A Beautiful Day in New Hampshire
Despite rain in the forecast, Cardigan’s Seventy-Third Commencement Day dawned beautiful and blue, with blooming forsythia and blossoming fruit trees adorning the lush green grass of The Point.
For the Cardigan Mountain School Class of 2019, the day began with an early morning visit to the Chapel, though not for a regular service. After donning the traditional white blazer downstairs, the boys headed upstairs, where Associate Director of Secondary School Counseling Cynthia Day P’12,13, Director of Health Services Karen Gray, and Director of Archives Judith Solberg were waiting to help the boys add a boutonnière to their blazer. All seemed to genuinely enjoy assisting the boys with this delicate task.
Shortly afterward, the boys met their families in the Kenly Dining Hall for the Alumni Association Breakfast. Head of School Christopher Day P’12,’13 began the morning’s program by honoring two families with the Gilbert Family Service Award.
In honor of the extraordinary volunteer efforts of Cardigan parents Maureen and Andy Gilbert (Nate ’08, Jake ’10, Max ’13), the Gilbert Family Service Award, established in 2013, is given annually to recognize a member or members of the Cardigan Mountain School community whose service to the School has been exceptional. Recipients of this award fully understand the importance of community and are recognized by their extended Cardigan family as models of leadership through exemplary service.
This year’s recipients are Rong Zou and Zhenya Xue P'19 and Raylene and Jim Becht P'19.
After Assistant School Leader Cameron Cyr addressed his classmates and their families, the community enjoyed an emotional slide show assembled by faculty member Ms. Kyla Joslin. Featuring baby photos of the Class of 2019, the presentation beautifully highlighted the boys’ growth during their time on The Point.
Following the slideshow, everyone made their way to the rear steps of Clark-Morgan Hall for the Alumni Tie Ceremony. Director of Alumni Programs Jeremiah Shipman ’00 explained the symbolism of Cardigan’s green and silver striped alumni tie: green for nature and growth, and silver for the granite of Mount Cardigan, a foundation built by our Core Values. More than 40 alumni and honorary alumni stood behind Mr. Shipman on the Clark-Morgan porch.
Beginning with School Leader Macsen Elkouh, the Class of 2019 stepped forward to receive their ties. Alumni grandfathers, fathers, uncles, older brothers, and family friends were in abundance to present ties to the graduates.
The seniors then assembled on the Chapel steps to take the class photo. Moments later, led by bagpiper Terry Ranney, the boys walked two by two past Clark-Morgan Hall into the rear of the tent and filed into the first three rows.
Following an invocation from faculty member Ms. Donna Fedele, Mr. Day welcomed the crowd of over 750 people, adding a special welcome to former Heads of School Cameron “Chip” H’02 and Janet Dewar P’93, Dave ’80 and Steff H’16 McCusker P’09,’10, and Beverly Wakely H'01, P’70,'73,'75, wife of former Head of School Norman Wakely H’91, remarking that they “represent an important lineage of Cardigan leadership, and I am proud to welcome them back to campus. Back home.”
Turning his attention on the graduates, Mr. Day offered the Class of 2019 his “heartfelt and sincere congratulations and thanks,” adding that their “honest and thoughtful leadership and clear commitment to making Cardigan a better place—a better School-- has been noticed and appreciated by all.”
Commencement is at the same time a beginning and an end. To the boys of the Class of 2019, the day marked the last day of their Cardigan careers. Mr. Day emphasized that the boys have “learned the value of curiosity and inventiveness,” and adding “these will be the difference makers for you gentlemen in the years to come.”
Mr. Day concluded by reflecting that it may take some time for the boys to realize and fully appreciate their experience at Cardigan, reminding them that they “may never again live in a community in which so many know and love you for who you are—warts and all—as we have on The Point.” In closing, Mr. Day asked the boys to realize that they may embrace each other for the last time today, that something profound has occurred while they were here, and that they should enjoy the moment.
Board of Trustees Chair Jeremy T. Crigler ’79 was next to address the crowd. Mr. Crigler’s words were brief, though poignant, recalling the day he arrived on The Point, the warm welcome of his dorm parents and a supportive community, and the life lessons he learned through the Core Values. He concluded by asking the boys to “realize the incredible gift your parents gave you by sending you to this beautiful place in New Hampshire.”
Returning to the podium, Mr. Day continued with announcing the recipients of the 2019 Commencement Prizes. Thirteen different boys were awarded our traditional prizes. Please see the complete list of Commencement Prizes and winners below.
It was then time for the School Leader to address his classmates. Macsen Elkouh began his remarks by thanking the entire Cardigan community, faculty, staff, parents and grandparents.
“We have done our best to honor the core values, we have helped the other fella, we have struggled, tried again, and achieved success. Wherever you may next year, remember Cardigan. Remember your successes and your struggles. Most importantly, remember the experiences and relationships, for this is what has helped shape you into the person you are today.”
Mr. Day then introduced the Commencement Speaker, Mr. Ben Lovejoy ’99, National Hockey League defenseman and Stanley Cup Champion. Mr. Lovejoy detailed his journey in professional hockey against the backdrop of a very simply piece of advice for the Class of 2019: Go to work.
“GO TO WORK. You can’t fake hard work. Since my days at Cardigan, my whole life has been about trying to outwork the guy next to me and the guy across from me…There’s very little magic in my story. I go to work – every, single, day. There are no days off.”
The crowd came to their feet and gave Mr. Lovejoy a boisterous ovation, then it was time for Mr. Day to present the diplomas to the 87 members of the Class of 2019. Congratulations, Boys!
After the Cardigan hymn led by Mr. Day, Ms. Fedele closed the ceremony with the Benediction, and the Class of 2019 recessed out of the rear of the tent, diplomas in hand.
Class of 2019 Prizes
The Caldwell Prize
Awarded to the senior who has shown outstanding athletic achievement and sportsmanship.
The Dewar Prize
Awarded annually in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Cameron K. Dewar to the member of the senior class with the highest academic standing.
The Hinman Prize
A prize given annually in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Harold P. Hinman to the senior who, in the opinion of the faculty, by industrious application to his studies, through his attitude on the playing field, and by his behavior and integrity, most nearly approaches the ideals of manhood as conceived in the minds of the founders of Cardigan Mountain School.
The Norman and Beverly Wakely Prize
Awarded by the Class of 1989 to the senior who, in the opinion of his classmates, best upholds the tradition, spirit, and pride of Cardigan Mountain School, thus making every day “a beautiful day in New Hampshire.”
The Founder’s Prize
Awarded to the senior who has the will to complete any project, regardless of the difficulties encountered, without thought of personal gain, and whose objective is a job well done in the same approach that characterized the life of Harold P. Hinman, one of the founders of Cardigan Mountain School.
The Pannaci Memorial Award
Awarded annually by the Class of 1959 as a memorial to Karl J. Pannaci ’59, to that member of the senior class who, in the eyes of his fellow students, has achieved the best attained ideals of honesty, integrity, leadership, and general social and spiritual adjustment.
Chenglin “Tony” He
The Skibiski Memorial Award
This award is to be given as a memorial to Michael R. Skibiski to that member of the senior class who has shown the greatest progress during his Cardigan Mountain School years.
The William Knapp Morrison Award
Awarded to the senior who, in the opinion of the students, best exemplifies the spirit of Willie Morrison ’82 in academics, athletics, and as a campus citizen.
Awarded to the seniors who, in the opinion of the faculty, have made special contributions to Cardigan Mountain School.
Gerardo De Rueda