Stoneleigh-Burnham School celebrated the 148th Commencement today in Emerson Hall.
The Class of 2017 chose as their Commencement speaker alumna Dr. Flaxie Roberson Fletcher ’68SPH after getting to know her through her role on the Leadership Council. Dr. Fletcher is also a former member of the SBS Board of Trustees. She was the first African-American student to attend Stoneleigh Prospect Hill School, and the annual holiday basketball tournament at SBS is the result of her gift to the school and named for her. Dr. Fletcher grew up in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a doctor. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Howard University School of Medicine, and has her own medical practice in Los Angeles. She is an avid supporter of women, education, and health and wellness.
Dr. Fletcher recalled her three years at “Stoneleigh,” describing the school as a village that provided a sisterhood of incredible support and a superb education that helped propel her into a life of service as a physician and surgeon. She described the school as a community that unleashes “the true power and potential of an extraordinary woman.” Speaking directly to graduates, she said, “As I look at you I am in awe of the incredibly beautifully balanced brilliance and power that radiates through you. You will manifest greatness as you walk your road less traveled.”
Xiangge (Coco) Zhao ’17, a three-year senior from Shanghai, China, was chosen by her class as the student speaker. Active in the Community Service Club, Rock Band, the Green Team, and the Student Alumnae Association, Coco is also a beloved Resident Assistant, and a valuable athlete in varsity basketball, varsity cross country, and varsity softball. She will attend George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Coco described the character of her entire class at the moment of both looking back at high school and forward to the future.
“My class, 22 of us, never stops arguing. We are a class of unique individuals who believe strongly in our perspectives, so when we gather and share our opinions, things often heat up,” she said. “But one thing we can agree on is that we are all ready. While we are achieving our goals, no matter what they are — going off to the right colleges, starting new relationships, or just hanging in there — most of us are eager to leave this space, and start a new journey right at this moment.” Read Coco’s full remarks on our school blog, “A View from the Nest.”
Graduates, students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, parents, and guests also heard remarks from Head of School Sally Mixsell ’68, who offered a retrospective of the many contributions of the graduating class.
“Your gifts to this school have been significant – which is why I’ve caught others, and even myself, choking up during this week’s many reminders that we’re all saying good-bye to you as students, athletes, artists, advisees, and friends,” Mixsell said. “We are so very proud of the growth you have exhibited while you’ve been here and we are very optimistic in our musings of where you might go from here.”
Faculty members Jake Steward, chair of the English department, and Lauren Cunniffe, Director of College Counseling and Librarian, also spoke at the ceremony. Read Jake’s full remarks on our school blog. Lauren’s full remarks can also be found on our school blog.
Senior class president Star Stryker Erbük gave welcoming remarks, and Board of Trustees Chair Allison Porter ’89 assisted Mixsell in the awarding of diplomas.
The 22 graduates in the Class of 2017 represent seven countries. Nine graduates are International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates and eight are members of the National Honor Society.
The names of graduates, their hometowns, and colleges they will attend are:
Romy Arsenault of Montreal, Canada: Marymount Manhattan Honors College
Sophie E. B. Byrne of Bolinas, CA: Gap Year
Kearsten Marie Crocker of Bernardston, MA: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Tingcen Lina Dong of Shanghai, China: Case Western Reserve University
Star Shine Stryker Erbük of Amherst, MA: Mount Holyoke College
Lucia Galperin of Buenos Aires, Argentina: University of Denver
Ciara Larkin Hudson of Conway, MA: The College of Wooster
Kelsie D. Jacobs of Springfield, MA: Howard University
Phoebe Elizabeth Karkos of Foster, RI: Hampshire College
Kaya Kim of Nagoya, Japan: University of California, San Diego
Jayla Nicole Latham of Springfield, MA: College of St. Joseph
Elena Katrin Launert of Wiesbaden, Germany
Yena Molly Li of Shenzhen, China: Smith College
Meredith Jasperson Nordell of Greenfield, MA: St. Lawrence University
Theresa Alando Oduol of Bethlehem, PA: University of Connecticut
Ziying Anny Rui of Hangzhou, China: New York University
Ingrid Louise Storebø of Bergen, Norway
Victoria Morgan Subritzky Katz of Orange, MA: Johns Hopkins University
Srikari Tummla of Foxborough, MA: University of Connecticut
Maren Isabel Vogel of Piermont, NH: Gap Year
Shaojie Lula Zhang of Beijing, China: New York University
Xiangge Coco Zhao of Shanghai, China: The George Washington University
Prizes and awards presented at Commencement:
Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Cup is awarded to the member of the senior class who has maintained the highest academic standing: Ziying Anny Rui of Hangzhou, China
The Margaret and Edward Emerson Award is presented to a four-year student who has made the best use of her academic opportunities: Phoebe Elizabeth Karkos of Foster, RI
The Virginia Giles Whittemore Prize recognizes exemplary performance in a leadership position: Yena Molly Li of Shenzhen, China
The Spencer Prize is presented to a senior for her academic achievement and commitment to learning: Double Award to Victoria Morgan Subritzky Katz of Orange, MA and Ziying Anny Rui of Hangzhou, China
The Mabel Hood Emerson Award is presented to the student who has done the most for Stoneleigh-Burnham School in scholarship, loyalty and leadership: Xiangge Zhao of Shanghai, China
The Prospect Hill Prize is presented to a senior who exemplifies personal integrity, dignity and service: Theresa Alando Oduol of Bethlehem, PA
The Stoneleigh-Burnham Prize is presented to a senior who has evidenced a high level of personal growth and increased self-reliance: Star Shine Stryker Erbük of Amherst, 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: Andrea Tehan Carnes