COMMENCEMENT 2021


Felt Like Normal

At the end of a year like no other, members of the Class of 2021 gathered to celebrate.

On Sunday, May 23, members of the Class of 2021 gathered with friends, family, and faculty to celebrate the 127th Commencement of Pomfret School, live and in-person. It was the culmination of a weeklong celebration that one senior described as "the first time it felt like normal." The Honorable William Tong, attorney general for the State of Connecticut, was the graduation speaker.

During the ceremony, Blake Zahansky addressed the assembly on behalf of the class. "As we depart this beautiful campus for our final time today as the Class of 2021, we will always remain better together. We will take the lessons of resilience, empathy, inclusiveness, and support to where we go next — and we will make that place better. That is the power we will take forward to the next stop on our journey."

Following Blake's remarks, Head of School Tim Richards announced the top scholars in the class. Anya Button earned the distinction of second in class, and Shawn Zhu was honored as the sixth form's top scholar. The Wendell D. Mansfield Cup, awarded each year to a sixth form student who, by vote of the faculty, best exemplifies in school life the qualities of desire, drive, and determination, was awarded to Lance Martineau. The School’s highest honor, the Founder's Medal, was awarded to Class President Michaela Nsubuga for her deep engagement with the School and her outstanding qualities of scholarship, leadership, and determination. A complete list of awards can be found here

A Day on the River

In a year filled with unexpected twists and turns, it was only fitting that the senior class should end their high school journey whitewater rafting. Since 2004, Crab Apple Whitewater, Inc., has hosted seniors for a day filled with adventure and fun. Crab Apple's Massachusetts base camp sits along the beautiful Deerfield River on the historic Mohawk Trail in western Massachusetts.

Students experienced moments of pure thrill, times of absolute serenity, and most importantly, a feeling of togetherness as they paddled along twenty-five miles of the dam-controlled Deerfield River. "I've been chaperoning this trip since the tradition began in 2004," says Photography Teacher Lindsay Lehmann. "Most years, there are at least a handful of students who are pretty reluctant to participate. That was definitely not the case this year. The kids were so full of joy to be together out on the river. And they had the most amazing, energetic water fight I've ever seen on this trip. The day couldn't have been more perfect."

Under the Stars

On their final evening on the Hilltop, seniors gathered under a tent on Observatory Field to celebrate their senior prom. White lights lined the perimeter of the massive white tent, and tables below were festively decorated for the occasion.

Prior to dinner, seniors crossed the street and assembled on the Olmsted Student Union terrace to take in their final sunset together. After the sun set, students crossed the street once again and enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by Pomfret Dining Services before hitting the dance floor. They cut a rug to tunes played by Pomfret music teacher and DJ-for-the-evening Sam Beckwith. When the last song had been played, students gathered for their final Form Meeting of their Pomfret careers. During the emotional meeting held under the stars, students and faculty took turns sharing stories of what they've learned at Pomfret, what they'll miss, and the lessons they will take with them to the next stop on their journey.

"It was truly a night to remember," says Keegan Rybacki. "The last few days have been a whirlwind — but a really good one! Tonight was a great opportunity to just kick back, enjoy each other's company, and share all the memories we've had here on the Hilltop. I'm really going to miss this place."


 

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