The view from the balcony in the majestic Riverside Church saw seniors process to their seats, three to a pew, in caps and gowns with now all-too-familiar masks.
While there was distance between them, they could not have been closer as a class. This year’s graduates had demonstrated such a deep well of caring for one another, for the Dwight community, and for others in need during the pandemic, they will long be remembered for their compassion as well as for their resilience.
“Dwight New York and Dwight Global students have persevered during what will go down as one of the most challenging times in global history,” said Head of Dwight School Dianne Drew in her Commencement address. She spoke to the unprecedented times in which our seniors had come of age with strength, passion, and mettle. “You have navigated 18 months of uncertainty, confusion, disappointment, and the complete upheaval of regular school life as you knew it and made it to this momentous occasion in your academic pursuits. The gravity of that cannot be underestimated and gives particular significance to the celebration we are here to recognize today.”
The celebration was a joyous tribute to the collective spirit and outstanding individual accomplishments of the Class of 2021. Included are students who had been at Dwight since Kindergarten — known as members of our 13-year Club — and some of our very first Dwight Global students. A melding of in-person, hybrid, and online learners, this graduating class also includes students who have pursued their personal passions at elite and pre-professional levels and displayed impressive leadership as agents of change in helping others, protecting our planet, and in making our world a better place for all.
During the Commencement exercises, Chancellor Stephen Spahn and Dean of Twelfth Grade Alexander Cunningham joined Ms. Drew with their own special words and wishes for our graduates. Head of Dwight Global Online School Louisa Childs and Head of Upper School Eric Dale presented this year’s awards to recipients in recognition of their academic achievements, contributions to our community, and notable talents on the playing field and in the arts. One award recipient, Justin Chen ’21, shared his musical spark of genius with a vocal and acoustic guitar performance of “Wake Me Up.”
Dwight Salutatorian Elizabeth Tatishev ’21, Dwight Valedictorian Jeanne Rondot ’21, and Dwight Global Valedictorian Remie Suvanto ’21 each spoke eloquently and from the heart, sharing their own perspectives on the unique journey the Class of 2021 had taken before they received their diplomas and the final milestone moment arrived. When the last name was read, Dwight Senior Class President Chaz Jackson ’21 led them all in the academic tradition of turning their tassels from right to left, symbolizing their newfound status as graduates and transition to our newest alumni!
As graduates move on to the finest colleges and universities in the world, we wish them a fond farewell and a giant roar of congratulations!