Commencement 2018



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Heather Abbott, 2018 Commencement Speaker

Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor & Amputee

On April 15, 2013, what is referred to as Marathon Monday in Boston, Heather Abbott of Newport, RI, set out on an annual tradition with six friends. They would attend the Red Sox game, followed by a walk over to the finish line to watch the runners. Abbott would never have dreamed this day would change her life forever.

Abbott was struck by shrapnel from the second of the two bombs, severely injuring her left foot. After three surgeries in four days, Abbott was faced with an agonizing decision – should she try and save her left foot or amputate her leg below the knee. With the help of other amputees, and the support from thousands around the country, Abbott made the difficult decision, at the age of 38, to live her life as an amputee.

Her recovery, as it is for many, was a journey through pain, anger, optimism, challenge and resilience. Abbott has remained a model of strength and resilience and is determined to help other victims of limb loss. She is a certified Peer Counselor for the American Amputee Coalition and is helping other amputees adjust to their “new normal,” as others helped her.

By starting the Heather Abbott Foundation, she has another chance to continue to pay it forward for all amputees. Heather Abbott has recently been awarded the following: the 2014 Orthopedic Association’s Spirit of an Active Lifestyle Award, an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Framingham State University in 2015, the Stonehill College President’s Excellence Award in 2015 and the 2015 Providence Business News Woman to Watch.


#1 Valedictorian – Yian “Annie” Wang ’18

#2 Salutatorian – Colin LeSage ’18

The Founders Medal – The School’s highest honor, the Founders Medal recognizes that member of the sixth form who has given the most of her or himself to Pomfret through deep engagement with the School and who exhibits outstanding qualities of scholarship, character, leadership, and determination. – Aubrey Benzing-Plourde ’18

The Wendell D. Mansfield Cup – This cup is awarded to that sixth form student who, by vote of the faculty, best exemplifies in school life the qualities of desire, drive, and determination, which Mannie labored to instill in Pomfret students – Julia Gengras ’18


Department Awards

Digital Arts Department

The Digital Arts Award – Given to the Pomfret student who has demonstrated a passion and dedication for technology, art, and design. The student’s body of work displays a high level of technical mastery, while also inviting criticism and conversation through intentional risk-taking, insightful expression, and playful design. – Michael Dorfman ’18

English Department

Sixth Form English Award – Given to the senior whose devoted study of literature and accomplished writing most clearly celebrates the English language for all its splendor and possibility. This student’s scholarship merits distinction as the finest work in English at Pomfret School this academic year. – Leslie Rosario-Olivo’18

The Prize in Creative Writing – Awarded to a senior who excelled in one or more Creative Writing electives and, by the quality of his or her writing and commitment to the writing process, demonstrated readiness to thrive as a maker of literary art. – Talibah Alexander ’18

History Department

Sixth Form History Award – Given to the student whose achievement and excellence in historical scholarship has been a distinguishing part of her or his tenure at Pomfret. The award is given to a deserving senior who not only achieves at a high level, but also challenges their classmates and teachers to fully engage with all the study of History has to offer. – Yian “Annie” Wang ’18

David A. Brush History Award – Given to a graduating senior, who has shown significant passion and dedication in study of history with the goal of a greater understanding of the discipline and the larger world. With this award, the History department recognizes achievement, engagement, interest, and a student’s desire to know and understand a multitude of historical perspectives. – Bryce Voges ’18

Fine Arts Department

Sixth Form Ceramics Award – Given to that member of the senior class who has been committed to acquiring mastery and knowledge of many ceramic techniques, enabling the production of increasingly ambitious works over the course of their Pomfret career. The works produced by this student demonstrate the qualities of aesthetic and technical excellence. – Dolores Ma ’18

Sixth Form Dance Award – Given to a student who has found his or her physical voice. Through internal and external inspiration, this student has learned to use and share the silent language known as dance. – Jared Berniers’18

Sixth Form Music Award – Given to a student who has taken every opportunity to perform and study music at Pomfret. This student has given significantly to the Music Program by collaborating with peers and faculty alike to keep music alive at Pomfret. – Zeyu “Nick” Sha’18 and Colin LeSage ’18

Sixth Form Theatre Award – Recognizes a student who has shown great diligence in learning the craft of acting, directing, playwriting, or technical theatre, while making a significant contribution to the artistic life of our school community. – Leslie Rosario-Olivo '18

Sixth Form Painting & Drawing Award – Recognizes an exceptional commitment to the visual arts, a determination to test all boundaries and, most importantly, a love for the creative process. – Alexa Jack’18 and Vasilisa Gorbolskaya ’18

Sixth Form Photography Award – Honors a senior who demonstrates passion and expertise in both the technology of photographic tools as well as creative visual concepts. The award recipient has excelled in advanced coursework and pursued their vision beyond the classroom. – Catherine “Cat” Corona '18 and Henry Linhares, '18

Sixth Form Sculpture Award – Given to the senior whose study and application of the elements and principles of design has led to the production of highly innovative and expressive works of art in both additive and reductive media. – Dolores Ma ’18

The Joseph Mannas Memorial Drama Award – Honors the memory of Joseph Mannas, Pomfret Class of 1972 and recognizes valuable contributions to Pomfret School’s theatre program. The student who achieves this recognition has demonstrated imagination, courage, and sustained excellence in theater throughout his or her tenure at Pomfret School. – Colin LeSage ’18

World Languages Department

Sixth Form Latin Award – Check language here: Given to that member of the senior class who demonstrates excellence and passion in the study of the Latin language, literature and culture. – Not awarded this year

Sixth Form Spanish Award – Given to that member of the senior class whose dedication and passion in the study of Spanish language and culture propels her or him to excellence. – Mariella Catalano’18

The James Rees French Award – Given to that member of the senior class who demonstrates excellence and passion in study of French language, literature, and culture. – Alexandre Rondeau ’18

Sixth Form Chinese Award – Given to that member of the senior class who demonstrates excellence and passion in the study of the Chinese language, literature and culture. – Not awarded this year

The C. Russell Stringer Award – Given in honor of C. Russell Stringer, French teacher at Pomfret School from 1943 – 1967. It is awarded to the top language student at Pomfret who exhibits academic excellence, a love of learning, and a true appreciation of all the gifts which come with the study of language and culture. – Yian "Annie" Wang '18

Mathematics Department

The Marshall Eaton’70 Calculus Award – Given to a student who demonstrates the rigor and resolve necessary to succeed with such topics including limits, derivatives, infinite series, and integrals. – Paniti “Parn” Mongkonpathumrat’18

Statistics Award – The purpose of statistics is to expose students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. This year’s award winner is well versed in exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistics inference. – not awarded this year

Religion Department

Sixth Form Religion Award – Given to that student who demonstrates academic excellence and a commitment to understanding and respecting the world’s religious and philosophical traditions. Through study, the student also engages with a diversity of worldviews that challenges his or her own assumptions and how to put into practice what has been learned. – Not awarded this year

Science Awards

Sixth Form Science Award – Given each year to a student who has fully committed to the sciences, taken coursework at advanced levels, and achieved top marks in these challenging classes. – Colin LeSage '18

Science Exploration Award – Given to students who distinguish her or himself in a unique scientific course of study, often completing independent studies to deepen their research and understanding. For his research in oceanography, the Science Exploration Award goes to – Catherine “Cat” Corona '18

The David A. Wilson III ’01 Memorial Prize – The David A. Wilson III Memorial Prize honors the memory of David A. Wilson III, ’01 and is presented to that student(s) who has exhibited great passion and intellect in pursuit of studies in computer science. – Not awarded this year

Faculty Awards

The David A. Brush Award – Recognizes the work of a devoted and innovative teacher in the Social Sciences or Humanities who routinely goes beyond the required to help students grow in scholarship and who is also a highly regarded member of the school community because of his or her commitment and service to students – Katie Duglin, Faculty

The Sooho Cho ’74 Award – This award made in honor of loyal alumnus and dedicated trustee, Sooho Cho ’74, recognizes a faculty member (of at least five years of service to Pomfret School) who has demonstrated particular dedication to his/her work and who has been noteworthy in his/her dedication to the development of Pomfret students – JP Jacquet, Faculty

The Prize for Teaching Excellence – Given to a current faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching excellence for the year in the areas of math, science, or foreign languages – Tim Deary, Faculty

The William “Terry” Murbach Award – Given annually to a member of the faculty who best exemplifies a sincere interest in students, a commitment to scholarship, and a sense of humor, three qualities for which Terry is so fondly remembered – Samantha Slotnick, Faculty

The Senior Cup – Awarded to that member of the community, faculty or staff, who has given the most to the Senior Class. By vote of the Sixth Form. – Wallace “Waddy” Rowe, Faculty

Honorary Awards

The Chick Cole Cup – Awarded to that member of the Sixth Form who has achieved excellence in both Creative Arts and Athletics. This award is given in honor of Chick Cole, faculty member at Pomfret School from 1951 – 1999, by his four children. – Enis Perez’18

The Pomfret Bowl –Awarded to the best male and female athlete as voted on by the senior class. This is Pomfret School's oldest award dating back more than 120 years.

Girls – Duun O’Hara ’18

Boys – Frederick Cisse ’18

The Cowperthwait Award – Recognizes the student (or students) in the graduating class who has demonstrated exceptional qualities of leadership through strength of character, dedication to fair and spirited play, self-discipline and teamwork. His/her conduct has inspired teammates and schoolmates alike to strive for excellence in all aspects of life – Jared Beniers’18

The Halleck Lefferts Award – Given in honor of Hallack Lefferts, Head of School at Pomfret from 1930 – 1942. It is presented to that member of the Sixth Form who, in the opinion of the Head of School, has demonstrated excellence in leadership, good spirit, and a commitment to others at Pomfret. – Mariella Rose Catalano ’18

The Edward E. Kelley Award – Given, by vote of the faculty, the post-graduate student-athlete who has achieved at a high level in the classroom while being involved in varsity level sports while at Pomfret School. – Frederick Cisse ’18

The Richard H. Randall, Jr. ’44 Award – Given, by vote of the faculty, to a member of the Sixth Form with outstanding ability to communicate ideas in the pursuit of excellence. – Leslie Rosario-Olivo ’18

The Paul M. Rosenfield ’67 Award – Awarded, by vote of the faculty, to the member of the Sixth Form who best exemplifies strength of character through courage and humor – Uyen Hoang Dinh ’18

The Community Service Award – Awarded to the student(s) who has demonstrated a sustained commitment to serving others. – Not awarded this year

Faculty Awards – Awards given to those members of the Sixth Form who, in the opinion of the faculty, deserve special recognition. – ’Olivia Ferrara ’18, Alexa Jack’18, Jisu Jeon’18, Wesley Yang’18, Chase Zimmerman’18

Athletic Awards

Edward A. Benoit Manager of the Year Award – Given to the most outstanding team manager who gave thankless hours of work and dedication to a Pomfret athletic team – Abigail Conway’18

The Eccleston Award – This award is given to that coach who, like Don Eccleston, Pomfret School 1983-

93, understands how the game should be played – Waddy Rowe, Faculty and James Rees, Faculty

Cum Laude Society

Founded in 1906, the Cum Laude Society seeks to promote learning and sound scholarship in secondary schools, recognizing that good minds must be used for noble purposes. The Pomfret School chapter of the society, established in 1936, recognizes those students who have demonstrated superior scholastic achievement. In selecting new members, the Pomfret chapter not only considers the student’s grade point average, but also the rigor of their courses and a consistent pattern of academic excellence during their time here. In addition, the Pomfret chapter is charged to select as members only those students who have demonstrated good character, honor, and integrity in all aspects of school life.

The Cum Laude Society’s motto of Arete, Dike, and Time celebrates the quest for moral and academic excellence, justices, and honor.

Inducted last fall:

  • Khanh “Alice” Le
  • Colin LeSage
  • Yujia “Dolores” Ma
  • Jiahui “Candice” Wang
  • Yian “Annie” Wang

New members:

  • Talibah Lashaun Alexander
  • Claire Elisabeth Anderson
  • Aubrey Jade Benzing-Plourde
  • Mariella Rose Catalano
  • Uyen Hoang Dinh
  • Olivia Caroline Ferrara
  • Vasilisa Gorbolskaya
  • Alisyn Marie Narracci
  • Leslie Rosario-Olivo
  • Zeyu “Nick” Sha
  • Kaela Josephine Thomson
  • Gia Khanh “K” Vu
  • Yicheng Yang
  • Chase Atkins Zimmerman