Rosenau|
|Amelia Jane Dyer||Gavin Keys Russell|
|Brooke Aidan Ferris||Mia Morgan Sadler|
|Mykel Javier Frazier||Julia Grace Schildberg|
|Emma Jane Harward||Luke Christopher Shannahan|
|Natalie Rae Higingbotham||Jay'd Alan Micha St. John|
|Desiree Holmberg||Jason Richard Thomas, Jr|
|Bianca Chiara Horen||Alexa Rose Verboort|
|Julia Hannah Jones||Vincent Lenorris Williams Jr|
|Haley Ann Juskowski||James Richard Loram Wilson|
|Jacob Douglas Kailes||Natalie Zoe Wilson|
|Jonathan Eugene Kats||Anna Simmons Wulbern|
|Maggie Elizabeth Kent||Cade Robert Zehner|