The Hill School's 2019 Commencement Ceremony
When Mr. Lehman realized as he boarded the plane he never got the man’s name he immediately began to do a search of who it was. The man next to him on the plane, who just so happened to be Senator Joe Manchin, and former West Virginia governor, knew very well who he was: Mike Pushkin. Senator Manchin said, “He’s actually a very successful businessman and musician and drives a cab just to get to know his constituents. Mike is famous for saying that you can’t learn how to help people unless you actually listen to them.
“In the parlance of The Hill’s vision statement, we have prepared you to “orchestrate positive change.” This Mike Pushkin metaphor might be a bit of a stretch, but maybe you’ll help people get to their destinations, or maybe you’ll write and pass laws that help people live a better life. And maybe you’ll do both. If nothing else, maybe you’ll follow Mike Pushkin’s golden rule: You can’t learn how to help people unless you actually listen to them.
The Headmaster then asked the graduating class to offer a collective thanks to those who supported them throughout their respective journeys: parents, grandparents, and siblings; Hill faculty and staff; and the form deans.
Mr. Lehman invited Euan Forrest to address his class as this year's Sixth Form Commencement Speaker. See below to read Euan's talk.
In this historic year celebrating the 20th Anniversary of coeducation, Michelle A. “Shelly” Gyves, Hill School class of 2002 and Trustee, delivered the Commencement address. See below to read Shelly's talk.
Presentation of Special Awards
Headmaster Lehman recognized faculty members who will be leaving The Hill at the conclusion of the school year. They are: Scott Kominkiewicz, assistant director of college counseling; Zachary Wright, mathematics intern; Emily Garvin, instructor of science; Kristen Walter, instructor of mathematics; Wei-Jei DeLucia, instructor of world languages; Sandy Ryder, Wellness Center Director; Jason Coady, director of learning research and development and Athey Family Master of Mathematics; and Dr. Becky Smith, director of counseling.
Headmaster Lehman then called 14 young men and women to the stage to receive special prizes. See below for a complete list of Special Prize Winners and their citations.
Members of the class of 2019 and their family, friends, and Hill faculty all joined voices in singing the School song, “A Thousand Hands,” followed by the official presentation of the diplomas by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Preston G. Athey '67. Graduates also continued a meaningful tradition as new alumni: As they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, they dropped a gold or silver dollar into a wooden box that was crafted by Austen Parish '13. The coin symbolizes each graduate's first donation to The Hill as an alumnus. The Reverend Khristi Adams, Hill chaplain, concluded the ceremony with the benediction.
The class of 2019 headed for the Dell, many proudly wearing their "Hill Alumni" t-shirts, where they celebrated their new alumni status with the traditional plunge into the water. View a list of graduates below.
- Sixth Form Commencement Speaker: Euan Forrest '19
- Commencement Address by Trustee Michelle Gyves '02
- Special Prizes Winners
- List of Graduates
Euan, varsity soccer captain, prefect, Classics Fellow, and member of the Cum Laude Society, examined the meaning of Commencement and its relation to graduation, noting: “This day does indeed mark the beginning of something… the beginning of the next thing, the beginning of whatever the future holds in store for all of us. From here on, new doors will open, new opportunities and challenges will arise, and
new people will come into and out of our lives. No matter where our next steps take us, we, the Class of 2019, could not be better prepared for anything and everything coming our way, and that is, in large part, thanks to our experience here at Hill.”
Whether it be learning new ways of thinking in the classroom, learning the true meaning of the word team, serving the community, performing on stage, the class learned the responsibilities and values of friendship. He urged his classmates to continue to live the class motto, Facta non Verba, “Deeds, not words,” beyond Hill.
He applauded the class for living up to their motto with the deeds they accomplished while at Hill— raising awareness about mental health, proudly defeating L’ville in football and winning two other MAPL championships that day, celebrating the 20th anniversary of coeducation.
Euan recalled, “One of the most thought-provoking pieces of wisdom I have ever heard came from my humanities teacher during a lunch announcement last year. To paraphrase what I heard her say, ‘the more places and the more people you have to miss, the more blessed your life is.’”
“When we leave this place we have come to call our home, there will be buildings to miss, times and events to cherish in nostalgia, and, most importantly, so many people who have become such a special part of our lives, but with whom we must now part ways. And for those reasons, we are blessed… and so, on behalf of the Class of 2019, I would like to thank all of those special people who have been involved in this, our Hill experience, for making it as amazing as it has been and for giving us something to look back on for years to come with feelings of legacy and love.”
Watch Euan's full talk at https://locallive.tv/archives/46803.
In this historic year celebrating the 20th Anniversary of coeducation, Michelle A. “Shelly” Gyves, Hill School class of 2002 and Trustee, delivered the Commencement address. Gyves, then Shelly Schaaf, arrived at The Hill in the fall of 1998 along with 88 other pioneering young women who embarked on the most significant and transformative school year in the School’s modern history. She was one of 22 “four-year” girls who arrived at Hill as third formers and graduated together in 2002. Gyves, a Pottstown native, currently is a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in the firm's corporate and private equity practices in New York. She and her husband, Dan ’01, and their three children live in Chatham, N.J.
Gyves recalled her commencement day 17 years ago and noted that while it doesn’t seem that long ago, much has changed at a rapid and unprecedented pace both at Hill and in the world during those years. And though some changes have been for the good, some have created uncertain times.
She did not offer the Class of 2019 platitudes, but rather urged them to remain optimistic and embrace the real and urgent challenges; challenge the status quo; and be a positive force all while doing so with the values enforced at Hill- integrity, honor, gratitude, and resilience.
In order to be that positive change, she noted it will “take strength and resolve” which they can draw upon from several enduring sources: the love, support, and sacrifices of their parents and families and their Hill ties, which includes the hardworking faculty, their classmates and lifelong friends, and the thousands of Hill alumni which stand ready with their advice and support.
She encouraged each member of the class “do your single best” as echoed in the lyrics of our school song, knowing they are capable and prepared and with the support of their families and Hill behind them.
View Shelly's full talk at https://locallive.tv/archives/46803.
During the Commencement ceremony, the following 15 sixth formers were presented with these Special Prizes. The recipients are listed in the order in which they were presented along with the name of the award and citation Headmaster Lehman shared about them.
The Jodi Calvario ’03 Award given to that Sixth Form girl who demonstrates outstanding Leadership and high Sportsmanship in competitive athletics | Alexa Giacche
Alexa, a four-year member and dual captain of both the varsity basketball and softball teams, is one of the most selfless, hard-working student athletes to come through The Hill School in recent memory. Alexa is known as the workhorse on her teams because she relishes the process of getting better each and every day. Never one to embrace the spotlight, rather, it is her humble leadership and genuine friendship that makes her a beloved teammate to many. Alexa’s legacy will inspire and drive female student athletes at The Hill for years to come. As she has done here at Hill, Alexa will undoubtedly leave a lasting mark on the University of Maryland next year.
The Medal(s) awarded by The Hill School for the late Oscar Cox in memory of his father Jacob Cox, for the greatest improvement in scholarship at The Hill School | Sami Hidrobo
JFK once said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Sami came to Hill during her fifth form year from a private school in Quito, Ecuador. Entering The Hill at that point requires you to hit the ground running. Sami, dove in and has persevered not because she was told to, but because “she” wanted to. Surrounding herself with ambitious friends, taking a challenging course load, seeking clarification when she faltered, and never too proud to accept that sometimes you just don’t know. She created for herself a path to success, culminating with this award.
The Hill School Achievement Award, donated by the Reuben Family, given to that Hill School Sixth Former who, in the opinion of the Faculty Prize Committee, demonstrates the greatest improvement during the course of his or her Hill School experience. The award is to recognize not only improvement, but also strength of resolve, character, and a desire to achieve in some area | Xavier Mayo
If you have been to a Hill School Boys’ Varsity Basketball game in the past three years, you know something about Xavier – or X as he is known around campus. He is perhaps the hardest worker on the floor and has an energy and persistence that is unparalleled. All of those traits demonstrated on the court have also been demonstrated through other aspects of Xavier’s tenure at Hill. Despite having a fourth form year riddled with adversity, Xavier has pushed through those hardships and has come out on the other side stronger and even more determined to succeed. As Xavier goes on to NJIT next year, his Hill career should be a beacon of light to anyone who feels like they are struggling, because he struggled and came out victorious.
The J. T. Moore, ’41 Special Recognition Award presented by The School in Recognition of Outstanding Leadership in enhancing the Morale, Spirit and Character of the Class | Patrick Neiswender
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible…” Integrity is the basis of Patrick’s successful leadership at The Hill. His teachers, coaches, and dorm parents can attest to his unfailing reliability, honesty, and maturity. However, the relationships that Patrick has formed with his classmates are, perhaps, the strongest indicators of his leadership at Hill. Affectionately referred to as “Dad” by his friends and teammates, Patrick’s compassion and thoughtfulness have established the admiration of his peers. What’s more, the high level of integrity that guides his actions seems to come naturally to Patrick and he will no doubt achieve great success as a result of this inherent strength of character when he attends Trinity College in the fall.
The Charles A. Frank III, ’59 Award, established in his honor by the Board of Trustees and Headmaster in 2007, recognizes in its pure form philanthropy, the love of mankind. Exemplified best in service to others, this spirit, cultivated in all students at The Hill, encourages them to give back to others and inspires them to do more for school, community and country | Michael Vanelli
An insightful person said “What really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared … and not our success, but our significance.” As all our graduates today can attest, life is challenging for Hill students; during the school year, it can be difficult to find time for oneself, never mind for others; especially if those “others” are not friends or family. So finding time during the year to give to others, to make a positive impact in the local community demonstrates a commitment beyond just time and effort, but one of determination and devotion. The Latin phrase: non sibi sed aliis conveys it best: not for self, but for others. Whether it is Saturdays at the Boys and Girls Clubs, overseeing a Blood Drive, as the student representative on the Hobart’s Run Council, his behind-the-scenes efforts on the Student Philanthropy Council, or right here on campus with SGA, Michael Vanelli has stepped up to support his community - our community - in a proactive, sincere, and impactful manner these last four years. His efforts are the embodiment of the Charles A. Frank III ’59 Award.
The Archibald R. Montgomery Award, presented by the Class of 1973, to that Sixth Former who has demonstrated the greatest friendship and personal concern for fellow students | Priyanka Dondeti
Some people have the innate ability to make friends easily and make people feel good. As a four-year student, Priyanka has been an ear to listen, arms to hug, and a smile that can make any day a little brighter. Drawn to service in student government, as a captain of the crew and soccer teams, Co-President of GUTS, a leader of the Student Philanthropy Council, and a prefect in her dorm, her legacy is one of commitment and dedication to all of her charges. She has been brave and outspoken but most of all she has made Hill her home and has done whatever she could to make it a better place for others.
The Prize for Unswerving Loyalty and Outstanding Integrity in the Fulfillment of School Responsibilities in memory of Roswell Miller, III of The Hill School Class of 1940 | Max Moore
Aristotle said, “Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.” Max wholly embraces the Aristotelian virtues of courage, kindness, generosity, and friendship. His classmates recognized his loyalty and integrity since the beginning of his Hill career when they elected him to Student Government in his third form year. Max’s service to The Hill School began there, and his contributions continued steadily throughout his Hill career, most recently culminating in his courageous alterations to the SGA Charter, creating a co-presidential model. His unswerving loyalty and outstanding integrity are evidenced in all he does; whether leading the SGA as Vice President, captaining the water polo and lacrosse teams, planning Pottstown Cares events, heading the dorm as prefect both his fifth and sixth form years – his contributions are steady, reliable, and predictable.
The Prize presented for the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Delaware Valley to that student who excels scholastically and who possesses inherent character and integrity. It is given not only in recognition of these qualities and attainments, but as an incentive to good scholarship at the level of higher education | Paige Dendunnen
Fierce, demanding, and not willing to settle for anything short of excellence doesn’t just describe this young woman as a coxswain and co-captain of the Hill Crew team, but also as a true scholar. While her studies are occasionally interrupted by crew, spending time with friends, perfecting, and an occasional Netflix binge, Paige can be found reading, writing, and pondering any number of courses across our entire curricula, from History Seminar to Humanities, Calculus to Biology, French to Religious Studies. Her curious and probing mind has proven an asset not only for her, but also for those who shared a class and studied with her over these past four years. No doubt, she will bring that true scholarship and love of learning with her just a few miles down the road to the University of Pennsylvania.
The Prize presented by The Aurelian Honor Society of Yale University for Character, Leadership, and Scholarship | Joyce Pu
The Hill’s longstanding motto, “Whatsoever things are true,” established shortly after our founding in 1851, seems to have been a guiding principle for Joyce Pu. Like the principles referenced in that verse from Philippians, the book "Making Ethical Decisions" sets forth six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Joyce Pu embodies each one of these virtues. Whether in her role as scholar, musician, theater participant, or captain of the girls’ squash team, Joyce brings an unequalled passion. With a twinkle in her eye she engages intellectual curiosity, practical hard work, and a great sense of humor to each creative task she sets herself to complete. She is kind, thoughtful, a friend to all, and an authentic divergent thinker. Next year she will feel right at home at Northwestern University which astonishingly shares both The Hill’s founding year and motto.
The Marion D. Patterson, Jr. Memorial Prize for Unswerving Loyalty and Outstanding Integrity in the Fulfillment of School Responsibilities | Joel Crooks
Tom Watson said “Golf is a game of ego, but it is also a game of integrity: the most important thing is you do what is right when no one is looking.” Whether on the golf course, as a prefect, or a two-year Head of Tour, much of what Joel Crooks has done is not seen by many, but for those who are the lucky beneficiaries of his time and dedication, he has made all the difference. His kindness, his drive and his love for his friends, family, and Hill have spurred him to take on all of the challenges that have come his way. In the end, Cornell will get a young man who is not afraid to do what is right while being a great friend to all.
The Wilbur C. Riley Memorial Award, given to that young man who demonstrates outstanding Leadership and high Sportsmanship in competitive athletics and; AND The award presented by the Alumni for the Best General Record in the Sixth Form | Bennett Booth-Genthe
Whether in the classroom, in the dorm, or on the track, Bennett’s success has been due, in large part, to his persistence. His dedication and capacity for self-reflection have set an example for all those around him. When he accomplishes something, he allows himself to celebrate, but then immediately sets a new goal. If he falters, he assesses the situation carefully and makes the necessary adjustments. The past four years have been a journey of introspection and perseverance, and it’s been a journey that has led Bennett to achieve great things, while also solidifying his leadership role at Hill. Bennett’s tenacity and commitment to personal excellence will no doubt lead him to great success as his pursues his academic and athletic goals at the University of Connecticut.
Head of Form | TianTian Fang
French philosopher, Rene Descartes, is perhaps best known for his phrase, I think, therefore I am. “It is not enough to have a good mind,” Descartes also said, “the important thing is to use it well.” It would seem that Tiantian Fang has taken these words to heart. Tiantian possesses an intellect of the highest order, and by every measure, she has shown us that she knows how to use it well. The quality of her work has been exemplary in all areas, from her academic classes – achieving a weighted GPA of 5.03 this year - to her award-winning design of an internet-based medical screening system, to her role as the Editor of both this year’s Dial and Record. We are simultaneously proud of, and humbled by Tiantian’s accomplishments. Her sharp mind, tenacity, and gentle heart will serve her well as she continues her studies next fall at Stanford University.
The Nicolai H. Hiller, Jr. Memorial Prize awarded annually to that member of the School who best demonstrates the Spirit of Exemplary Effort and Loyal Service to Fellow Students and the School | Amelia Sniffin
As the daughter of a career Army Chaplain, Amelia Sniffin attended nine different schools as a young person – following her family from one base to another throughout the world. That all changed three years ago when she was awarded Hill’s first Wallach Family Military Scholarship. Amelia was finally able to make up her own mind where she would move next, and our community has benefitted greatly from her decision. As a two-year prefect and head prefect this year, Amelia has led with a gentle, non-judgmental spirit, while unleashing a wicked sense of humor that keeps us guessing what she will bring to the table next. The answer will surely take on a new dimension in the fall when Amelia heads to Wheaton College in Illinois to expand her education, play basketball, and to, once again, leave an impact on those around her.
The Headmaster’s Prize for Exemplary Effort and Sterling Contribution to The Life and Work of the School is given in memory of James D. Andrew, of The Hill School Class of 1922, and Virginia Andrew and family | Euan Forrest
Ille Lyceum Residum Familiae For you non-Classics scholars, that means “The Family Boarding School” in Latin. That phrase means a great deal to many of us here today, but perhaps carries special meaning for this youngest of three brothers to walk across this stage. Following in their footsteps as a dear friend to classmates, a prefect, a championship soccer captain, and a Patriot-League bound Hill graduate is praise enough; to do so while raising the bar in each of those areas student life is laudable. He was consistently in the very top tier of students in his class academically over his four years at Hill, while carrying a most-challenging curricula en route to early Cum Laude election in September. And of course he was dominant on the soccer pitch where he earned All-MAPL, All-Area, and All-America honors while leading his Hill side to league and state titles. Sought after by many top universities and soccer programs, Euan undoubtedly will continue to soar with the Lehigh University Hawks in both the classroom and on the pitch in the years to come.
The Hill School Class of 2019:
JUSTIN ADESHORE ADEDINSEWO
VIRGINIA CLAIRE ALFANO
CHANCELLOR JOSHUA ANTONIO
MAAME YAA TINKORAMAA ASANTE
WADE ROBERT ASHFORD
JAMIE MARIE AUERBACH
BRITTANY ELIZABETH BARDMAN
ANNA KATHERINE BAUTISTA
BENNETT RECE BOOTH-GENTHE
CALLA APONI BOOTH-GENTHE
KELLY ANN BRANNAN
TIERNAN SHERIDAN BRUNNER
CARLA MAGDALENA CANALES
ERIC DANIEL CARDOZA
CHRISTIAN ALEXANDER CHIRIELEISON
ALEXANDRA NICOLE CHROSCINSKI
JIN WOONG CHUNG
RICHARD MAXWELL CICHANOWICZ
GRANT RICHARD CLOUSER
AUDREY ELISE COVALESKI
MARK PATRICK COWAN
JOEL RYAN CROOKS
ASHLEY BRIANA DELGADO
MEGHAN ELIZABETH DEMPSEY
PAIGE LENORE DENDUNNEN
PRIYANKA DESAI DONDETI
BRIGID ANN DONNELLY
NICHOLAS FRANCIS DONNELLY
TAYLOR MARIE DUFFANY
PATRICK GALEN DUNN
WILLIAM T. DUNN
CHRISTIAN JOHN DUVALL
TATUMN BURKE ECCLESTON
CHINONSO KYRIAN EMENOGU
ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ DOMINGUEZ MARTINEZ BELDEN
ANDREW GREGORY FISH
JARRETT J. FOK
EUAN ANDREW CHARLES FORREST
SARAH ANUOLUWAPO ENITAN GBADEBO
GARRETT BENSON GEORGE
ALEXA CLAIRE GIACCHE
IGOR EVGENIEVICH GLAMAZDIN
SOPHIE ALEXA GOLDBERG
ZACHARY CHARLES GORMAN
AMANDA MARION GRIPPO
SYRE MICHAEL GRUBER
ALEXANDRIA NANCY GULATI
ALEXIS BONAE HAAS
ETHAN JACOB HEMPEL
JESSIE OTTER HESS
SAMANTHA ELENA HIDROBO
NAZAHR AHMED HIGGINS
FLAVIO ENRIQUE HINOSTROZA
JOSEPH PAUL IRIZARRY
JULIA KENNEDY JONES
TOBIAS OLOV JONSON
NATASHA KAUR KATHURIA
AUGUSTUS OWYN KELLERMAN
MADISON TAYLOR KERSHNER
KEILLY VIENA KIRKPATRICK
ALEX LASSI KIVINIEMI
MADELINE ELIZABETH KOLLAR
JACOB EMERY KRETZING
TIEN CAT LE
EMILIE KATHLEEN LIMOGES
HALE HAMPTON LOMBARD
RYAN THOMAS LONG
SKYLAR AMORETTE LONG
TRENTEN DEAN LOPATA
JEFFERSON LANGTON LUCE
AHMIR RAHESE LYLES
OLIVIA SHEA MATTO
MAURICE MAZZCCUA JR
SADIE ANN MCCALEB
KATHRYN MAE MCHUGH
ALFONSO ENRIQUE MESTRE VIVAS
MEGAN JAYE MIKUEN
CAMERON BURKE MILLER
LAUREN ELIZABETH MITCHELL
RYAN EVERETT MOFFATT
ROBERT MAXWELL MOORE
TORI MARIE MORAN
ALEXANDRIA ELISABETH MUÑOZ
PATRICK RYAN NEISWENDER
JOHN MICHAEL NELLIGAN
ANTOINE LOUIS NEVEU
GABRIELLE ASHLEY PAINTER
ISABELLA ROSE PALDE
JESSICA SAGE PATTERSON
PHẠM VIỆT QUÂN
PHẠM NHẬT THU
MAX DYLAN POLLAK
VIOLET MAEVE ROBERTSON
BLAKE HAMILTON RODGERS
ZACHARY HAYDEN SAGER
MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER SCHIAVONE, III
RILEY RICHARD SCHMIDT
GONUL CEYLIN SENER
EDUARDO TRAVASSOS PEREIRA DA SILVA SLOMP
LUISA TRAVASSOS PEREIRA DA SILVA SLOMP
HEAVEN A. SMITH
AMELIA BLESSING SNIFFIN
BORIS VIKTOROVICH SOROKIN
LAUREN BAILEY SPILLANE
AIDAN GERARD SULLIVAN MARIAH SWEENEY
MADELINE ROSE TAUBKIN
NIGEL CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON
PETER MAXIMILLIAN TOBIAS
RONALD JESSE TOOLE III
MAXIMILIAN SANJET TSIANG
MATTHEW JOSEPH VALERIO
QIANA MARLEEN VIGO
VO TRUONG XUAN
PATRICK VONN DYKE
VILLE WALTTERI WILPOLA
HALEY ANN WISNIEWSKI
HARRISON WILLIAM WOLF
NATALIE HESS WOODRUFF
AIDAN JOSEPH WOOLLEY
MEAGAN HAN-ZHI YANG
TIMOTHY RYAN YOUNDT
ALEXANDER JIALONG ZHU
ALEXANDER NICHOLAS ZOIS