PCD Honors 42 Graduates at 91st Annual Commencement

Conscientious, resilient, passionate, unconfined to any mold - were among the words spoken on Wednesday at the 91st Annual Providence Country Day School Commencement ceremony to describe the Class of 2018. The 42 graduates are nothing short of unique. They are world travelers, outdoor adventurers, company ballet dancers, accomplished birders, artic expeditioners, and crossword puzzle makers. They are national competitors in fencing, horseback riding, trap shooting and golf. The Class of 2018 will leave PCD marking new school history as founders of the Girls Varsity Volleyball team, Step Club and Quilting Club. Loretta Querceto is the first girl to play in a Varsity Baseball game. Michael Evora has helped rewrite PCD's diversity statement. Peder Schaefer, Greg Schneider, Micah Kanter, and Ben Shamgochian led the resurgence of the student newspaper, The Roundtable, after it was dormant for decades.

The graduation ceremony last week also marked the first time in school history that the student selected Commencement speaker was an alum. Ben Shamgochian introduced Math Teacher Chris Norris-LeBlanc '08, who spoke on the importance of truth telling to a crowd of 500 in the Evan R. West Field House.

"Nothing will be more important to your college education, and afterwards your ability to be a positive agent in the world, than your ability to determine whether things you hear/read/see are true and, in turn, to hold yourself to a high standard of truth telling." To succeed as "the defenders of the truth", he advised the graduates to seek out more information, avoid sources that are known to be bias, and accept the idea that "you may never know all there is to know about anything." He also charged students to resist the temptation to use persuasion of untruths for personal gain.

"So, class of 2018, my final charge to you is this. Be defenders of the truth. Aim to understand as fully as you can anything you choose to learn. Understand that different perspectives do lead to different subjective truths, but don't be shy about drawing a line in the sand when people attempt to use this as a justification or excuse for being untruthful. You will be gatekeepers and we need you to do your job well."

Norris-LeBlanc is described by students as a beloved teacher, coach, friend, and peer. "He really is a true friend to so many of us. He is able to interact with students in a way that seemingly raises the student to a higher level of maturity while maintaining a carefree atmosphere," said Shamgochian in his remarks. Many of the 2018 graduates cited their close class friendships and cherished relationships with teachers as the heart of their experience at PCD. "PCD has changed me for the better," said Vincent Grande.

The 42 students that comprise the PCD Class of 2018 will be heading off to 39 different colleges in 17 states and two countries.

The Class of 2018

Xueyang An, Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences
Graham Bennett, Colby College
Daniel Bershad, Curry College
Michael Bloom, Nichols College
Raymond Bruno, Lasell College
Ariana Byrnes, Maine College of Art
Tiana Catala, Boston University
Anthony Chamoun, Bryant University
Grace Daily, Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences
Michael Evora, Bridgewater State University
Cal George, Sarah Lawrence College
Vincent Grande, Roger Williams University
Alexandra Guzman, Providence College
Jiacheng He, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Alyssa Howard, Rhode Island College
Jenna Hughes, Merrimack College
Micah Kanter, University of Pennsylvania
Grace LeValley, Salve Regina University
Weiqi Li, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Anthony Loiselle, Coastal Carolina University
Jeremy Lutz, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Isabelle Lynch, Indiana University at Bloomington
Anthony Maio, University of Utah
Jackson Mayer, University of Rhode Island
William McCoy, Case Western Reserve University
Casey McNamara, Roger Williams University
Sammy Mogawer, Rhode Island School of Design
Nathan Moles, Lafayette College
Henry Petree, University of Colorado at Boulder
Loretta Querceto, Bennington College
Sara Remmler, Mount Holyoke College
Christine Rizzotti, Iona College
Margaret Rock, Providence College
Peder Schaefer, Brown University
Gregory Schneider, Florida Institute of Technology
Benjamin Shamgochian, Tufts University
Mason Snead, Purdue University
Rachael Tovar, Wheaton College
Megan Tracey, Stonehill College
Gabriel Williams, University of Puget Sound
Adam Yau, University of Connecticut
Yu Zhang, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Germany

Read the speeches from the ceremony and Senior Dinner with the enclosed documents:

Anne Kirby Senior Dinner

Rob Khoury Invocation

Ben Shamgochian introduction to Commencement

Chris Norris LeBlanc Commencement Speech

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