Stoneleigh-Burnham School celebrated the 147th Commencement today in Emerson Hall. Alumna Dr. Denise Bruner ’70 delivered the Commencement Address. Dr. Bruner, a physician who runs a private medical practice in Arlington, Va., is one of the nation’s leading authorities on obesity medicine.
Dr. Bruner was chosen by the senior class to deliver the Commencement Address because she is someone with whom students feel a personal connection and who they consider a role model for breaking the barriers of gender and race in her profession. She was a guest speaker at the 2015 Stoneleigh-Burnham Career Day, and in 2011, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award. She is also a member of the Leadership Council.
Dr. Bruner shared that as a student at Stoneleigh-Burnham, she never expected to one day become a doctor, but eventually followed in her father’s footsteps to graduate from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. After completing her residency in internal medicine at D.C. General Hospital, she re-opened her late father’s general medical practice. Later, she pursued further training in bariatric medicine, the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.
Dr. Bruner advised graduates to see obstacles as opportunities for growth. “These are the challenges to give you the strength to come back to the surface and have a new life. All choices involve risk and how you manage that risk is important.” She added that graduates have the special advantage of their Stoneleigh-Burnham education to help them navigate through life. And, she reminded the class of 2016 to give back whenever possible, quoting Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” Read Dr. Bruner’s full remarks on View from the Nest, our school blog.
Each year, the graduating class also nominates a student to represent them at Commencement. Siobhan Pascal of Goodwill, Dominica is a Resident Assistant, co-president of the Literary Society, and sergeant-at-arms of the Students of Color Affinity Group. She is chair of the Weekend Activities Committee, which she established during her junior year, and a Blue Key tour guide. She is a member of the National Honor Society and a candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. She plays varsity volleyball, basketball, and tennis.
Pascal urged her fellow graduates to “take risks” and have “no regrets.” She said, “Put yourself out on a limb. Take the opportunity to try new things while you have them. Do something you never thought you would.” Read her full remarks on our school blog.
Graduates, students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, parents, and guests also heard remarks from Head of School Sally Mixsell, as well as French teacher Alaine Jolicoeur. Read Jolicoeur’s remarks on our school blog.
Mixsell described the class of 2016 as “headstrong, creative, opinionated, caring, and daring,” adding, “There’s almost nothing you have accepted at face value. You have challenged us. You want us to be our best selves.” Read her full remarks on our school blog.
Senior class president Megan Gardner gave welcoming remarks, saying she considers hers “a class full of role models,” and Board of Trustees Chair Allison Porter ’89 assisted Mixsell in the awarding of diplomas.
The 22 graduates in the Class of 2016 represent five countries. Eleven graduates are International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates and six are members of the National Honor Society.
The names of graduates, their hometowns, and colleges they will attend are:
Jordan Emily Alber of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts: University of Vermont
Nolka Ann Bates of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts: Hampshire College
Sharvari Bhatt of Reston, Virginia: University of Virginia
Haoyue Chen of Chengdu, China: Wheaton College
Natalie Pauline DiMario of New Haven, Connecticut: Fordham University
Emma Anne Donald of Gloucester, Massachusetts: Endicott College
Megan Elizabeth Gardner of South Deerfield, Massachusetts: Nichols College
Katlyn Joy Grover of Bernardston, Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College
Mckim Jean-Pierre of Waltham, Massachusetts: American University
Claire Lillian Lane of Greenfield, Massachusetts: Smith College
Hongqiao Jessica Li of Tangsham, China: Pennsylvania State University
Ziyi Yolanda Li of Quingdao, China: University of Rochester
Linda Limeri of Framingham, Massachusetts: Clemson University
Mary Corrine Mason of Whately, Massachusetts: Salve Regina University
Charlotte Louise Minsky of Greenfield, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dvora Rose Pader of Florence, Massachusetts: Savannah College of Art and Design
Siobhan Michaela Pascal of Goodwill, Dominica: Colby College
Sophia Maria Spring of Colrain, Massachusetts: Connecticut College
Clara Elisabeth Swartzentruber of Greenfield, Massachusetts: Bryn Mawr College
Harper Watson of Whately, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Hong Vicky Ye of Zhoushan, China: Bryant University
Zi Ye of Anqing, China: The George Washington University
Prizes and awards were presented at Commencement:
Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Cup is awarded to the member of the senior class who has maintained the highest academic standing: Claire Lane of Greenfield, MA.
The Margaret and Edward Emerson Award is presented to a four-year student who has made the best use of her academic opportunities: Ziyi Li of Qingdao, China.
The Virginia Giles Whittemore Prize recognizes exemplary performance in a leadership position: Siobhan Pascal of Goodwill, Dominica.
The Spencer Prize is presented to a senior for her academic achievement and commitment to learning: Charlotte Minsky of Greenfield, MA.
The Mabel Hood Emerson Award is presented to the student who has done the most for Stoneleigh-Burnham School in scholarship, loyalty and leadership: Claire Lane of Greenfield, MA.
The Miriam Emerson Peters Award is presented to a student for her contribution to the cause of international understanding: Mckim Jean-Pierre of Waltham, MA.
The Prospect Hill Prize is presented to a senior who exemplifies personal integrity, dignity and service: Double award to Katlyn Grover of Bernardston, MA and Sophia Spring of Colrain, MA.
The Stoneleigh-Burnham Prize is presented to a senior who has evidenced a high level of personal growth and increased self-reliance: Linda Limeri of Framingham, MA.
The Stoneleigh-Burnham School Trustees Award for Teaching recognizes a member of the faculty, who, as mentor and guide to students, exemplifies the substance and spirit of the distinctive concept of great teaching that is cherished at this school: Karen Pleasant.