Wakefield celebrates 45th anniversary with special graduation
On Saturday morning, upper school students, faculty, families and friends of Wakefield Country Day School gathered for commencement services in the Leonard M. Cowherd Auditorium to honor the school’s 25 seniors and mark the school’s 45th anniversary in a very special way. Co-founder Pamela Lynn-Tucker delivered the farewell speech to the graduating class that included her grandson, Douglas Griffin, the family’s first grandchild to graduate from the school that she started with her husband, William E. Lynn, in 1972.
The traditional program began with a procession of the faculty and seniors to Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” by piano accompanist Scott Tester. Honoring a custom created by the Lynn family, the senior girls donned white dresses, and the boys sported navy blazers, white pants, and straw boaters.
Reverend Sara Keeling of Flint Hill Methodist Church delivered the invocation before the audience rose to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Head of School Jessica Lindstrom welcomed all and then delivered faculty tributes to the four teachers leaving the school: Ann Landis and Jenny Murphy in preschool, Virginia Lohr in the lower school, and Lora Eborn in the upper school.
The ceremony continued with the Salutatory Address by Bernard Cieplak, the DAR Good Citizen Award by Mary Ann Cowherd to Kathryn Phillippe, a merit scholarship from the St. Luke’s Foundation to Ryan Brown, and a presentation of awards by faculty to upper school students who excelled in particular areas of the school: Athletic Awards, Connor Glennon and Chris O’Heir; Art Award, Ziyuan Wang; Drama Awards, Ryan Brown, Anthony Elar, Douglas Griffin, Tyler Johnson, Harmony Lindstrom, Zoe Porterfield, Alex Smith, Owen Youngquist; History Award, Jackson Romine; Molly Fraser French Award, Ryan Brown; Laura Virginia Hale US History Award, Michael Marciano; Mathematics Award, Zoe Porterfield; Science Award, Harmony Lindstrom; Spanish Award, Andrew Kwolek; Writing Award, Douglas Griffin; Citizenship Award, Nile Patel; All-Around Girl Award, Gwynn Major; All-Around Boy Award, Jeremy Kwolek; William E. Lynn Sr., Award for Academic Excellence, Peter McMahon; William E. Lynn Jr., Awards, Hannah Burak and Michael Marciano; Head of School Award, Rachel Cieplak. The Head of School Award was created by the school’s Board of Directors in 2012 after Kathleen Grove led the school for eight years, and Grove took the stage to personally deliver the award and scholarship.
Lindstrom then invited a special guest to play piano music as a surprise tribute to the graduating class. Sam Liu from China, the younger brother of senior Chandler Liu, enchanted the audience with his talented performance of “Summer” by Joe Hisaishi.
Following the musical dedication, school co-founder Pamela Lynn-Tucker imparted witty wisdom in her address to the graduates, and then diplomas were presented to each senior by the head of school. Faculty members Jeff Perry and Kirsten Youngquist read special remarks from teachers and the titles of senior thesis papers, and advisor Marsha Dowell announced honors earned and the college selection as each senior stepped on stage.
Rounding out the ceremony, senior Douglas Griffin delivered the Valedictory Address, a clever and profound speech that described his fifteen-year education at the school.
Reverend Keeling offered the benediction prayer, and in a final nod to Wakefield tradition, five students who had been at the school since preschool took the stage to ring the bell, dismissing guests for the afternoon reception.
The WCDS Middle School closing ceremony, held in the Leonard M. Cowherd Auditorium on Friday, June 1, celebrated the accomplishments of all middle school students and recognized the achievements of the eighth grade students as they left the middle school to become members of the upper school.
John McMahon, Latin teacher and WCDS parent, gave the invocation and the benediction. Junior Rachel Cieplak sang “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, and Head of School Jessica Lindstrom delivered warm welcoming remarks to the faculty, students, parents, and friends in attendance. Middle school teacher Welby Griffin, alumna and daughter of Wakefield founders William E. and Pamela W. Lynn, addressed the graduating class with a retrospective speech that highlighted the many lessons learned while on their class trip to England.
WCDS faculty presented special awards to students who excelled in academics and character: Courtesy Award, Timothy Tickal; Citizenship Award, Scott Scoville; French Award, Anika Pruntel; Spanish Award, Beverly Eborn; Latin Award, Scott Scoville; Grammar Award, Lia Feit; British History Award, Ava Lubkeman; William E. Lynn Senior Award for Academic Excellence, Anika Pruntel.
Three eighth grade students with the top grades in the class, Beverly Eborn, Lia Feit, and Anika Pruntel, shared reflections on their friendships, teachers, and education at Wakefield and their anticipation of the challenges to come in the upper school.
Middle school teachers Jeff Perry and Kirsten Youngquist then spoke about each grade eight student, sharing descriptive words and anecdotes contributed by faculty and reading the titles of the students’ research papers. Lindstrom presented each student with the leaving certificate, recognizing their achievement and mastery of skills and knowledge.
Following the traditional bell ringing and recessional, all guests moved to the lobby to enjoy punch and cookies.
Wakefield Country Day School celebrated the promotion of the kindergarten students and the achievements of the preschool and pre-kindergarten students in a ceremony on May 23.
The students processed into the auditorium, walking slowly and proudly as they spotted family members in the audience.
After the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and welcoming remarks by Head of School Jessica Lindstrom, preschoolers took the stage to perform “Tick, Tock” by Lindsey Krabbenhoft, and pre-kindergarteners recited the poem “All Things Bright and Beautiful” to the delight of the audience.
Kindergarten teacher Nikki Brady invited each of her students to the podium one at a time to share her personal remarks and thank each child for the wonderful memories left behind. Each kindergarten student then stepped on stage and recited a special poem.
Jessica Lindstrom presented each student with a certificate or diploma, pausing for handshakes and smiles for the cameras, and the special ceremony ended with all the children singing the “Grand Old Flag.”
Seventy-seven diplomas awarded at Rappahannock High
The Rappahannock County High School Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremony was held last Friday, with 77 graduates. Dressed in caps and gowns, they stood in a gymnasium filled with proud family members, friends, and classmates. School Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley began the ceremony with a heartfelt speech to the graduates.
“To my amazing class of 2018, I wish you the best of luck in all that you do,” said Dr. Grimsley. “I know there is enough brain power in here to cure cancer, run for office, or invent the next fidget spinner, Hatchimal or Pokemon-Go App. God Bless each and every one of you … Go show the world what you’re made of!”
The ceremony continued with Salutatorian, Virginia Wyatt, and Valedictorian, Mahlet Yirgu, each giving impactful addresses to the their fellow graduating classmates. Following a beautiful musical selection from the RCHS band and the recognition of scholarship recipients, the anticipated Awarding of Diplomas was presented by Karen Ellis, RCHS Principal. The students, each with beaming smiles on their faces, were called, one-by-one, to receive the diplomas they had worked so hard to achieve over the past 13 years.
Prior to the Conferring of Degrees, Mike Tupper took to the podium and engaged the crowd in his traditional “We Are Rappahannock” cheer. The students then marched out of the gymnasium as the latest class to graduate from RCHS. Their proud loved ones followed and shared warm embraces as they celebrated all of the hard work and accomplishments that had led to this moment.
Rising 8th graders
The 7th Grade Graduation Ceremony was held on May 31st at Rappahannock County Elementary School. After the ceremony, the students celebrated this achievement with family and friends. Now, this group of students will be moving across campus to Rappahannock County High School to chart a new course in their education.