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Sixty diplomas awarded at Christchurch

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Allie Palmore of Urbanna is awarded her diploma by Christchurch School Headmaster Jeb Byers.

Christchurch School celebrated its 90th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 26, at 10:30 a.m. under the great red oak on Headmaster’s Hill, overlooking the Rappahannock River.

Headmaster John E. Byers addressed the class, and in what has become a special tradition, he addressed the 60 graduates one-by-one, remarking on the special gifts each brought to the Christchurch community.

“Today we celebrate and thank each one of our graduates, our Seahorses, each of them our own and very much a part of us. We cannot imagine this place without you. Your legacy is rich, and your adventure from here is richer.”

Byers remarked on the significant role the Class of 2012 played in the creation and success of the school’s unique Great Journeys curriculum.

“You were a part of this school family at a turning point in its history and identity. You were the agents of change, who, along with your faculty, established the future of our school. That’s a legacy for future generations of students that began on your watch,” said Byers.

“Along the way, as you progressed, the standard of excellence here rose, and it rose because you were willing to jump into the idea of Great Journeys and set expectations for yourselves as high as we could imagine . . . you stepped up to Great Journeys as an all-encompassing idea—Immersion Trips, Independent Projects, Integrated Learning, and a whole new way of thinking about Christchurch,” said Byers. “You were willing to expect the best of yourselves. To expect to work hard, play hard, and in every way we can measure it, to excel and often to win.”

“Will you walk your talk?” — Jeb Byers

Byers challenged the graduates to continue to ask themselves questions of character as they go through life.

“Do you care about other people? Do other people matter, next door or around the world, in how I live my own life?

“Do you care about what is truth? Are my own goals consistent with transparency and honesty in all things?

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Emily Moore of Saluda rings the bell at the campus Bell Tower after receiving her diploma.

“And if the answers are yes, are you willing to act, to live the life you imagine to be caring, truthful, and just? Will you walk your talk?”

Byers and Dr. Neal Keesee, CCS associate head of school for programs, conferred diplomas. Following the ceremony, each graduate rang the great bell in the Bell Tower then passed through a faculty receiving line before joining families for a picnic luncheon under the tent.

Graduates included Progress Award winner Carlos Tayvonn Gray of Temple Hills, Md.; and Chaplain’s Award winner Shaquille Jamahl Townsend of Gloucester.

The school’s highest honor, the Bishop’s Award, went to Winthrop John Homer of Christchurch. The Valedictorian’s Award went to Lauren Elizabeth Waite of Christchurch, who delivered the valedictory address.

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

The Valedictorian’s Award: Lauren Waite.

Outstanding Student Award (male): Earl Rimbey of Christchurch.

Outstanding Student Award (female): Carter Clarke of White Stone.

Best All-Around Male Athlete: Pat Young of Ewing, N.J.

Best All-Around Female Athlete: Carter Clark.

Community Service Award: Allison Crittenden of Hardyville.

Student Life Award: Lauren Waite.

Sustainability Award: Emily Allen of Susan.

Fine Arts Award: Allie Palmore of Urbanna.

Visual Arts Prize: Win Homer.

Performing Arts Prize (choral music): Allison Crittenden.

Performing Arts Prize (drama): Emily Moore of Saluda.

Performing Arts Prize (drama tech): Taylor Nashwinter of Irvington.

Science Prize: Thomas Dintino of Lansing, N.C.

Foreign Language Prize-Spanish: Joanna Spotswood of North.

English Prize: Allison Crittenden.

History Prize: Win Homer.

Theology Prize: Win Homer.

posted 05.30.2012

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