On Saturday, May 26, The Hill School celebrated its 161st Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises. During the ceremony, 144 students (79 boys and 65 girls) received their Hill School diplomas. View photos from the day's events here
. Added Monday, May 28: Watch this story from WFMZ-TV (Sunday, May 27)
that features one of our special Commencement prize winners and footage from Commencement. See video links throughout story below.
The Baccalaureate service was held in the Alumni Chapel, presided over by The Rev. John Wm. Houghton, Ph.D., Hill chaplain, with Headmaster David Dougherty offering the Baccalaureate sermon.
In his Baccalaureate address, Headmaster Dougherty asked the graduating sixth formers to balance the pervasiveness of technology with other things that are important, noting that he reserves time in his day for activities such as conversation, exercise, and a good night’s sleep. Read Headmaster Dougherty's full Baccalaureate sermon here
“I may not know technology well, but I know young people, and I know when they can be threatened,” he said, adding that the students of today can be “stressed…by the hypnotic web” provided by computers, text messages, video games, and television. Managing technology requires self-control, he said. With the possible exception of the President of the United States, “nobody should be available immediately to anyone” via phone or computer, he cautioned. “It is more important to be polite to whomever you’re with.”
Remarking that he and his wife, Kay, removed the TV antenna from their Virginia mountain retreat, he said he wished for the graduates to find “peace and quiet …a peace that passes understanding” in their lives. Part of that peace will come from the ability to, “in a discriminating way,” read and process all the information that bombards them.
“Here, you’ve been taught to embrace values…and to think on these things,” David said. “Here in this Chapel you have learned that sitting here silently” can be gratifying and peaceful.
“I wish for you some time away from the hurly-burly pace of life,” he concluded, leaving them with additional hopes that the students always show consideration for other people and engage in “serious concentration and coherence,” and that they enjoy true peace in their lives.
Closing the service, Chaplain Houghton asked for God to “look with favor on these your sons and daughters, and grant that those who will gain much knowledge …and those called to be leaders may lift up a clear light to guide all who will follow them.”
Hill student vocalists then sang “A Hill Anthem,” the words of which include the School’s beloved motto, “Whatsoever things are true,” engraved in gold above the recently restored Chapel arch.
This year's Commencement address was shared by Headmaster Dougherty and his wife, Kay, both of whom will be retiring from the School in June.
|Kay and David Dougherty|
David and Kay “tag-teamed” to share their words of wisdom with the class of 2012, the result of 44 and 45 years of teaching and leading The Hill School for the last 19 years, which they refer to as “the happiest years of our lives.” Read the Doughertys' full remarks here
David, who always knew he wanted to teach, fondly recalled his very first day of teaching when the Headmaster he worked for said “the highest compliment you can pay to a person is to call him a great teacher.” Teaching well became his ambition. It was Kay’s passion for math and a desire to share that passion with students which launched her career in teaching during a time when women traditionally were expected to become wives, mothers, and homemakers, but not work outside the home.
David and Kay then shared some inspiring “take aways” from their time at Hill, values which they try to instill in Hill students. They have encouraged involvement and participation in all that is offered at Hill. Appreciating the past and remembering that “a thousand hands have labored long” has been another important lesson. Kay emphasized the importance of hard work, using graduate Quinn Davis’ recent MAPL championship track performance to highlight this: Quinn set a new School record for the 1600 meter run at 4:18, beating the previous record by two seconds.
Gratefulness and performing simple acts of kindness were urged by David, who noted that the best gift he ever received was $500, which was left to him in the will of a man who started out as his math tutor while a student at Episcopal High School . Later, when David returned to teach at Episcopal, this man became a true friend to him until his death at the age of 101.
Kay referred to The Hill’s focus on leadership, stating that leadership involves the willingness to take risks – such as the School’s “risky” decision in 1997 to become coed. David spoke candidly about his failing out of Washington and Lee his first year there, as an example of how one should try to turn a bad situation into a good thing in times of adversity.
Kay talked about how Hill students are genuine and down to earth, emphasizing that The Hill is a place where "you can be yourself." David then stressed the importance of focused passion, using his love for the game of baseball, a passion introduced to him by his late father. Kay shared the emotional story about the recovery of her son, David, from a critical car accident and emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people.
Finally, David shared his philosophy or motto for living a successful and happy life, one familiar to many in the audience. Striking a balance between structure and love is key: “I believe that great parents and great teachers will say ‘I love you and eat your spinach,” he said.
“I don’t believe any School can strike that balance better than The Hill School,” said David.
At the conclusion of their remarks, the crowd gave David and Kay a standing ovation.
During the previous day’s Class Day awards ceremony
, class of 2012 members Caitlin M. Stouvenot (named Arbor Orator) from Collegeville, Pa. and Yoo Been "Dana" Kim (named Class Day Speaker) from Seoul, Korea, had their opportunity to share their thoughts and reflections with their classmates. Next year, Caitlin will matriculate to the University of California at Santa Cruz, while Dana will attend New York University. Also during that ceremony, a number of sixth formers were presented with academic achievement awards. View a list of the Class Day Awards and the students who received them
Presentation of special awards
Headmaster Dougherty recognized eight faculty members who will depart The Hill after the academic year-- Dan Bettendorf, Justin Cerenzia, Allyson Diljohn, Julie Miran, Karl Miran, Mackenzie Pelletier, Hsiao-Ning Tu, and Jim Watson. He also honored two members of the faculty who will retire at the end of the academic session: Henry V. Bender, Ph.D., the Elizabeth Blossom Chair of Humanities who served The Hill for 14 years; and Donna L. Rudick, instructor of Modern Languages, who served The Hill for 30 years.
He also presented two distinguished faculty awards established by former faculty members of the School.
Donna Rudick was the recipient of the John H. Woodward Master Teacher Award. Lindsay Mulhern, instructor of English, received the David and Virginia Giammattei Award for Excellence in House and Dormitory Parenting, for her role as a dedicated dorm parent in Senter dormitory.
Headmaster Dougherty then called to the stage 15 young men and women to receive Special Prizes – Sarah Allen, Keyur Dudhat, Alex Evans, Heather Gamble, Tiffany Gordon, Nicky Kwon, Tess Lagor, Lyndsey Marcheskie, Ji Young Park, Seth Reinhart, Shannon Ruane, Brian Sachs, Kathleen Sands, Wes Schlauch, and Ben Walsh
. View a video of the presentation
Members of the class of 2012 and their family and friends, and Hill faculty all joined voices in singing School song "A Thousand Hands," followed by the official presentation of the diplomas by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Thomas McN. Millhiser '67. Assistant Headmaster for Academics Ryckman Walbridge called the names.
Two final, "special" diplomas
After the 144 Hill sixth formers were presented with their diplomas, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Millhiser stepped up to the podium.
“Today you have joined a very special club,” he said. “You should be very proud, for your Hill diploma and membership as a Hill alumnus tell the world that you are intelligent, and hard-working....”
Tom then announced that he wanted to welcome two additional members to the distinguished “club”: David and Kay Dougherty. He presented each with a honorary Hill School diploma, noting that the Board of Trustees wished to recognize David’s “19 years of transformational service” to The Hill and Kay’s “dedication, support, and care for students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni of The Hill School.” View a video of this special presentation
The Reverend Dr. John Wm. Houghton, Hill chaplain, concluded the ceremony with the benediction.
The class of 2012 headed for the Dell, many sporting their "Hill Alumni" t-shirts, and celebrated their new alumni status with the traditional plunge into the water. View a video of the graduates jumping into the Dell