Seniors gathered with their families and faculty on the eve of graduation to celebrate class members' many achievements at the Class of 2017 Assembly. As he welcomed students and their guests to Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts, Head of School Chris Fortunato urged seniors to take a moment to appreciate their surroundings and thank their friends, teachers and loved ones. "This moment will not come again," he said. "Take a look around and soak it in. Remember the good times and the challenging times, because they have helped you become the person you are today. And we would not have it any other way." (To watch a video of the assembly, click "play" below.)
Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni took center stage to announce academic awards that had been presented on Monday evening at the Senior Prize Assembly, and he was followed by Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto '97, who recognized senior leadership groups including prefects, the Senior Class Council and athletic team captains. Next, science teacher Rob Merrifield, president of Blair's Cum Laude chapter, inducted 12 seniors into the academic honor society, and then Blair administrators stepped to the podium to present some of the School's top honors for the year (please see the full list of Cum Laude Society inductees and award recipients below).
The program continued with the presentation of the class of 2017's Blair Fund gift. Annicka Haines '17 and Chloe Beam '17 gave a check for $5,782.76 to Mr. Fortunato, which included contributions from 80 percent of seniors. Annicka and Chloe worked closely with interim Director of Annual Giving Colleen Smarth throughout the year to raise awareness among their classmates of the importance of alumni Blair Fund support. For the 16th year, Trustee Emeritus Jim Krugman '65 and his wife, Connie, maximized the class gift by generously contributing a 3:1 match of every dollar raised by seniors.
Seniors and their families enjoyed a screening of "Looking Back: The Class of 2017 Video Perspective" before the event concluded with a benediction from Blair chaplain and religion and philosophy department chair Russell C. Powell.
Congratulations to the students who received prizes at the Class of 2017 Assembly:
The Franklin Prize is awarded to the student in the senior class who has shown the greatest development and improvement throughout the course (presented in memory of Dr. Louis Franklin).
The Harold F. Walker Memorial Prize is awarded to a member of the senior class who has made significant contributions to the life of the School.
George Louis Pektor & Chase Keith Singletary
The Selena and James Howard Prize is awarded to a member of the senior class who has made significant contributions to the life of the School.
Yu Jin Choi & Tys Mcgovern Sweeney
The Elaine and James Kelley Prize is awarded to that student who best represents the spirit of the postgraduate program by strengthening academic skills and his or her horizons through meaningful participation in the life of the community.
Caroline Elizabeth Peppard & Ratchanon Pornmongkolsuk
The Lee Rose Memorial Trophy is awarded to the senior, who while performing with merit in the classroom, has made significant contribution to Blair life.
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The William Zester Memorial Award is presented to the female athlete who has best represented Blair Academy in athletic competition.
Melissa Reade von Stade
The Robert Dalling Prize is presented to the male athlete who has best represented Blair Academy in athletic competition.
Chase Keith Singletary
The Herbert J. Siegel Sportsmanship Prize is presented to that senior whose sportsmanship, spirit and selfless dedication to his or her teams best represent Blair Academy athletics.
Ekrem Melih Ayhan & Emily Grace Deehan
Cum Laude Society membership is awarded to students having achieved good character development and high academic standing.
Charlotte Austin Buck
Caroline Elizabeth Devlin
Andrea Rose Dorsa
Yeon Soo Jang
Sadie Alexis Loeber
Emily Elizabeth Lunger
Alecia Hana Mund
Hannah Lang Ochtera
Kaitlin E. Robertson
Fiona Julia Walsh