The biggest graduating class in the 40-year history of Com-munity School had many of the same characteristics as some of the smallest classes dating back years and years at the Sun Val-ley independent school.
Sunday’s commencement ceremony for 36 seniors and one exchange student receiving a Certificate of Completion made that symmetry evident to hundreds of spectators includ-ing family and friends who en-joyed a beautiful spring day.
As Head of School Dr. David Holmes said about the 2014 graduates in opening remarks, “They are strong individuals with distinctive identities. They know the wider world and they know themselves.”
Of the seniors, 10 are headed to colleges Back East, 18 to col-leges in the middle of the coun-try and eight to colleges in the West, Dr. Holmes said.
He added, “The whole Com-munity School experience, in-side and outside of school, has helped our seniors know them-selves and believe in them-selves.”
Commencement speaker David Whorton, an entrepre-neur, venture capitalist and Community School parent, em-phasized the importance of core character traits as a young person tackles the challenges of the working world.
Whorton advised Sunday’s Cutthroat graduates, “Your GPA and SAT scores have very little to do with how you do in life. Character traits like integ-rity, how you embrace failure and move ahead, and the abil-ity to be present and aware are more important.”
Citing examples of people and organizations that recog-nize such traits, Whorton said, “We need people in leadership roles with grit, perseverance, zest and doggedness. Those are things that get things done.”
Senior speakers during the one-hour and 50-minute cere-mony were Trent Avery and Jamie Wygle.
Both received standing ova-tions although as Wygle said, starting his speech with a tip of the hat to Avery’s wildly suc-cessful speech and its recep-tion, “I should’ve gone first.”
That’s because Avery used his well-received speech to de-scribe each of his classmates with carefully-chosen words and phrases that pointed out their personality traits and things he liked about them.
“Being up here speaking is something of a miracle,” said Avery, chosen by his class-mates to be one of the two sen-ior speakers at graduation. “I came to this school a very shy kid. Now look at me!”
Wygle, destined for the stage, called the 36 graduates “quite a cast of characters.” He talked about beginnings and endings, saying he preferred endings because they made a person look forward to the newest part—with hundreds of chapters yet to unfold.
Ben Swift announced the Yearbook Dedication to the Community School mainte-nance staff, who he termed the school’s “unsung heroes.”
As its senior gifts, the Class of 2014 represented by Katie Feldman and Erin Hennessy gave the school a water bottle filling station plus a donation to The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence.
Among the Senior Reflec-tions spoken by the graduates:
Sarah Williams: “Every-thing runs its course. It’s the journey that makes the differ-ence.”
Reed Roudabush and De-von Sherrerd, two Cutthroat students since pre-school:
“Enjoy yourself—it goes by really quickly,” said Roudabush. “This school has given me the confidence to at-tack all challenges, academic and otherwise,” said Sherrerd.
Caroline Jones: “To my sisters, thank you for making all the mistakes for me.”
Jolie Blair: “Keep the Community School weird.”
Doug FuFur: “I’ve watched the school change and grow, and it has seen the same devel-opments in me.”
Jamie Wygle: “Never thought I’d be up here. This is a surprise to everyone, especially my parents.”
Trent Avery: “Be who you are and say what you feel, be-cause those who mind, do not matter, and those who matter, do not mind.”
Whitney Engelmann: “Life is a garden, dig it and watch it bloom.”
And Erin Hennessy read a letter she wrote to herself in the eighth grade, which started, “Hello, future me, I hope you’re still wonderful.” And then she thanked everyone who helped make her eighth-grade-self someone to be proud of.
Check the June 18 Local Life for more graduation photos.
Cutthroat award recipients
All awards and scholarship winners were revealed during Friday’s awards program at the school. Community scholar-ships included:
Cindy Lawson-Kesting Memorial: Devon Sherrerd.
Congressional Awards: Alex Harten and Devon Sher-rerd (gold), and Joyce Chan (silver).
Hailey Rotary Scholar-ships: Isabel Kirk and Devon Sherrerd.
Sun Valley Board of Real-tors Scholarship: Devon Sher-rerd.
Sun Valley Center for the Arts Scholarships: Cutter Grathwohl, Lane Letourneau, Arielle Rawlings and Sara Runkel.
Wood River Medical Soci-ety Scholarship: Hayley Mu-rach.
Erin Hennessy received The Beaupre Award, the school's oldest honor. It goes to seniors with high standards of scholar-ship, leadership, citizenship and athletic achievement. She also accepted the Head of School Award for 2013-14.
The Bill Benjamin Memorial Scholarship for Senior Project Proposals was given to Lena Perenchio. Jamie Wygle col-lected the 23rd Tom Johnson Memorial Award for excellence in performing arts.
Arielle Rawlings accepted the Laura S. Flood Memorial Award. And Whitney Engel-mann collected the 24th Dixie Grabos Memorial Award for the appreciation of litera-ture/writing.
Ben Swift received Murphy-Carson Family Award. Nate Nasvik won the Trophy Sage-brush Award for imagination. Chloe Chrysikopoulos earned the Klingelhofer Senior Speech award.
Trent Avery and Sarah Wang were graduating winners of the Peggy and Sigi Engl Me-morial Achievement Awards. They go to students at each grade who improve through hard work and determination.
Other recipients of the Engl awards on Friday were:
Junior class, Perry Boyle and Will Harder. Sophomore class, Ava Mazzoni and Evan Marks. Freshman class, Ana-lena Deklotz and Thomas O’Connor. Eighth grade, Char-lie Stumph and Hayden Baker. Seventh grade, Tatum Fuller and Henry Cherp. Sixth grade, Antonia Avery and Ridley Lindstrom.
Memorial scholarships were a big part of school awards.
Greg Allison Memorial Scholarship—Trenor Gould.
David M. Dorward Memo-rial Scholarship—Claire Siderman.
Tom Bloomfield Memorial Scholarship—Peter Wolter.
Philip B. Detwiler Memo-rial Scholarship—Darby David.
Fredrick Chandler Memo-rial Scholarship—Trenor Gould.
Nick Crosby Athlete of the Year Award—Erin Hennessy.
Elementary School Rocky Bates Memorial Scholarship—Lola Street.
Book awards, special school and local grants included:
Recipients of Book Awards were Sara Runkel (Smith Col-lege), Sydney Hagenbuch (Wil-liams College), Olivia Ott (Whitman College), Jack Swan-son (College of Idaho) and Siena Polk (College of the At-lantic).
Josie Allison earned The Rensselaer Medal Award. Josie Allison accepted the Anne Reed Gallery Award.
Given for the 31st year, fac-ulty scholarships were awarded to Annika Landis (Upper School), Joe Hall (MS) and Josh Blackburn (ES).
Earning Bob Doyle Service Leader Awards were Olivia Ott (Upper School) and Oliver Guy (MS). Irving Student Achieve-ment Awards went to Will Sny-der (Upper School), Henry Raff (MS) and Eli Fuller (Elemen-tary School).
Five awards were chosen by the Middle School faculty were:
Torin Norton Tucker ’10 Memorial Scholarship—Henry Raff.
Carrie Bashaw Hislaire Memorial Scholarship—Leyla Ba.
Karen Wright Cardozo Memorial Scholarship—Wilson Dunn and Alex LaFleur.
Winners of Middle School Community Awards were Keegan Webber (eighth grade), Arianna Carlson (seventh) and Chloe Tanous (sixth). And Chloe Khosrowshahi earned The Iconoclast Award.
Community Service and Merit Awards for the Upper and Middle schools were:
* Platinum (100-plus service hours): Brooke Allen, Tara Burchmore, Isabelle Caraluzzi, Joyce Chan, Hannah Conn, River Curtis, Cutter Grathwohl, Alex Harten, Erin Hennessy, Olivia Ott and Claire Siderman.
* Gold (50-99 hours): Josie Allison, Samantha Bunting, Roger Figge, Autumn Fluetsch, Oliver Guy, Elena Guylay, Joe Hall, Giselle Harmon, Carolina Mahedy, Jack Swanson and Keegan Webber.
* Silver (35-49 hours): Blair Baker, Gavin Blair, Isabella Bourret, Tess Burchmore, Alyssa Diamond, Lily Fitz-gerald, Sydney Hagenbuch, Nate Nasvik, Sophie Nasvik and Sara Runkel.
* Bronze (25-34 hours): Antonia Avery, Perry Boyle, George Everitt, Henry Everitt, Jordan Fitzgerald, Annika Landis, Evan Marks, Jasper Mott, Hayley Murach, Katie Peters, Henry Raff, Keegan Whitelaw and Peter Wolter.
* Platinum Merit Awards (5 or more courses): Hannah Conn, Brygitte DeLaCruz, Johnny Hagenbuch, Sydney Hagenbuch, Joe Hall, Annika Landis, Sophia Mazzoni, Peter Morawitz, Olivia Ott, Hope Perkins, Katie Peters, Siena Polk and Sara Runkel.
* Gold Merit Awards (3 or 4 courses): Laine Allison, Tara Burchmore, Henry Cherp, Hannah Cobb, Cooper Dart, Hannah Dies, Katie Feldman, Trenor Gould, Oliver Guy, Erin Hennessy, Chloe Khosrowshahi, Blake Letourneau, Lane Letourneau, Ava Mazzoni, Kiran Merchant, Lucy More, Hay-ley Murach, Kristina Poydenis, Arielle Rawlings and Chloe Tanous.