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Stoneleigh-Burnham School Celebrates 149th Commencement Address

Stoneleigh-Burnham School celebrated the 149th Commencement on Friday, May 25, 2018 in Emerson Hall.

Rev. Shayna Appel with her horse, Sunflower.

The Class of 2018 chose as their Commencement Speaker alumna Rev. Shayna Appel ’78 P ’04. Appel is an ordained minister who holds standing in both the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC). She serves as co-pastor with her wife, Rev. Robin Lunn, at First Church in Jaffrey, VT, and is also the minister at All Souls Church Unitarian Universalist in West Brattleboro, VT. In addition to her work in Parish Ministry, she serves as Chaplain to Townsend and Peterborough Fire Departments, the MA Corps of Fire Chaplains, the Granite State Critical Incident Stress Management Team, and the UU Trauma Response Ministry team.

A parent of an SBS graduate, Appel has served on the SBS Board of Trustees and sat for one term as its chair. She has delivered remarks at Convocation for about the past eight years. It was fitting that Appel spoke at this year’s Commencement, the last for retiring Head of School Sally Mixsell, as she spoke at Mixsell’s installment in 2008.

At Commencement, Appel urged graduates to use the strengths they have gained as SBS students, which includes a better understanding of themselves and their true power, to go out and use their abilities to fight and overcome the injustices in our world.

“We are living in interesting times,” she said. “Do your own thing. Do it in your own way. Do it with pride. But do it anyway.” Read Appel’s full remarks on our school blog, “View from the Nest.”

Clara Richardson-Omamo

Clara Richardson-Omamo ’18 was chosen by her class as the student speaker and used her moments at the lectern to convey to each of her classmates what each of them has taught her. She also advised them that when in the midst of difficultly to remember not to miss out on the good.

“You are all inspiring and insightful people,” she said. “Value your education. Value yourself, others and the world. Don’t miss out on the beauty in the world. Strive for happiness and appreciate the good in life.” Read her full remarks on the school blog.

Graduates, students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, parents, and guests also heard remarks from Head of School Sally Mixsell ’69, who recalled that the Class of 2018 was the only class that wrote themselves a mission statement, in the 11th grade. She also remarked on how well they have embraced and honored their diversity as a class.

“No class here or elsewhere has done this better,” she said. And she added, “On a personal note, I am proud to be graduating with you.” Read Mixsell’s full remarks on the school blog.

Staff members from the Office of Development and Alumnae Relations, Samantha Sattin Torres ’08 and Kathleen Tuck Fontaine ’83, also spoke at the ceremony. Read remarks from Fontaine and Torres on the school blog. Senior class president Francelyse Joseph gave welcoming remarks, and Board of Trustees Chair Allison Porter ’89 assisted Mixsell in the awarding of diplomas. In addition, math teacher Roger Turton was honored during the ceremony by the Board of Trustees as he retires after 41 years teaching at SBS.

Of the 21 graduates in the Class of 2018, nine graduates are International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates and seven are members of the National Honor Society.

The names of graduates, their hometowns, and colleges they will attend are:
Miles DeClue of Northampton, MA: Bryn Mawr College
Annalie Gilbert Keith of Deerfield, MA: Smith College
Grace Grover of Bernardston, MA: Gap year
Sophie Hathaway of Greenfield, MA: King’s College London
Yuemeng (Carol) Huang of Shanxi, China: Vanderbilt University
Francelyse Joseph of Forks, PA: Princeton University
YeEun Kim of Incheon, South Korea: Boston University
Ember Larregui of New York, NY: Boston University
Elizabeth LaValley of Greenfield, MA: University of Maine
Zhenyin (Krystal) Li of Beijing, China: Bryant University
Huhua (Nana) Liu of Shenzhen, China: UC San Diego
Yaai (Christine) Qiao of Shenzhen, China: New York University
Clara Richardson-Omamo of Palo Alto, CA: Occidental College
Gabrielle Rooks of Vernon, VT: Drew University 
Yizhen (Sia) Song of Yantai, China: UC Irvine
Siri Sundaraneedi of Burlington, MA: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Julia Thayer of South Deerfield, MA: University of Toronto
Micah (To’Londa) Torres of San Antonio, TX: Georgian Court University
Erin (Khaki) Warford of Lake Arrowhead, CA
Lanzehang (Lillian) Ying of Hangzhou, China: Vanderbilt University
Wenzhen (Joanna) Zhang of Shenzhen, China: New York University

Commencement Awards
Trustees Award for Teaching: Charlotte Hogan
Senior Class Prize: Ember Larregui
Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Cup: Francelyse Joseph
Margaret and Edward Emerson Award: Elizabeth LaValley
Virginia Giles Whittemore Prize: Julia Thayer
The Spencer Prize: Lanzehang (Lillian) Ying
The Mabel Hood Emerson Award: Francelyse Joseph
The Prospect Hill Prize: Gabrielle Rooks
The Stoneleigh-Burnham Prize: Clara Richardson-Omamo
SBS Head’s Award: Sophie Hathaway