Top students in each grade were honored at KO’s convocation, including several from West Hartford.
For decades, Kingswood Oxford has opened every school year with the presentation of the Dux Prizes – a cherished ritual that has its roots in KO’s predecessor institution, the Kingswood School of Bath, England.
The Dux Prize – dux, pronounced “dukes,” is Latin for “leader” – is given to the student with the highest grade point average in each Form (or grade).
On Sept. 8, during Convocation, Head of School Dennis Bisgaard announced the names of the Dux Prize winners for 2014-15 (left to right): Emma Henry ’21 of South Glastonbury, Ethan Levinbook ’20 of West Hartford, Ananya Alleyne ’19 of West Hartford, Natalie Eckert ’18 of Avon, Alec Rossi ’17 of Kensington, and Benjamin Waldman ’16 of West Hartford. The Dux Prize winner from the Class of ’15, Robert Scappaticci of Bristol, is now a freshman at the University of Rochester.
Senior Prefect Mick Hains ’16 of West Hartford, Student Government Speaker David Lessard ’16 of Hebron, and Head of School Dennis Bisgaard – beginning his tenth year at KO – presided at the ceremony, at which new Athletic Director Debbie Fiske was the keynote speaker. She was introduced by Madi Kalkstein ’18 of Farmington.
Bisgaard and Senior Faculty member “Doc” Ann Serow, beginning her 43rd year at KO, also introduced new Director of Enrollment Management Sharon Gaskin and 12 new faculty and staff members. That group includes two West Hartford residents – Kristen Barry ’11 and Kathleen DiSanto ’03 – who have returned to their alma mater to teach science courses in the Middle and Upper School, respectively.
In keeping with another KO tradition, Bisgaard presented class flags to representatives from the youngest and oldest students in the school. Allie Wildstein ’22 of South Glastonbury and Chase Gibson ’22 of Bristol accepted the flag for the Upper Prep (sixth grade), while twins Andrew Lemkuil ’16 and Austin Lemkuil ’16 of West Hartford – chosen because they have the highest number of community service hours in the class – accepted the flag on behalf of Form 6 (the senior class).
Finally, Form 6 President Gwyneth McDonald ’16 of West Hartford and Vice-President Jack Wolf ’16 of Wethersfield accepted the class shields, which are wooden plaques into which each senior will carve his or her initials sometime before graduation – another beloved KO tradition.
“As you know, our theme this year is ‘mosaic,’ and we together truly are a mosaic – a beautiful, diverse, and impressive school community,” said Bisgaard, as he welcomed the students, faculty, and staff to the new school year. “We are individuals with interesting and unique backgrounds and experiences – we come from more than 60 towns, two states, and a number of countries around the world.
“Whether you are returning or have just joined us, I need you to understand and embrace our school mission, core values and motto,” he added. “I expect all of us to be kind, caring, and respectful, to treat each other with dignity and grace, to reach out and be helpful to each other. If we do this, this will be a wonderful year for all of us.”