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Top Moments from Kents Hill School’s 197th Commencement Ceremony

Jeff and Janet Honorary Degrees from Kents Hill School
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Gillian Barnes

The in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 was a moment of catharsis and celebration for our entire community. After 15 months of COVID-19 policies which tested each of us in ways we have never been before, we were able to gather, give hugs, and see smiles. Tears were shed and joy was felt. We are not ready to stop celebrating, so for those who would like to continue alongside us, here are some of the top moments from the Commencement.

Student Speeches

In addition to remarks from Cheney and an invocation from School Chaplain, Reverend Myung Park, students gave moving speeches that signaled wisdom beyond their years. 

2021’s student speakers, in order of appearance, were the incomparable Mel V. ’21, Em. F .’21, and Adhit D. ’21. Mel quoted “The Office” and talked about how their class came together as a community and a family. 

“Despite every hardship, obstacle, and world pandemic...we stand before you with our futures in hand. Not even a global crisis could stop the class of 2021,” —Mel V. ’21

Em talked about realizing a dream of speaking at graduation, one born in freshmen year. 

“Looking back, I wish I could tell my little Freshman self that things will turn out to be better than I ever thought possible because they have. Kents Hill has become a second home to me.” —Em. F.’21

Finally, Adhit talked about finding his way to Kents Hill by following in his brother’s footsteps, a decision which he felt was the best for him. 

“I wanted to do the same thing as my older brother. Little did I know I was about to tag along for the ride of my life. Little did I know I was about to start the best years of my life,” —Adhit D. ’21

You can watch the whole of the 2021 Graduation Ceremony, including the speeches, on our YouTube channel. 

Awards and Accolades

While there are customary graduation-specific awards each year, this year’s commencement included the senior academic and athletic awards as well. Here, in order of presentation, is a list of the winners:

  • The Richard C. Fosse Award: Thomas F.
 ’21
  • The Environmental Studies Award: Hannah P.
 ’21
  • The Carol Heath ELL Award: Jiazheng “Oscar” W.  ’21
  • The Irving H. Moore Award: Tengxiao “Jerry” L. ’21 

  • The Masterman Dramatics Prize: Jiayi “Jessica” Z. ’21 

  • The George Dunn Award for Excellence in Theater: Daniel W.
 ’21
  • The Ella D. & William F. Morse Instrumental Award: Josi P. ’21 and Laurie Anne H.
 ’21
  • The John O. Newton Award: Delaney F. ’21

  • The Social Studies Award: Em F. ’21

  • The Gifford “Giff” Ewing Class of 1966 Award for 2D Art: Josi P. ’21

  • The Guy “Chip” Williams Class of 1968 Award for 3D Art: Jiazheng “Oscar” W. ’21
  • The Francis A. Davis Award: Adhit D.
 ’21
  • The Distinguished Scholar Award: Thomas F. ’21
  • The Girls Athletic Association Award: Madeline S. ’21    

  • The Liz Cross Mellen Award: Jordan B. and Antonie H.
 ’21
  • The Rutgers Prize: Thomas F. ’21

  • The J. Faye Luce Adell Award: Danielle E. ’21

  • The Newton (Bud) Brooke Award: Thomas F. ’21
  • The Winston Taggart Award: Delaney F.
 ’21
  • The MELMAC Scholarship: Kellie S. ’21

  • The Head of School Award: Em F. ’21

  • The Community Service Award: Luca H.
 ’21
  • The International Student Award: Michelle B. and Tengxiao “Jerry” L. ’21

  • The Community Life Award: Cody C. ’21
  • The Lois Masterman Award: Madeline S. ’21

  • The Class of 1913: Kellie S.
 ’21
  • The Lydia & Luther Sampson Award: Jordan B. ’21

  • The Knowles Prize: Yingxin “Alex” G. ’21 

  • The Rist Bonnefond Person of Principle Award: Adhit D. ’21


Congratulations again, everyone! 

Gradu-Retirements

Alongside the Class of 2021, Janet Dunn and Jeff DeHaven, with over 70 years of combined service, gradu-retired. Both received honorary diplomas, and in the words of Head of School, Chris Cheney at the end-of-year celebration for the team, “now you have to come back because you’re graduates!”

Cheney gave personal speeches about each stating things like “DeHave does things 100%. If you are going to do something you do it full or nothing—teaching, coaching, duty, driving the yellow fella bus. All in, all the time,” and “Mrs. Dunn believes in young people and helps them to believe in themselves.” 

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It was an incredible day on The Hill and we know there will many more filled with sunshine and connection in the future. 
 

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