Kent School Celebrates Graduates

by Tricia Cammerzell
Friday, June 8 marked the 49th Graduation ceremony at Kent School. Thirteen members of the Class of 2018 were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the Kent School community during their years. In her remarks, Head of School Nancy Mugele stated, “There is a ‘big, bright, beautiful world’ waiting for you and I know you are ready. Kent School has given you an extraordinary foundation and instilled in you a love of learning - a love, I hope, will last you a lifetime. We have taught you how to think for yourself and how to ask good questions. You have learned many lessons outside of the classroom as well and have grown into empathetic, honorable and responsible citizens.”
Chris McClary ‘91, President of the Board of Trustees, addressed those gathered and presented the Navigator Award. The award is presented to an individual who has made a special contribution of time, talent, or treasure to Kent School over a sustained period of time, made a difference in the educational experience of a range of Kent School students, and supports the school mission to help each student reach their full potential. This year the Navigator Award was presented to not just one person, but a family who has been deeply involved and committed to Kent School for over 40 years. The Willock Family started their journey with Kent School in the 1970’s when John and Judie enrolled their daughter Jill Willock Caron ‘83 as a Kindergarten student. Two years later, Susan Willock ’85 entered Kindergarten. Since then, John, Judie, Jill and Susan have remained close to Kent School in a variety of roles including Trusteeship, and Parents, Teachers and Friends (PTF) leadership, as well as through their philanthropic support. Susan returned to Kent School as a teacher and Director of the Little School program from 1999 to 2003. Jill is the parent of two Kent School graduates, Jamie‘13 and Sarah ‘15. Jill has been, and remains, a loyal and flexible substitute teacher. Their most important role, which has helped sustain Kent School, is that of Friend of the School. Their tireless support has been instrumental in Kent School’s success as we reach the 50th   Anniversary.
The 2018 Graduation ceremony provided the opportunity to recognize three members of the faculty who are retiring this year, Kate Bennett, Pam Deringer and Holly Roddy. Kate leaves her role as Music and Drama Teacher after 23 years. Pam, who is credited with developing and growing Kent School’s nationally recognized Chesapeake Bay Studies program is leaving after 25 years of service. Finally, Holly Roddy is retiring after 20 years of teaching Seventh and Eighth Grade Literature and Language Arts. Each of these teachers has had a positive impact on every Kent School student in different ways. They will be missed but we congratulate them and wish them the best in their well-deserved retirement.
Several annual awards were presented to students at the Graduation ceremony. Each year, the Brian B. Kane Scholarship Award is presented to a Seventh Grade student who maintains a determined effort to produce quality work. The person has an attitude that is helpful, cooperative and responsible. This year, Tait Tavolacci embodies these high standards. The Americanism Award is presented by the Frank M. Jarmon American Legions Rock Hall Post 228 and emphasizes the qualities of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship service. The Americanism Award was presented to Andrew Baughman. Sage Cookerly was the recipient of the Joan C. Merriken Award for Excellence in Literature. Sage earned this award because of his demonstration of a love of reading, an appreciation of and sensitivity to the writer’s art, and an ability to respond to literature in an intellectual level as well as an emotional level. The final award of the day, The Osprey Award was presented in recognition of the student who best represents the positive qualities of character and excellence to the Kent School Community. This contribution can take many forms: athletic, artistic, academic or personal. This year, The Osprey Award was presented to Danielle Simmons. Student speakers were Reed Ferguson and Lexi Norman. Reed spoke of the importance of the relationships he developed with teachers through the years and shared experiences between he and his classmates. Reed said, speaking of his ritual arrival to school each morning, “I have gotten so used to this morning routine, that I haven’t appreciated the amazing environment that is my second home.” The second student speaker was Lexi Norman who reflected on her journey from Preschool through Eighth Grade and how fast that time has gone. She concluded with a message to current Kent School students. “Make every moment count. Trust me, it will be worth it.”
Following all remarks, each student was introduced with personal comments written by their advisors as they received their certificates. Members of the Class of 2018 will be attending the following secondary schools: The Gunston School, The STEM Academy at Kent County High School, and St. Andrew’s School.