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Note: For a complete list of the prizes awarded May 30, 2016, along with a complete list of the graduates, visit the Prize Day page of our website.
On a rain-swept Hilltop ninety-three members of the Class of 2016 received their diplomas May 30 from Head of School Eric Peterson. At the chapel service preceding the 118th Prize Day exercises, Dr. Robert Macaulay, father of Charles ’12, Hannah ’14 and Carolyn ‘16, delivered the commencement address.
Dejania Cotton-Samuel received the St. George’s Medal, the school’s highest award, given to a member of the sixth form who through effort, character, athletics and scholarship has best caught and expressed the ideals and spirit of St. George’s.
Dee ”has contributed to SG in so many positive ways as a community member, student athlete and as an official school leader,” said Director of Diversity and biology teacher Dr. Kim Bullock. “Her contribution and leadership, whether large or small throughout her SG career have been sincere and genuine and consistently inclusive.” Echoed biology teacher Tom Evans: “Although DJ was one of the most talented and enthusiastic students in both my AP Biology class and in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, I have been most impressed by her true sensitivity and caring for others. I saw this every week when she would accompany me on my rounds as a Mobility Volunteer at Newport Hospital. She was an excellent intern and displayed a grace and sensitivity toward all of the patients we helped. She treated each patient as if they were a part of her own family and she brought many a smile to their faces. At the end of a typical set of rounds helping the patients, she would often shed a tear and tell me that was the best hour she had all week. She was truly a stellar example of the very best in an SG student.
“No matter how tired, busy, or distracted (by her many other obligations), Dee might have been,” wrote English teacher Patricia Lothrop, “she was always ‘on’ for class, willing to answer any question in hopes of sparking discussion. Whether in class or not, a day when I was in the beam of one of Dee's dazzling smiles was always a good day!”
Holly Williams, who worked with Dee in the classroom, playing field, and in the dorm, praised her multiple talents. “Dee has lived in my dorm as both a resident and as a prefect, been a student in honors biology and played on varsity softball for four years; this year as captain. Dee is intellectually curious and perceptive, athletically determined to give her best, but perhaps more importantly she is a kind, caring member of our community. Her sensitivity to her freshman dorm charges, teammates, coaches and friends make her a beloved young woman. I am thankful to have spent so much of the last four years in her company and wish her success and happiness as she leaves the Hilltop.”
Doug Lewis, math teacher and coach shared Dee’s praise. “Dee is one of the hardest working students I have ever taught. She approaches complex and abstract questions as a personal challenge, and she never gives in until she has wrestled the question to the ground. She was a joy to coach in softball. Her positive attitude and inclusive leadership made her one of the finest team captains I’ve ever had. SG is definitely a better place thanks to Dee's many contributions.”
Dee heads to the University of Pennsylvania this fall.
Frederic Gregoire was the winner of this year’s Jefferys Prize, given in honor of Cham Jefferys to the sixth-former who in the opinion of the faculty has done the most to enhance the moral and intellectual climate of the school. Freddy, from Saint-Lambert, Quebec, was an outstanding student, athlete and Head of the Honor Board. In hockey, Freddie served as captain this year, was named ISL MVP/Boston Globe All-Scholastic, MVP, All-ISL, and earned accolades as a Providence Journal All-Star. “Freddie conducts himself in a very professional manner with regard to running the Honor Board,” said Assistant Dean of Students Ed McGinnis. “He is thoughtful, considerate and fair in his leadership.”
“Where to begin? A first-rate human/player,” wrote History Department Chair and varsity hockey coach Justin Cerenzia. “Freddy knows politics better than most US students. I wrote in his [recommendation letter for college] that he might be PM of Canada one day. Not hyberbole. He’s that good. Harvard is getting a gem on and off the ice.”
John Roeser, AP Economics teacher wrote that "Freddy is the type of person who pursues excellence for the sake of excellence; no further reward is necessary."
BC Calculus teacher Sarah Young shared her praise: “I could tell Freddy was an uncommonly dedicated student from the first day of class, and this was quickly confirmed when he asked for help on his BC Calc homework on the bus up to the senior rafting trip. He helped set the tone in our classroom by always asking questions until the answers made sense. Harvard will be very lucky to have him.”
English teacher Patricia Lothrop, wrote: “Although he was working in his second language in AP Literature, Freddy was one of the top students in the class. I admire his intelligence, but even more, his integrity and leadership as Honor Board head.”
Frederic will attend Harvard University in the fall.
Elizabeth (Beth) Larcom was named winner of the Phelps Montgomery Frissell Prize, awarded by a vote of the faculty to the member of the sixth form who at St. George’s has made the best use of his or her talents.
Beth, from Middletown, R.I., was school prefect and involved in every other aspect of the school. “Beth has marvelous energy,” wrote her advisor math teacher Cheryl Larson. “She maintains an impressive seriousness of purpose and focus on whatever task is at hand. She also approaches those tasks--and life in general--with an openness and an awareness of those around her that truly generous. Helping others is second nature to Beth, and the community around her is the better for her presence.”
Patricia Lothrop said: “As I've remarked to Beth, I am amazed at how she has kept so many balls in the air while appearing calm and collected, and performing at the highest level. Her genuine concern for others, her athletic prowess, and her leadership as prefect and SGSA head (among other roles) are admirable.”
“I have known Beth and her family for many years,” wrote science teacher Holly Williams. “At St. George's she was in honors biology and I have had the good fortune of working with her on varsity softball in her final season of athletics. I admire Beth for her involvement and commitment to important causes - PMC, community service, LGBT, serving as a school prefect, her grit and determination as an athlete - she makes those around her better athletes, but mostly for her great sense of humor and camaraderie. She will be missed.”
Beth was also honored with the Louise Elliot Cup, awarded by vote of the coaches to a sixth-form girl for excellence in athletics and for promoting the spirit of hard, clean play. Earning 12 varsity letters during her SG career, Beth also served as captain of soccer and ice hockey, helping to lead her team to a New England championship this winter. In hockey, she was named ISL MVP/Boston Globe All-Scholastic, NEPSAC D-2 Player of the Year, and earned All-New England, All-ISL, Coaches’ Cup, Providence Journal All-Star honors. Art teacher and girls soccer coach Ray Woishek shared other coaches’ appreciation for Beth’s effort and commitment. “Beth was a leader of the girls’ soccer team even before she was elected captain in her V form year,“ wrote Woishek. “Beth’s toughness and willingness to do whatever it takes is second to none. Once, during a daring play to save a goal, Beth sustained an injury that would keep her out for the next few weeks. A penalty kick had been called on the play, and before exiting the game, Beth summoned enough strength to make a truly incredible save, propelling SG to a big victory over Brooks. It was the best moment of the season. It has been such a pleasure to work with Beth over the past three years.”
Beth will attend Harvard University in the fall.
Among other prizes given this morning, Senior Prefect Tim Baumann received the Head of School’s award presented to a member of the sixth form in recognition of his faithful devotion to the School and its mission. Tim was also awarded the Thayer Cup, given to a boy of the sixth form whose steady devotion to the high ideals of good sportsmanship has been an inspiration to his fellow students. A tri-sport captain—of soccer, hockey and lacrosse—Baumann earned all league honors on hockey and was named MVP of the ’15 soccer team. Tim is headed to the University of Notre Dame next year.
Evan Jackson, Taylor Kirkpatrick and Caroline Macaulay received the school’s Centennial Prize. Inaugurated during the school’s centennial year, these are “awarded to members of the graduating class who have demonstrated extraordinary and inspirational efforts on behalf of the school community.”
Olivia Soares won the Mary Eustis Zane Cup, “awarded to a girl of the sixth form whose steady devotion to the high ideals of good sportsmanship has been an inspiration” to her fellow students. Olivia earned 11 varsity letters, was captain and MVP of the field hockey team, assistant captain and MIP of the ice hockey team and an integral part of the team’s NE championship season. She will attend The Ohio State University next fall.
C. J. Holcomb was named the winner of the Samuel Powel Cup, awarded to a boy in the sixth form for excellence in athletics and for promoting the spirit of hard, clean play. C.J. earned nine varsity letters in football, basketball, lacrosse and track. He was a particular standout in football, where he served as captain during his senior year and played an important role in the N.E. Championship victory. This fall alone he earned All-NE, All-ISL, USA TODAY 2nd team All-State, Providence Journal All-Star.
Taylor Kirkpatrick and Omari Davis received the George B. Donnelly Athletic Award “given to a girl and boy who, in the opinion of the Headmaster and the Athletic Directors, possess a passion for athletics and who demonstrate the dedication and the sportsmanship to succeed in a variety of athletic endeavors.”
Underform awards went to Victoria Boatwright and Haley Baldwin. Boatwright, of Newport, R.I., won the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Rhode Island Award, “given to the student in the fifth-form whom the Head of School and the faculty deem most worthy in scholarship, effort and character.”
Haley Baldwin, of Little Compton, R.I., received the Allen Prize, “given by a vote of the faculty to a member of the fourth form who during the year has maintained a high standard in all departments in the life of the school.”
Designed by the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, Memorial School House was completed in 1923 and was meant to serve as a lasting monument honoring those alumni and faculty who served in WWI.
As of 1919 when the monument was conceived, 80 percent of the school’s alumni had served, according to School Archivist Valerie Simpson, and by the time the building was completed, 15 alumni and one faculty member had died.
“As reported in the school publications at the time, an academic building was chosen so as to form a ‘living legacy’ that would bond all future generations of students to those men who served and sacrificed for the noble cause of defending a free, educated society,” Simpson writes.
Over the last few years, Memorial School House’s slate roof was replaced and its gilded cupola renovated.
The building is slated for additional major restoration in the coming years.
Visit a photo gallery of the collection.
St. George’s School formally dedicated its new Academic Center Feb. 27, 2016, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included trustees, parents, faculty and staff members, as well as student leaders.
Head of School Eric Peterson called the building a “magnificent achievement” that perfectly suits the needs of today’s students. He thanked the generous donors who made the project possible as well as the design firm, EYP Architecture & Engineering; the construction firm, Shawmut Design and Construction; and faculty and staff members who were instrumental in ushering the project through several phases of design.
Dean of Academics Christopher Shaw discussed how the building is allowing the school to redesign and expand its curriculum in bold ways that feature project-based learning and that encourage student engagement.
The 40,000-square-foot Academic Center features an eastern-facing wing of state-of-the-art science laboratories on two-levels, as well as a wing of classrooms with the latest technology features for math and other disciplines.
Complete with several sustainable features, the building took 18 months to complete and was built to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Pictured here are Head of School Eric Peterson, Chair of the Board of Trustees Leslie Heaney ’92, Senior Prefect Tim Baumann ’16 and former chair of the Science Department Steve Leslie.
Dr. BJ Miller, St. George’s Class of 1989, was the featured speaker during a milestone weekend for the school in late February that also included the formal dedication of our impressive new Academic Center.
Miller, a palliative care specialist in San Francisco who sustained devastating injuries in a freak accident in college, captivated the audience Feb. 26 with his intellectual and creative ruminations on human suffering and end-of-life health care.
Watch Dr. Miller’s talk on our Vimeo channel.
“It was one of the best [talks] I have attended — both in and out of St. George's,” said Toreali Kurmanov ’16. “In addition, Dr. Miller proves that SG alumni are some of the most motivated and inspirational people out there.”
Updates regarding the ongoing investigation into past incidents of sexual abuse at St. George's may be found at Healing St. George's.
Following is an editorial that recently ran in St. George's school newspaper, The Red & White:
Students weigh in on recent media reports of St. George’s troubled past
By Taylor Kirkpatrick ’16
On behalf of the Red & White Editorial Board and the student body, I would like to address some issues that have become front and center for our community as of late. As everyone is aware, St. George’s has been the focus of international media attention for events that have transpired in our past which are painful for all who are involved. While we all wish that these events had never occurred, it is our responsibility, as a community, to own up to our past, while also propelling ourselves into the future.
Since this scandal has surfaced, a couple of things have become abundantly clear. As students, we all still get up and go to class every day and we still love our school. However, we continue our jobs here as students while remaining keenly aware of the severity of the situation and compassionate towards the victims harmed.
Over the past couple of months, as the allegations have emerged, the Red & White Editorial Board has taken the opportunity to reach out to students throughout our community to understand the impact of these unfortunate events on life at St. Georges for the current student body. While many find themselves at a distance from these events, due to the fact that they happened many years ago, the students feel that the administration has successfully kept the student body informed and abreast of the state of affairs.
Honor Board member Annie Kim ’16 explained, “Mr. Peterson has done a really good job trying to keep us, the students, out of it, but at the same time, he has given us as much information as possible so that we can prepare ourselves for what is to come.” Many students agreed on the fact that they feel well informed about the allegations, but also understand their distance from the events in our school’s past. “I feel really detached from the situation, but it still pains me to think that this used to happen and I hope that everything gets resolved,” said fellow Honor Board member, Laura Edson ’16. While most students feel a sense of detachment from the allegations, there is no lack of empathy for those who were involved. “The school, for me, personally, has been nothing but positive and I know that is the case for a lot of my friends and classmates as well. I hope that everything goes smoothly from here and that these victims can be helped,” said Senior Prefect, Tim Baumann ’16. Fellow prefect, Caroline Macaulay ’16, agreed, “I have a feeling that it will all work out, but at the same time, it is odd to be removed from a situation that hits so close to home.”
As a community, I think that it is also important to understand that while St. George’s may be the one highlighted in the news now, we are not alone in these incidents. Unfortunately, sexual abuse has been a reality in the past for many schools and communities. However, this does not excuse the actions that we must still remain responsible for. “If we want to grow from this experience and become a better school, we need to talk about this and look back on what we did wrong and fix it, so looking forward we don’t make that mistake again,” said Head of the Honor Board Freddy Gregoire ’16. “I think that there’s a lot to learn from all of this.”
When alumnus Dr. BJ Miller ’89 gave a talk on Feb. 26 in honor of the official opening of the new Academic Center, he reiterated his pride for St. George’s and explained how impressed he was with how we have united in the face of these hard times. Dr. Miller, a palliative care specialist and executive director of the “Zen Hospice Project” in San Francisco, went on to speak about the nature of pain and suffering. While the majority of the suffering that Dr. Miller encounters is centered around his hospice work, he explained that it is a reality for all humans to suffer, in some way, at least once in their lifetime.
To me, Dr. Miller’s words about suffering can be paralleled with the incidents our community is currently facing. However, it seems that, universally, the St. George’s community feels that this suffering can bring us closer together and make us stronger for the future. “Even though we are in a tornado right now, there is definitely still a silver lining,” said Edson.
Many alumni have banned together on social media to support the community and show their love for the school. “I think that it is awesome that former Dragons are posting on Facebook about their Dragon pride,” said Daisy Mayer ’17. Edson explained, “Mr. Peterson has a saying about rooting for and not against. I think that is exactly what the alumni and present students are doing. It’s a really positive reaction.”
Boarding schools are special because of the unique opportunity to live among teachers and mentors. These events give current students an appreciation for the safety and security that we all feel on the Hilltop today.
Kate Zernike ’86 was at her home in Montclair, N.J., getting her two boys — Frits, 8, and Nicolaas, 6 — ready for school on May 13 when a text message popped up on her cell phone. A friend was asking if she could drop off her own son at Kate’s house before the school bus arrived. There had been an accident in Philadelphia, the friend reported, and she needed to get to the hospital where the friend’s husband was to undergo emergency surgery.
Then came an email from Zernike’s boss, the Metro editor at The New York Times, Wendell Jamieson. “Can I lend you to National?” he asked. Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, on its way from Washington to New York and carrying 238 passengers, had crashed at 9:30 p.m. the night before.
Zernike needed to start reporting. Read the full article
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