Stoneleigh-Burnham School celebrated the 150th Commencement on Friday, May 31, 2019 in Emerson Hall. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the School.

Andrew Bergdahl

Andrew Bergdahl, chair of the SBS mathematics department, was been chosen by the Class of 2019 to deliver the Commencement Address. He told the graduates, “You are the experts, this is your world, and it is yours to save or spend. And the world needs you. The world needs experts who are going to bring new ideas to the fight for the environment, and rationality, and human dignity.

“So, welcome to the world, experts,” he added. “We’re glad you’re here. You have a lot to do, so let me just tell you one more thing, before we’re done. Not advice; an observation. Experts lead, but with humility. The more an expert learns in their field of study, the more they realize the infinite gulf of what they don’t know. They also see how much they are needed by the rest of us, and so they take charge, because they know they have to. An expert has an open mind, and actively explores the possibility that they might be wrong, every step of their lives. This is not weakness, it is imperative. Experts are marked by curiosity. About everything. This leads them to find one another. Experts don’t compete, they collaborate, and every important work has been finished this way.”

Julia “Jewels” Hatchard

The graduating class each year chooses a classmate to deliver remarks at their graduation ceremony, and this year they selected Julia “Jewels” Hatchard ’19 of East Orange, NJ. She said, “There are three main things that summarize my class rather well, and those are that my class is very creative, we are also very impactful and finally we all are compassionate.

She added, “I hope that in college all of you have some positivity. Although drinking normal tea is nice, positivity is the ultimate kind of tea. I hope that even in rough times you guys will be able to make light of any situation and power through your struggles by turning them into lessons rather than hindrances. When faced with a daunting task or overcoming a fear I hope that you guys will remember that you are capable of handling whatever comes your way.”

Commencement attendees, including graduates, students, faculty and staff, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, and guests also heard remarks from Head of School Stephanie Luebbers, who introduced each member of the Class of 2019 by describing some of their remarkable attributes, adding, “Class of 2019, you are a truly remarkable group; I challenge each of you to stay courageous, to believe in yourself, and to build your communities with your gifts.”

Ka Yun “Charlotte” Kim

Senior Class President Ka Yun “Charlotte” Kim ’19 and Dean of Faculty Shawn Durrett spoke at the opening of the ceremony, and Board of Trustees Chair Lynn Kehoe ’77 assistedd in the awarding of diplomas.

Durrett said, “Look around at each other– those who have walked this journey with you. Look at the audience– at the teachers and families and friends who support you. Take it all in and keep it forever in a special place.”

Kim said, “The school has created a multi-cultural environment and provided a diverse path of development for each student. It is through this that every single one of us has become the strong, independent young individual we are right now.”

Annual prizes and awards were presented by Academic Dean Lauren Cunniffe P ’09, and science faculty member Nick Roosa closed the ceremony with his remarks, urging graduates to use love to guide them through life rather than fear.

“And so if you expect to find your happiness somewhere over the horizon, it will always remain there, just out of reach,” Roosa said. “If your happiness is contingent upon an accomplishment, your main motivation will inevitably be fear, which might take you far, but will always leave you waiting for resolution that never comes. But if, even in the most challenging and painful moments, you look and listen for your joy, you’ll find it there for you to experience right now. When you do this, when you recognize that you are struggling for things and with people that you care about, your motivation will be love. And regardless of where you end up, if love is your fuel, it’ll be a heck of a journey.”

The graduates of the Class of 2019 are:
Ashorkor Ashittey of Orange, NJ
Cecilia Ball of Leverett, MA
Shuyi (Sherry) Chen of Hangzhou, China
Isabela Cusano of Shelburne, MA
Julia Hatchard of East Orange, NJ
Chloe Hughes of Williamstown, MA
U Jin Jo of Seoul, South Korea
Jacqueline Kennick of Greenwood Lake, NY
Ka Yun (Charlotte) Kim of Seoul, South Korea
Erin LeBlanc of Leyden, MA
Windsor Leonard of Port Orange, FL
Eden Lifshatz 
Olivia Mathew of Chester, NY
Claire McCormick of Orinda, CA
Jacqueline Morgan of Middleton, MA
Tiantian (Ryan) Qi of Beijing, China
Ferima Islamyate Salami of Brooklyn, NY
Clémence Silvain of Winchester, MA
Sydney Wallace of North Conway, NH
Ruofan (Cynthia) Wang of Taiyuan, China
Yongyi (Edith) Wang of Shanghai, China
Ellen Wilhelm of Cornwall, NY
Olivia Young of Bernardston, MA
Jingyao (Sylvie) Yu of Shanghai, China
Lexin (Lexi) Zhang of Beijing, China
Jiayi Zhao of Jinan, China

Commencement Awards
Trustees Award for Teaching: Miriam Przybyla-Baum
Mary A. Green Award: James Lyons
Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Cup: Erin LeBlanc and Yongyi (Edith) Wang
Margaret and Edward Emerson Award: Ashorkor Ashittey
Virginia Giles Whittemore Prize: Jacqueline Morgan
The Spencer Prize: Erin LeBlanc
The Mabel Hood Emerson Award: Jacqueline Morgan
The Prospect Hill Prize: Yongyi (Edith) Wang
The Stoneleigh-Burnham Prize: Eden Lifshatz