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Christchurch School has ‘magical’ commencement

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Class valedictorian Libbie Randolph of Hardyville accepts her diploma from Christchurch School headmaster Jeb Byers.

Christchurch School celebrated its 88th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m. on the headmaster’s lawn overlooking the Rappahannock River.

To mark the near-completion of the school’s new state-of-the-art science building, faculty and graduates walked in procession from the Puller Science Center. 

Headmaster John E. Byers addressed the 61 seniors. “You all know the story of the great Greek hero Achilles and how he became nearly invincible . . . his mother dipped him in the magical river Styx . . . it would be nice to think that your time by our own magical river has made you just as mighty as Achilles and capable of repelling all the troubles that might come your way,” Byers told the 61 graduates.

“You are certainly more capable, more confident, more self-reliant, accountable and savvy, better communicators and problem-solvers than you were when you arrived. You are thinkers and dreamers, too. Your individual journeys continue from this place and this river, to places we can only imagine—all over the country and the world. Our idea at Christchurch is this: that wherever you find yourself, you are prepared to understand the culture, the history, the social scene,” continued Byers.

“In your years at Christchurch we have grown as a school and as a community. We have invented a new curriculum, built a new building, developed a new leadership program and new programs in spiritual growth, introduced a new generation of technology, won championships. You have been willing to venture into the unknown . . . we are stronger, prouder, better. Christchurch is on the move! Thank you for being willing to embrace all that we have offered you, for giving it a try when there were other, easier ways to go through your high school years. I am certain that you are better for it. Hold your head up, wherever you go. Be confident and bold to trust yourself and always, always be proud to be a Seahorse.”

Byers then addressed each graduate one-by-one, remarking on the special gifts that each had brought to the Christchurch community. “You have been the center of our lives; there may be magic in our river . . . and the magic is in you, the sons and daughters of Christchurch School. We are proud to call you our own . . . you are much on our minds, in our hearts. Trust in yourselves, rely on each other, be bold and believe in your own ability and work hard for what you dream of. Godspeed 2010!” he said.

Byers and the Reverend Edward O. Miller Jr., chairman of the Christchurch School Board of Governors, conferred the diplomas. Following the ceremony, each graduate rang the bell in the Bell Tower then passed through a receiving line of faculty before joining their families for a picnic luncheon under the tent, as well as tours of the new Puller Science Center.

Graduates included Edward Meeks Gregory Service Award recipient Parker Allen Ward of Urbanna; Robert S. Phipps Progress Award recipient William David Brackett of Ahoskie, N.C.; and Chaplain’s Award recipient Ju-Hwan Lim of Seoul, Korea.

The school’s highest honor, the Bishop’s Award, went to Robert Washington Lippincott of Oxford, Md. The Valedictorian’s Award, given in memory of Herbert Gray Wyatt and presented by his widow, Betty Chowning, was awarded to Elizabeth Ruffin Randolph of Hardyville, who delivered the valedictory address.

An honorary diploma was presented to the family of classmate Ryan Mitchell Wilcox of Kilmarnock, who died in 2008.

Other awards were presented to seniors the previous evening at the Senior Banquet. Recipients included the following:

  • The Benjamin J. Bonaventura Baseball Award: Jared Bouis.
  • The Senior Sportsmanship Award: Nicholas Przybyl.
  • The Sailing Prize: Bob Lippincott.
  • The Dick McDonagh Best All-Around Athlete Award (female): Libbie Randolph.
  • The Dick McDonagh Best All-Around Athlete Award (male): Jared Bouis.
  • The Daniel T. Nolan Lacrosse Award: Collin Brooke.
  • The Performing Arts Prize – Drama: Hannah Montague.
  • The Performing Arts Prize – Choral: Hannah Montague.
  • The Design Award CAD: Kyle Byrd, Nicholas Przybyl, John Radcliffe.
  • Touchstone Jones Journalism Award: Becca Britt, Shane Jones.
  • The Senior Speech Award: Bob Lippincott.
  • The English Prize: Katherine Johnson.
  • The Mathematics Prize: Ju-Hwan Lim.
  • The Science Prize: Nicholas Przybyl.
  • The History Prize: John Radcliffe.
  • The Theology Prize: Katherine Johnson.
  • The Foreign Language Prize: Libbie Randolph.
  • Sons of the American Revolution Citizenship Award: Reaves Ward.
  • McLaughlin Principles of Freedom Award: Jared Bouis.

Headmaster’s List certificates were presented to: Stevie Adjei, Molly Banfield, David Brackett, Peter Brooke, Nick Chiles, Katherine Johnson, Shane Jones, Gretchen Lidicker, Ju-Hwan Lim, Luke Marzaloes, Nick Przybyl, John Radcliffe, Libbie Randolph, Duncan Thomas, Khoi Vo and Han Zhang.

Academic Dean’s List certificates were presented to: Justin Ashby, Jonathan Bennett, Jared Bouis, Andrew Byrd, Kyle Byrd, Chili Childress, James Conway, Kyle Furbert, Sung Min Kim, Colby Leachman, Bob Lippincott, Hannah Montague, Christian Robinson, Andy Schroeder and Parker Ward.

posted 06.02.2010

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