Kingswood Oxford’s Class of ’16 Urged to Be ‘Yes’ People.
Submitted by Kingswood Oxford School
Exhorted to always be “yes” people, the 96 members of Kingswood Oxford’s Class of ’16 graduated on May 27 in front of a sea of family, friends, faculty, and staff in an upbeat ceremony on the Senior Green.
Presiding over the 10:30 a.m. ceremony, Head of School Dennis Bisgaard said this year’s celebration was especially meaningful for him personally, since his son Nicolas was among the graduates.
“Class of ’16, we’ve seen you, and we’ve known you,” he said. “We saw your efforts, we saw your strengths, we saw your tenacity … We saw you working hard, we saw your spirit.
“Today, we see the pride in your parents’ eyes, and we see the hope in your eyes,” he continued. “We see your futures. And gathered here, we celebrate you.”
In keeping with KO tradition, the seniors chose a faculty member – math teacher and Theater Director Josh Feder – to deliver the commencement address.
Feder, who has taught at KO for three years but is leaving to pursue graduate work, urged the graduates to be “yes” people, stating that the world is already sufficiently full of those whose default is to say “no.”
“As you all go out into the world, I encourage you, no, I charge you, to be YES people,” he said. “When you are working toward any sort of goal – in a social relationship, a work environment, or personal growth – keep saying YES as you continue down your path. There are so many NO people in the world; don’t be one of them!”
About one-third of the class (31 students) graduated with honors. Although KO does not name a valedictorian, two students – Ben Sullivan of Longmeadow, MA, and Benjamin Waldman of West Hartford – received the “Dux Prize,” awarded to the seniors with the highest GPA for the year, during the Prize Assembly on May 24.
Sullivan and Waldman were also National Merit Finalists. The class included three National Merit Commended Students, as well.
Eight members of the Class of ’16 had parents or grandparents who also graduated from KO. Interestingly, there were four sets of twins among the graduates.
And, the Class of ’16 includes 19 students who plan to play sports in college, including five who are headed to Divison 1 programs
In his final charge to the new alumni, Bisgaard reminded the students that all of them – regardless of whether they made headlines during their years at KO – had been known and loved while they were students and would always be welcomed back with open arms.
“There are so many reasons to have great Wyvern pride in every one of you,” he said. “But how do we recognize the one who has not yet run cheering across the turf, celebrating victory? How do we cheer the one who has quietly shown up, worked hard, and pushed forward? How do we recognize the level of everyday excellence, of the introvert’s intrinsic analysis and deep thinking? How do we recognize and celebrate perseverance, growth, improvement, hitting one’s stride, turning a corner?
“When you leave here, the presence of every single one of you remains with us,” he continued. “You don’t need to hoist a trophy in the air, hit that final shot in overtime, or earn the perfect SAT score. Class of ’16, we see you. We know you. And we will always be here for you.”
For a slideshow of photos, a complete list of graduates, and a list of the colleges and universities to which they were accepted, go to www.kingswoodoxford.org.