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  • Commencement

Pingree celebrates the Class of 2016!

Few places possess the scenic tranquility of the Pingree Hedge Garden, a beloved community gathering point and the site of the 2016 Commencement ceremony. On Sunday, June 12, 2016, friends, family, faculty, staff, and loved ones sat in rows of chairs on the garden's main level, and up the grassy stone tiers leading up to the Pingree mansion. The bag pipers played and community members smiled through tears as the Class of 2016 processed down the steps in their traditional Pingree ties and white dresses. The 56th class of Pingree scholars was graduating.

"Inevitably when we talk about Pingree," said Charlotte Esty '16 in her welcome address, "we end up referring back to the fact that it was once a house. I love when this happens because it serves as the perfect metaphor: Pingree has been home to all 87 of us these past four years."

Pingree has a way of quickly transforming into a home not only for its students, but for their parents as well, whom Esty made sure to acknowledge in her address, thanking them for cheering on the sidelines and "snapping pictures and fingers" at performances. Head of School Dr. Timothy Johnson echoed Esty's gratitude in his own remarks, urging students to look to their parents, teachers, and classmates and to think about the sacrifices that have been made on their behalf.

In his address, Dr. Johnson praised the graduating seniors for being "independent, spirited, passionate, musical, feisty, and an all-out mix of identities and talents." He humorously highlighted their tendency to park anywhere (literally, anywhere) they wanted and commended their leadership in welcoming and guiding Pingree's largest ever freshman class, showing these students and others the Pingree way.

Citing author John Green, Dr. Johnson's advice to graduates was to "be weak before the world, because love, listening, and deep understanding require an openness — a vulnerability." He encouraged the Class of 2016 to invest fully in all that they do and to utilize "uncommon thinking," always endeavoring to maintain a multidimensional view of the world.

Following the presentation of the class gift — a new public address system — by Charlotte Grinnell '16 and Brady Mokrzycki '16, Emma Brandt '16 took to the stage to introduce speaker Meridith Kilmartin Moran '98, digital program manager for iRobot Corporation. Moran shared her story of transformation from a writing-focused English major to a robotics builder.

"My journey was not typical," she said. "Yes, I do work for a cutting-edge robotics company today, and thus I call myself a builder. But 20 years ago, I thought that since I was good at writing and reading, I was meant to go into the arts or publication. Become an editor, or a reporter maybe."

It never occurred to Moran that there might be a place for her in robotics, a field ostensibly reserved for scientists and engineers. But with her creative mind, sharp intellect, and passion for world betterment, she quickly found herself thriving, hand-picking the teams to build the robots and implementing strategies to market and sell them.

"Don't be turned off by something because it's hard, or because it doesn't appear to be the expected path," she said. "It's all about passion. Knowledge is there to be gained. Anyone can learn, but passion is real. Find something you are passionate about, and make a difference. The path will open up to you."

After the graduates crossed the stage to the tune of their tributes and received their diplomas, Teddy Rosen '16 brought the program to a close. He underscored the closeness and camaraderie of the Class of 2016 and expressed his awe at the diversity of their talents.

"We are all better people for being at Pingree," he said. "And I think we can all say that we wouldn't have changed it for anything else."

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  • Commencement

Pingree alumna Meridith Kilmartin Moran '98 delivers the 2016 Commencement Address.

Pingree alumna Meridith Kilmartin Moran '98 delivered the 2016 Commencement Address, sharing her professional trajectory as a writing-focused English major turned robotics engineer.

"My journey was not typical," she shared. "Yes, I do work for a cutting-edge robotics company today, and thus I call myself a builder. But 20 years ago, I thought that since I was good at writing and reading, I was meant to go into the arts or publication. Become an editor or a reporter maybe."

It never occurred to Moran that there might be a place for her in robotics, a field ostensibly reserved for scientists and engineers. But with her creative mind, sharp intellect, and passion for world betterment, she quickly found herself thriving, hand-picking the teams to build the robots and implementing strategies to market and sell them.

"Don't be turned off by something because it's hard or because it doesn't appear to be the expected path," she advised. "It's all about passion. Knowledge is there to be gained. Anyone can learn, but passion is real. Find something you are passionate about, and make a difference. The path will open up to you."

WATCH MORAN'S ADDRESS AND THE ENTIRE 2016 COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY HERE.

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  • Commencement

Congratulations to All of this Year's Award Winners!

SCHOOL AWARDS

GRADE NINE PRIZES: Jennifer Minney and Vito Visconti
GRADE TEN PRIZES: Lydia McGinn and William Varsano
HARVARD BOOK PRIZE: Andrew Murdoch
YALE BOOK AWARD: Omar Badr
THE NATALIE GATES LAWTON AWARD: Daniel Massillon
THE NATHAN CHANDLER II AWARD: Olivia Peña
FACULTY AWARD FOR DILIGENCE: Cassidy Assad
ALEX UHLE HEADMASTER'S AWARD: Anirudh Pula and Hanna Stasiuk
THE ROBERT THRUSTON HOUK THAYER JR. AWARD: Michael Riley and Betty Lewis
THE WILLIAM S. ROGERS AWARD: Nicolas Nadeau and Cameron Segal
JESWALD ART AWARD: Nina Lubeck
ERICKSON ART AWARD: Caleb Grant
BUTLER ENGLISH PRIZE: Rachel Foster and Miranda Nolan
DAVIS ART HISTORY AWARD: Jennifer Jenkins
JUNIOR RESEARCH PAPER AWARD: Lili Mitchell
CHARLES P. RIMMER JR. AWARD IN MATHEMATICS: Michael Curly
SACHARUK SCIENCE AWARD: Andrew Murdoch
THE MARCEL LEFLEM LANGUAGE AWARD: Nathaniel Johnson
NICKLESS MATHEMATICS AWARD: Jennifer Jenkins
BURRALL ATHLETIC AWARDS: Justin Assad, Griffin Beal, June Kiely, and Kerri Zerfoss
THE RICHARD L. PESCE MEMORIAL AWARD: Charlotte Esty, Michael Femia, Evan Maravelis, Lauren Menzie, and Mollie Smith
CHARLES P. RIMMER JR. AWARD: Merrill Stabler
THE REINHALTER AWARD: Therese Meldon and Binkley Shorts

DEPARTMENTAL AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE

ART DEPARTMENT: James Vassallo and Arjen Steegstra
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT: Hanna Stasiuk
HISTORY DEPARTMENT: Mollie Smith
LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT: Sara Pisanelli
MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT: Rachel Foster
SCIENCE DEPARTMENT: Rishabh Shah
SENIOR HIGHEST SCHOLARSHIP BOWLS: Rachel Foster, Nathaniel Johnson, Anirudh, Mollie Smith, and Hanna Stasuik

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  • Commencement

Students and Faculty Speak the the 2016 Baccalaureate Ceremony.

The 2016 Baccalaureate Ceremony was flavored with the bittersweet feeling that often comes with commencement, as seniors Matt Cavanaugh and Miranda Nolan, and "graduating" faculty members Beth Savarese '99 and Buddy Taft shared departing words of wisdom and heartfelt memories of Pingree.

Math teacher, coach, and Senior Class Dean Beth Savarese — affectionately known as "B-Sav" — opened the program with reflections on her 15+ years at Pingree as a student, alumna, and faculty member.

"It's hard to pinpoint what I will miss most at Pingree," she shared. "I am a person of habit. Every day I park facing the pool, walk into the school juggling my iced tea, backpack, and gym bag, usually with [Edward] Kloman at my side (making fun of my hairstyle).It will be strange when the bell rings for my first class in my new school."

She acknowledged that the changes ahead would be daunting, but understood that they would also be exciting, and assured students that Pingree, as they knew it, would always be here for them. "Teachers and students will certainly change with time," she said, "but the core values and comfort of what is inside these walls will not."

As Savarese's words implied, connections to Pingree don't grow fainter, but stronger with time, a revelation only recently discovered by Matt Cavanaugh. In his address Cavanaugh admitted that he didn't always love high school, and for years couldn't wait for it to be over. It wasn't until a hockey injury sidelined him for his senior winter and spring athletics seasons that he realized how much he would miss about Pingree — specifically the little moments, which held more weight than he'd ever imagined.

"We reminisce and think back, and as badly as we want to relive some of these moments, we can't," he explained. "But that's why we have them as memories. Because they are special and they mean something and we wouldn't be the people we are today without them."

Few understand the impact of these Pingree moments as personally as Dean of Students Buddy Taft, who offered a mosaic of moments illustrating the multidimensionality of Pingree's spirit:

"I've walked into school to find my office filled with balloons. Found fish in the water cooler. Seen the Commons set up on the baseball field. And I've witnessed a moving three-verse poem encouraging recycling. I've heard remarkable stories from students and faculty as they 'share their hats.' I've been awed by musical and dance performances. I've seen students encourage others to participate in their causes. And this all in the first 30 minutes of the day."

Looking ahead to a new role at Pingree, Taft could identify with the fear of change each of the graduates now face. "Change is inevitable," he said. "We can resist it, but we can't stop it. What we can do is embrace it, name it, and own it."

In the final speech of the evening, Miranda Nolan also addressed the concept of change, pointing out the things that had changed over the course of the past four years — personal tastes in fashion and music, the New Arts Wing and Athletics Center, shifts in confidence and maturity. But she also recognized that there were certain things that would forever remain the same.

"The goal is to create something that will stay at Pingree forever," she explained. "To create proof that we were here." The Class of 2016's memory, she said, would live on through their personal stories and unique character traits. She poetically summed up the Class of 2016 as follows:

"Class of 2016, we are fireflies hooked up to generators. We are tigers you just can't tame. We are the mind- melting movie plot twist. We are the type of lightning that strikes more than once. We are footprints left in wet cement. We are pinwheels set into motion by all that Pingree has given us."

Nolan's tribute to her classmates was followed by a moving rendition of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic," performed by Pingree's Instrumental Ensemble.

It was, as Head of School Dr. Timothy Johnson opined in closing, the perfect song to end the night.

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  • Commencement

The Class of 2016 by the Numbers.

Highlanders from the Class of 2016 will attend 57 different colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, with 49 staying in New England, 21 headed to the Mid-Atlantic, 8 to the South, 4 to the Midwest, 4 to the West, and 1 to Canada.


20 student-athletes (above) plan to play collegiate sports, 5 of whom will play at the Division I level.

13 grads are members of Pingree's Cum Laude Society.

3 members of the Class of 2016 are Prep@Pingree alumni.

The Class of 2016 collectively earned $2.4 million in merit-based college scholarships.

75% of 2016 grads were admitted to their first- or second-choice schools.

The Class of 2016 had 7 National Merit Commended Scholars.

VIEW THE CLASS OF 2016 MATRICULATION LIST

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  • Commencement

Faculty and Staff Write Tributes in Honor of Our Graduating Seniors.

Following Pingree tradition, graduating seniors annually ask members of the faculty and staff to write tributes in their honor, highlighting their unique passions, achievements, and most cherished personality traits. These tributes, excerpted and published here, are read before the community at the Senior Tribute Dinner and again as students cross the stage at Commencement. As evidenced by the heartfelt reflections, commendations, and praise shared by their mentors, the Class of 2016 will forever be remembered for their humor, intellect, compassion, and drive.

READ THE CLASS OF 2016 SENIOR TRIBUTES


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THIS IS PINGREE

Discover a place where you belong and stretch beyond expectations.

Coming Up at Pingree

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THE PINGREE EXPERIENCE

TACKLING BIG QUESTIONS TOGETHER
Danny — Student
CONVERGING TRADITION AND TECHNOLOGY
Mr. Haltmeier — Faculty
DISCOVERING THE POWER OF HER VOICE
Charlotte — Alum

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