With the first few notes of Pomp and Circumstance, the processional of Dwight administration and students in caps and gowns began.
As members of Dwight and Dwight Global’s Class of 2022 made their way down the center aisle of the glorious Riverside Church to begin Commencement Exercises, their smiles flashed brightly and their Lion-sized pride filled the sanctuary. Alexander Cunningham, Dean of Grade 12 in New York, ushered in the ceremonies. Our community of families, faculty, and staff was delighted to be together in person for the occasion, made even more special as it took place during Dwight’s milestone 150-year anniversary.
“It is, indeed, a momentous time for the School, but especially for you, our graduates today,” said Dianne Drew, Head of Dwight School and Global Education Director, in her address. “You have really triumphed over the last two and half years through very challenging times. There have been multiple times that you have been continually tested by the pandemic. … There have been a myriad of global and domestic concerns that dominate the airwaves to worry you, your IB studies to push through, and the many applications you completed for college and beyond (just to name a few), but through all of that, you have shown a heightened sense of character, compassion, endurance, and maturity that is beyond your years.”
Ms. Drew, who quoted Carl Jung — “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being” — continued: “To my Class of 2022, you kindle that light of purpose in the darkness. You inspire and reassure the weary adults here and motivate the younger students to do more, be more. You have epitomized what an IB student should aspire to be, you embody that pillar of community that Dwight holds so high, and you now embark on a journey where your purpose will only shine brighter, stronger, and indelibly change others for the better.”
As the ceremony continued, Chancellor Stephen Spahn — who marked his 55th Dwight Graduation — and Head of Dwight Global Louisa Childs shared their own words and wishes for the Class of 2022. Additionally, Dwight’s Head of Upper School Eric Dale and Associate Head of Dwight Global Shannon Hoffman had the honor of recognizing award recipients for their outstanding academic achievements, leadership, contributions to our community, and notable talents on the playing field and in the arts.
Some of those talented students shared their musical sparks of genius: a duo of New York students, Bernardo Sequeira and Carolina Bueno Silva Arap, sang a beautiful rendition of “Older” by Ben Platt.
Dwight Global’s Samantha Randall performed “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum” by Claude Debussy exquisitely on the piano; and Daniel Kang performed “Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano IV. Allegretto poco mosso” by César Franck superbly on the violin with an accompanist.
The spotlight was also on student-speakers who represented themselves and their fellow members of the Class of 2022: Caroline Hendrickson, recipient of the Dwight Global Leadership Award; Giselle DeSousa, Dwight Global Valedictorian; Albert Randsborg, Dwight School Salutatorian, and Bernardo Sequeira, Dwight School Valedictorian. Each of them spoke eloquently and from the heart about their individual experiences, meaningful moments with classmates, and appreciation for all those who have supported them on their Dwight educational journeys.
When all of the diplomas were in hand, there was one more ceremonial moment left for the 132 seniors in this year’s class — including nine, members of our 13-year Club, who have been at Dwight since Kindergarten. That was the turning of the tassels from right to left, symbolizing their newfound status as graduates and transition to becoming our newest alumni. Dwight Senior Class President Albert Randsborg, together with Dwight Global’s Senior Representative Charlotte Tanner-Morash, led them all in this time-honored academic tradition before graduates tossed their caps in the air to the sound of thunderous applause!
Off to the finest colleges and universities, we hope to see our newest alumni back on campus for visits and reunions in the years to come!