Severn News

Severn School Celebrates 110th Commencement Exercises

Severn School held its 110th commencement on Friday, May 31, celebrating the 106 members of the class of 2024.
The formal ceremony, held outside on The Alumni House Lawn on a perfect spring day, was marked by the usual pomp and circumstance. The event began with the procession of faculty and staff, followed by graduates. Head of School Doug Lagarde then officially welcomed family and friends to the 110th Severn School commencement. The full program included award presentations, speakers, musical performances, and the presentation of the graduates.

Sean Ward first delivered the invocation, but his peers also selected him as the senior class speaker. For that speech, he took the opportunity to reflect on their four years in the Upper School. Ward spoke about the toughness and resilience of the class that started high school virtually, ultimately making togetherness and unity its goal. He encouraged his peers to enjoy the ride and remember that there is strength in appreciating the bad and the good.

Whitney Grimes was class valedictorian and addressed her classmates on the topic of connection and collaboration. She drew comparisons between the world-wide forest and their shared Severn experience. Grimes concluded her environmentally focused remarks by encouraging her classmates to seek out connection and cooperation, to remember that a healthy, stable environment is where everyone thrives best, and to remember that their roots will always be in the soil at Severn.

Jason Salinas, Upper School English Teacher, was chosen by the seniors to give the 2024 commencement address. Salinas joked that he was there to deliver their very last English class. Speaking about metaphors, he implored the graduates to think of learning as a journey, like a walk in the woods. “In this metaphor, your role is active,” said Salinas. “You make the decisions about where to go and at what speed. The teacher is your guide, showing you the options.” He concluded by reminding the class that education is the journey of a lifetime. Salinas was also the recipient of this year’s Faculty Appreciation Award.

Lagarde also addressed the graduates, using GPS as his theme. After sharing a story about a GPS failure that landed him in a driveway where he wasn’t welcome, Lagarde spoke to the graduates about the need to continually recalibrate their internal GPS and the importance of curiosity and trying new things as they change and grow as individuals. “You are making plans today for a person you don’t even know yet,” said Lagarde. He also thanked the class for the significant difference they made within the Severn community during their time as Admirals.

John Bodley, the faculty member with the longest tenure at Severn at 47 years, officially presented the graduates, and they came forward and received their diplomas from Jon Mahan, Chairman of the Severn School Board of Trustees. Once all the diplomas had been awarded, Lagarde formally announced the graduates to those in the audience, and they moved their tassels from the right to the left to confirm their newfound graduate status. The final Benediction was given by Emily Sutton, Salutatorian of the Class of 2024. Two of Severn's vocal groups – Treble Choir and Vocal Ensemble – also performed during the ceremony.

In true Severn style, the 2024 commencement concluded with the traditional cap toss on Joe’s Field. Afterward, family and friends joined the newly minted graduates on the field for pictures.

This fall, the class of 2024 will matriculate to nearly 70 different colleges and universities. A total of 24 Admirals will continue their athletic careers in college. Five members of the class of 2024 will join the ROTC program at their respective universities, continuing the long-standing tradition of military service amongst Severn alums.

Graduation Awards
Nine graduation awards were presented to the class of 2024, including the Rolland M. Teel Award, the highest award conferred by Severn School at graduation. The recipients of the 2024 graduation awards are:
  • Scholarship Award – Whitney Grimes
  • John Halsted Activities Award – Adele Hlousek, Erik Maltz
  • Athletic Award – Bo Fowler
  • Benjamin Louck Memorial Award – Sydney Owens
  • Paul J. Kesmodel Severn Award – Ben Campion
  • G. Parker Lindsay Memorial Award – Kingston Price
  • Eller Citizenship Award – Jennifer Gomez-Gallardo, Doug Schwartz
  • Dawson Leadership Award – Sean Ward
  • The Rolland M. Teel Award – Whitney Grimes
To see more highlights from Graduation and about the Class of 2024, click here.
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