There were 87 seniors who graduated from West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford school on Friday, the final commencement ceremony presided over by Head of School Dennis Bisgaard.
Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School
Crossing the stage on the Senior Green, 87 members of Kingswood Oxford Class of 2018 received their diplomas in front of family, faculty, and friends at the school’s 106th Commencement on May 25 and will now join the ranks of the 6,000 Wyvern alumni across the globe.
The sky was bright, and the mood was celebratory as the forms, faculty, and trustees processed to “Finlandia” and “Farandole,” which was performed by the school orchestra conducted under the direction of Richard Chiarappa and Todd Millen. The St. Patrick’s Pipe Band accompanied the procession of the Form 6 students clad in their best: the young men sporting their black and red KO rep ties and the young women in all-white carrying red roses.
The class honored photography teacher, Greg Scranton ’94, by offering him to give the commencement address to the crowd. Eliza Charette ’18 of West Hartford provided Scranton’s introduction and shared that his photography class was highly coveted, and the students loved his high energy and relatability.
Scranton reflected on his own experience starting at the Middle School where he “truly began to understand what it meant to learn and take pride in doing so.” He shared his career trajectory from college where he discovered artistic software programs that piqued his interest to pursue further forms digital arts and photography. He counseled the students who are unclear about the future plans to take college as an opportunity to explore and expand.
“If you’re unsure about what your future holds as you sit here listening to me, don’t panic. In fact, you should be brimming with excitement at the endless possibilities that the next four years and beyond hold for you. And likewise, if you are one of those students who knows exactly what comes next, I’d encourage you to take a class that seemingly has no connection whatsoever to your major,” Scranton said.
Six members of the Class of ’18 had parents or grandparents who also graduated from KO.
Fifty-one members of the class graduated with honors. William Appleton of Farmington received the Dux Prize for the senior with the highest GPA for the year
A remarkable 17 students plan to play sports in college, representing 20 percent of the graduating class.
This was Head of School Dennis Bisgaard’s 12th and final time presiding over the commencement exercise as he will now move to Washington, D.C. to work in an education start-up. He gave the graduates the “permission to be imperfect and remember no matter how old we are, we are all works in progress. Play, laugh and be silly. Enjoy people as they are … find small things that give you peace.”
Long-standing faculty member Rob Kyff gave the closing remarks. He evoked a poem by Cecil Day-Lewis “Walking Away” in which the poet captures the bittersweet, sad and prideful moment when his child attends his first day of school. Likewise, Kyff said, the faculty and parents share the same sentiment, and “we prove our love by letting you walk away into your journey into selfhood.”
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