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Stoneleigh-Burnham School Celebrates 146th Commencement

Stoneleigh-Burnham School celebrated the 146th Commencement today. The ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 29 in Emerson Hall. Click here to see photos.

Dean of Faculty and English teacher Shawn Durrett delivered the keynote address at the 146th Stoneleigh-Burnham School Commencement Ceremony. To read a transcript of Shawn’s remarks on the school blog, click here. To watch a video of Shawn’s speech, click here.

Ms. Durrett, as she is known to students, has been at Stoneleigh-Burnham since 2004. Starting as an English teacher, Shawn eventually made her way to department chair and, two years ago, dean of faculty. A published poet in her own right, Shawn has inspired many of our students to read and write thoughtfully, both as a teacher and as former advisor to the Literary Society and Minerva, our annual literary magazine.

Shawn is kind and open, clear in her moral compass, thoughtful in her communication, and calm and caring in her interactions. She is a fabulous female role model. Two years ago, Shawn opened and closed the commencement ceremony, the role that alumna Nafisatou Mounkaila ’13 played today – and Nafisatou was the class speaker. Both of them clearly had a powerful impact on the Class of 2015, and here they are again. To read a poem written and read by Nafisatou at the closing of the Commencement ceremony, click here.

Each year the senior class nominates one student to represent them during Commencement as the senior class speaker. This year, they chose Grace Powers of Northfield, MA. Grace is a Champion Morgan Horse Competitor, a high honors student, and an International Baccalaureate diploma candidate. To read a transcript of Grace’s remarks on the school blog, click here. To watch a video of Grace’s speech, click here.

GradRoses2015Graduates, students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, parents and guests also heard remarks from other speakers, including Head of School Sally Mixsell and alumna Nafisatou. Senior class president Cynthia Ntare gave welcoming remarks, and Board of Trustees Chair Allison Porter ’89 assisted Sally in the awarding of diplomas.

The 28 graduates of Stoneleigh-Burnham School represent seven countries. Fourteen 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:
Ghazaleh Sadat Aghazadeh Naeeni, of Tehran, Iran: Ithaca College
Brittney Elizabeth Ames, of Jacksonville, North Carolina: Campbell University
Maria Bahnassi, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts: Clark University
Yasmin Mariah Baksh, of Queens, New York: Binghamton University
Gabrielle Daniella Campbell, of Montego Bay, Jamaica: Goucher College
Sarah Elizabeth Carty, of Mendham, New Jersey: Drew University
Elia de Mendoza Alvarez, of Zafra, Spain: IE University, Madrid
Heather Marie DiGregorio, of Killingworth, Connecticut: The University of Georgia
Francesca Dmitrievna Eremeeva, of Northampton, Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College
Olivia Danielle Fernandez, of East Boston, Massachusetts: Syracuse University
Runyu Sheran Gu, of Suzhou, China: Boston University
Cuixia Sunny Guo, of Guangzhou City, China: University of California, Davis
Sherica Monquie Hamilton, of Montego Bay, Jamaica: Agnes Scott College
Rosemary Chinasa Ilang, of Abuja, Nigeria: Monmouth University
Kaleigh Meg Intrator, of Northampton, Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke College
Fangqiu Jennifer Jin, of Xiamen City, China: Endicott College
Qianqian Li, of Beijing, China: New York University
Cynthia Umutali Ntare, of Kigali City, Rwanda: Wheaton College
Liana Olivia Ohl, of Lincoln, Massachusetts: Dickinson College
Maahfio Fiankobea Otchere, of Hainesport, New Jersey: Villanova University
Jordyn Jenneta Pigott, of Queens, New York: Carleton College
Grace Louise Powers, of Northfield, Massachusetts: Drexel University
Chuning Michelle Sun, of Beijing, China: University of California, Davis
Chuyi Nicole Sun, of Beijing, China: Parsons The New School of Design
Xueyu Cathy Sun, of Shanghai, China: Case Western Reserve University
Yueqi Suki Wang, of Wuhan, China: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Min Su Anna Yeom, of Seoul, South Korea: Parsons The New School for Design
Brianna Zimmerman, of Montclair, New Jersey: Occidental College

The following prizes and awards were given at the Commencement ceremony:
The Senior Class Prize is given to honor one student from the senior class who best demonstrates our school’s belief that each of us has many capabilities, that effort and enthusiasm make a difference to self and others and that character counts: Maah Otchere of Hainesport, NJ.

Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Cup is awarded to the member of the senior class who has maintained the highest academic standing: Grace Powers of Northfield, MA.

The Margaret and Edward Emerson Award is presented to a four-year student who has made the best use of her academic opportunities: Jordyn Pigott of Hollis, NY.

The Virginia Giles Whittemore Prize recognizes exemplary performance in a leadership position: Francesca Eremeeva of Northampton, MA.

The Spencer Prize is presented to a senior for her academic achievement and commitment to learning: Xueyu Cathy Sun of Shanghai, 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: Francesca Eremeeva of Northampton, MA.

The Prospect Hill Prize is presented to a senior who exemplifies personal integrity, dignity and service: Fang Qiu Jennifer Jin of Xiamen, China.

The Stoneleigh-Burnham Prize is presented to a senior who has evidenced a high level of personal growth and increased self-reliance: Double award to Liana Ohl of Lincoln, MA and Rosemary Ilang of Abuja, Nigeria.