Kingswood Oxford held its 105th Commencement on May 26.
Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School
Despite threatening skies, the 105th Commencement on Friday, May 26 took on a sunny tone of optimism and hope for the 79 graduates of the Kingswood Oxford Class of 2017 in the Hoffman Field House.
Several speakers offered inspirational words as the students move on to the next chapter in their lives.
Teacher Ted Levine urged the graduates “to imagine a better world and the wisdom to get there.” He suggested that college gives one the opportunity to explore life’s complexities and ambiguities. Through the journey ahead, Levine noted that the students will find the wisdom to do what one should do, not only what one can do.
School librarian, Nancy Solomon, was selected as the keynote speaker by the senior class due to her generous spirit and kindness to the class.
Solomon shared her story, including an inauspicious beginning to her marriage that was marked with two fires (one on their honeymoon hotel, one in their first apartment) within six months of her wedding. She learned to appreciate what she had through the ordeal and the significance of having a partner to shoulder the burden with.
The second lesson Solomon shared with the graduates is the value of an education. Solomon impressed upon the students to “listen to the stories of the people who love them and take the best from them to guide you on your way.”
Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, said that it was a genuine privilege to have partnered with the students and parents in their time at KO. He stated that the graduates are ready to take on different paths which at times, may not always be perfect.
However, Bisgaard added, the graduates possess the resiliency to forge ahead. “Never worry alone. Reach out, engage, connect. Be positive and be kind.”
More than one half of the class (46 students) graduated with honors. Sasha Bash of West Hartford received the Dux Prize which is is awarded to the senior with the highest GPA for the year.
Carolyn McCusker of West Hartford was the National Merit winner. Alec Rossi of Kensington was a National Merit Semifinalist.
The class also included five National Merit Commended Students: Ryan Albanesi of West Hartford, Grace Amell of West Hartford, Tara Kilkenny of Glastonbury, Noah Stanton of West Hartford and James Witt of Simsbury.
Thirteen members of the Class of ’17 had parents or grandparents who also graduated from KO.
And, the Class of ’17 includes 12 students who plan to play sports in college.
In conclusion, 40-year faculty member veteran Rob Kyff quoted slightly revised lyrics from Stephen Sondheim’s Our Time, which students recently performed at the Black Box Theater cabaret, “The moment you are waiting for is here … This is where you began, being everything you can.”
Kingswood Oxford is the preeminent co-ed college preparatory day school in West Hartford, just steps from Blue Back Square and West Hartford Center. Its serves 502 students from 62 towns in Connecticut, western Massachusetts and China.