Dedham Country Day School celebrated the conclusion of the school year and the graduation of the Class of 2016 on Thursday, June 9, during Closing Exercises held in the Michael A. Rand Gymnasium.
Twenty-five graduates entered the gymnasium to the musical accompaniment of “Chorus” and “La Rejouissance” by Handel as they made their way to the stage in front of a hushed audience of parents, friends, alumni, and students.
Departing Head of School Nick Thacher, who is retiring after this school year, noted that it was his 39th time speaking at a school’s closing exercises. “I’m not surprisingly quite conscious of graduating with you today,” he told the graduates. “And I’m also very conscious of how lucky you and I have been to spend time together in this amazing community.” He expressed appreciation for the leadership of former headmaster Everett Ladd who despite the hardships of the Depression and Second World War “remained firm in his conviction that the school should be a place where children learn by doing—not a place where they should spend hours and hours on rote learning.”
In his address to the class, Director of Arts Kevin Coakley shared wisdom gleaned over the years from the teachers in his life, ending by telling students to “Work hard and tell the truth… and be kind. Things do fall into place. Have a plan but be prepared to react when the earth shifts beneath your feet. Keep your sense of humor. Life can be incredibly funny. Surround yourself with people whom you trust and who care for you. Be trustworthy and caring.”
Class Speaker Charlie Volpe recounted memories from his nine years as a student, telling his classmates, “I’m proud of all of us for getting through these struggles and persevering.”
Eighth Grade advisor Brenda Leith presented the Charlotte Lowell Award, given annually since 1927 in memory of Charlotte Lowell, 1918–1927, for Friendliness, Kindness, and Unselfishness, to Mia Canning. Middle School head Nate Buffum presented the Lisa Sutherland Award, given annually in memory of Lisa Sutherland, 1960–1975, for Excellence in Academics, Athletics, and the Arts, to Angela Giordano. Lower School head Carla Haith presented the Dietsch Prize, awarded annually to a lower school student in honor of Alice Dietsch, a DCD faculty member from 1930 to 1976, for Kindness, Curiosity, and Love of Learning, to fifth grader Megan Fuqua. Nate Buffum spoke about each graduate’s unique strengths and accomplishments during the presentation of diplomas.
Eighth graders Anna Glass, Molly King, and Chris Capone presented the Class Gift, a new monitor for the front lobby, which they funded by babysitting and doing other jobs during the year.
Head of School Nick Thacher honored departing families and recognized two faculty members, third grade teacher Lynne Mayard and second grade teacher Alyssa Sinclair, for 20 years of service. A combined lower and middle school chorus performed “The Rose” by Amanda McBroom.
Each graduate received a yellow rose from a kindergarten student as they exited the gym to Vivaldi’s “Spring,” performed by a combined ensemble of student and adult musicians. Seventh grade families hosted a reception for family and friends of the graduates. Many tears were shed as they said goodbye to friends and faculty members before heading off to summer activities and new schools in the fall. Congratulations to all!