It was a gray day but spirits were high as the Class of 2024 gathered to celebrate their Senior Presentation, one of the major landmarks on the road to St. Johns graduation.
It’s a ceremony almost as old as the School itself, brought to St. Johns by Founding headmaster, Dr. Edwin P. Heinrich, in 1962. He had attended a similar event for his daughter at Agnes Scott College, and liked the idea of acknowledging the seniors’ coming of age and presenting them to the community as adults in their own right, ready to face the world.
Today, the Class of 2024 enjoyed their own Senior Presentation starting with a beautiful brunch at Azaleana Manor. It was an opportunity for them to spend time together as a class, with just a few faculty sponsors and administrators joining them. After photos, food, and a few sage remarks from President of the Board of Trustees Nick Courtney ‘03, the ceremony began at 1:00 p.m. in St. Johns’ Performing Arts Center.
After an invocation by Upper School Student Council President Richard Nichols and a hymn from the St. Johns Singers, Senior Class President Ben Payton delivered a reading of Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, effectively creating the Thanksgiving holiday. This was followed by readings from Senior Class Vice President Kate Jacobs and Senior Class Secretary Karley Costlow.
In one of St. Johns’ newer traditions, the Senior Class elects their own speaker for Senior Presentation and the Class of 2024 has elected Upper School English and Journalism teacher Hope Dorman.
“This day is for the parents and family members, for the faculty and staff, but most importantly, this day is for the Class of 2024,” she began, “and so my speech is for you.”
She proceeded, in a heartfelt and hilarious way, to call out memories of the students from through the years. The audience laughed (and cried) as she told them all that they are smart, talented, athletic, and high-achieving. But also that they are more. “And before you leave this place and the safety and support it provides,” she said, “I want you to hear and fully understand what I mean when I say that. You are more.
“Class of 2024, you are so much more than your achievements. Your character, your values, your relationships, and your personal growth define who you are. These intangible qualities are the true essence of our being.”
She told them stories of her own struggles and failures, and how they helped her become more empathetic and to learn forgiveness. “I want to emphasize that you are not defined by your accomplishments, but by the content of your character, the love in your hearts, and the connections you build with others. Our accomplishments can be a part of our story, but they should not be the whole story. To struggle is to be freed from expectation and to develop resilient character.”
So, in the same words that I have been telling you for years. You are more. This is what I mean fully: You are more than your grades. You are more than your voice. You are more than your sport. You are more than your scholarship. You are more than your clothes. You are more than the number of friends you have. You are more than the wealth you accumulate. And as the acceptance letters get closer, please remember you are more than the colleges you get accepted into and even more importantly please remember you are more than the colleges you do not get accepted into. You are more.”
The seniors stood as Head of Upper School Jackie Lentini read each of their names and, finally, Mrs. Baker read the words of founding headmaster Dr. Edwin P. Heinrich, presenting the Class of 2024 to assembled family, friends, and classmates:
As a teacher I present you to the academic world that you may enter it and meet its demands honorably and successfully.
As your Headmaster I present you to your schoolmates so that they may accept you and look up to you as their leaders and their shining example.
As your friend I present you to your parents so that they may accept you as adults who have come into their own and who are to be dealt with from henceforth on an equal basis.
As your fellow human being I present to you your calling in life that you may always have the wisdom to recognize it and the strength to live up to the divine calling in your life.
Congratulations, Class of 2024!
Members of the Class of 2024 Include:
|Colton Tyler Adler||Tristan Jackson Lentz|
|Colin Reese Albright||Gentry Willem Loper|
|Seth Riley Alford||Roxy Lee Mathews|
|George David Auchter V||Noah Wright Minners|
|Sofia Keren Avila||Ava Rae Morin|
|Alexandre Christian Barret||Richard Carlton Nichols|
|Savannah Kate Berrang||Connor Evan O'Steen|
|Trevor Michael Bradley||Cordelia Arwen Painter|
|Collin Andrew Briggs||Benjamin Milo Payton|
|Harry Wilbert Brown V||Carter Thomas Pickett|
|Sofia Enitza Conde||Chloe Delise Rachal|
|Karley Ann Costlow||Julianna Marie Raimondi|
|Kody Anthony Daneault||Sarah Eileen Robinson|
|Reese Campbell Davis||Ashlyn Kate Rose|
|Daniel Errnesto Deda||Isabela Tamara Rudy|
|Jack Davis Ensell||Mckenna Piper Sachs|
|Addison Ann Frisbee||Charles Russell Scarlett|
|James George Gilson||Avery Nicole Schulz|
|Jackson Ronald Gosselin||Gabrielle Grey Sessions|
|Anthony Jaycob Hawk||Brendan Cahill Teofilo|
|Torrin Michael Heinrichs||Taylor James Thigpen|
|Timothy Homer Jackson Jr||Laura Elizabeth Walden|
|Trenton Isiah Jackson||Jack Alexander Walker|
|Katelyn Elizabeth Jacobs||Sasha Noel Wallace|
|Mary Catherine Kent||James Aston Williams|
|Jacob Thomas Kuramoto||Sophia Rika Woolard|
|Gianna Sophia Lentini|