Severn School Celebrates the Class of 2023 with 109th Commencement
On a warm and sunny spring day, Severn School celebrated the 113 graduating seniors from the Class of 2023 with its 109th Commencement exercises.
The June 2 outdoor ceremony included all the pomp and circumstance that typically surrounds this milestone event for graduating seniors. Family and friends filled the spectator seating areas on the Alumni House lawn, cheering enthusiastically for the graduates throughout the event. There were performances by two different Severn vocal groups, awards, speeches, the formal presentation of each individual graduate as they received their diplomas, the turning of the tassel to mark the transition from student to alum, and finally the traditional group cap toss that took place on the school’s athletic field.
Having earned the highest overall GPA, Anna Erskine was named the Valedictorian of the Class of 23 and received the Scholarship Award. As the 2023 recipient, her name will be added to a perpetual shield that was presented to Severn by the Class of 1924. Erskine also delivered the valedictory address. She is headed to M.I.T. in the fall, where she will also join the Air Force ROTC.
Konner Smith ’23 was selected by the senior class to deliver the senior class address, and long-time Severn Upper School faculty member Irene (Renie) Sotiropoulos was invited by the graduating students to deliver the commencement address. Other speakers included Christopher Fan, Student Council President, and Douglas Lagarde, Head of School for Severn School.
A number of graduation awards were presented as well, including the Rolland M. Teel Award, given in memory of Severn’s founder and the highest award given by Severn School at graduation. This honor is bestowed upon a student for their distinct contributions to Severn through participation in, and attitude toward, the school, its people and its spirit. The 2023 recipient of this prestigious award is Christopher Fan ’23. Fan will be attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the fall.
The Dawson Leadership Award, another high-profile award, was presented to Aiden Gilroy ’23. This award is presented annually to the member of the senior class who has exhibited outstanding school citizenship. It was established in 1947 by the late D. Clifton Dawson, known and respected for his support of and service to his community. Gilroy will be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall.
Other graduation awards presented were:
Jonah Halsted Activities Award – presented to Megan Murphy, Jack Giardina
Athletic Award – presented to Jacob Todd, Zoee Stencil
Benjamin Louck Memorial Award – presented to Ryan Stewart (selected by the senior class)
Paul J. Kesmodel Severn Award – presented to Cameron Christie
G. Parker Lindsay Memorial Award – presented to Jamison Wildt
Eller Citizenship Award – presented to Grace Curtis, Louis Lentz
Severn School has a proud tradition of military service, going back to the school’s 1914 founding as a preparatory school for the United States Naval Academy. While Severn has evolved into a co-educational K-12 community, those students who will be attending service academies or entering into service programs come fall were given special recognition at the Academic Awards Assembly earlier in the week. They are:
Sophia Amplo – United States Naval Academy
Davis Cawlfield – Yale University, Navy ROTC
Anna Erskine – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Air Force ROTC
Louis Lentz- United States Naval Academy
Will Perez – United States Naval Academy Preparatory School
Kyle Reinecke – United States Naval Academy Foundation School
Will Toomey – Purdue University, Navy ROTC
Jamison Wildt – United States Coast Guard Academy
Severn has a 100% matriculation rate, with students attending a wide variety of colleges and universities across the country. A total of 21 Severn students will continue their athletic careers in college as well, competing for Navy, Princeton, RIT, Notre Dame, Dartmouth, Franklin & Marshall, Bryant and Harvard, to name a few.
In the days leading up to graduation, seniors participated in many cherished traditions and other senior activities. This included their Innovative Senior Project (ISP) Presentations; a visit with the kindergarten and first grade students, who arrived to the Upper School bearing advice they had prepared to share with the seniors as they leave Severn; college T-shirt day, where each senior donned a t-shirt from the school they’ve chosen to attend; a special lunch for seniors hosted by the Admiral Alumni Association; and the Hug Line, where the entire Upper School – students, staff and faculty alike – had the opportunity to say their goodbyes to each senior. There were hugs, high-fives, and handshakes all around as the Class of 2023 took their final emotional walk as students following the annual Academic Assembly.
The traditional Baccalaureate ceremony took place the evening before graduation, and featured a wide variety of performances by students, as well as reflections on their Severn experience.