On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Providence Country Day School celebrated the class of 2021 at the 94th commencement ceremony. In what felt surprisingly normal after a tumultuous year, families and faculty gathered in the Field House to celebrate the culmination of a high school experience where the final third was throughout a global pandemic. The PCD community celebrated a hard-working and resilient senior class for successfully completing their high school careers in the face of virtual learning, cancelled sports seasons, masked classes, and adapting treasured experiences such as the senior whitewater rafting trip and prom to accommodate public health restrictions.
The importance of gratitude, resiliency, and strength were running themes throughout the day. These were evident in an Irish blessing shared during the invocation given by retiring faculty member Sharon Hanover:
"May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble, enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort, enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness, enough wealth to meet your needs and one thing more; Enough determination to make each day a more wonderful day than the one before."
Head of School Kevin Folan welcomed graduates and their guests and commended the seniors on their perseverance in the face of the pandemic. "When I think of overcoming adversity, developing grit, and embracing looking on the bright side, I think of you, the Class of 2021. You had just over half of your high school experience under your belt before the world as we knew it turned upside down," said Folan.
"And here we are—in person at your graduation. We have hope. We have light. It is with this that I urge you to appreciate the unplanned and unexpected senior year you faced and realize that this is your classic hero's journey—a setback placed in your pathway that could either stop you in your tracks, or highlight your resilience, your teamwork, and your determination to earn this amazingly not cliche and terrific ending. You are an inspired and inspiring class of students who I am so proud to know."
Graduating senior Matthew Howe introduced the invited speaker, Klaus Amburn, Upper School Science Teacher. Amburn, who is retiring after 25 years teaching science at PCD, gave the commencement address as a shared farewell with the senior class. "We have come to love and care for those who are here today, and with a measure of seriousness and formality, hope to express our gratitude for all they have done for us," Amburn said.
Amburn drew on the lives and works of Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Sir Issac Newton, Socrates, Plato, and Gary Saul Morson to highlight his advice to the Class of 2021: to go forth in life with humility, reverence, and insatiable curiosity for the world around us. "Regardless of how hopelessly romantic it may seem, striving for wisdom and righteousness is all that matters," Amburn said. "But it does not just happen. You have to work for it—and you have to hunger and thirst for it with your whole person, body and soul, head and heart. And you cannot go it alone."
Following the awarding of the diplomas and the Country Day Song, Associate Head of School Mark McLaughlin closed the ceremony with the Charge to the Class of 2021. The Charge included statements from advisors Jason Roderick, Sharon Hanover, Jennifer Karl, Javier Gallego, and Klaus Amburn. Together, they advised graduates to proceed into their future with enthusiasm, determination, and resiliency.
"Take care, be well, stay connected to each other and to your school," McLaughlin said. "And always remember the words of David to Solomon: to be strong and of good courage. Congratulations Class of 2021!"
Seniors in PCD's Class of 2021 will be attending 34 different schools in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Ohio, Florida, Maine, Connecticut, North Carolina, Louisiana, Vermont, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Washington D.C., and Ireland.
Jillian Archer, Nichols College
Matthew Borden, Curry College
Tyler Botelho, Bristol Community College
Francisco Carvalho, Providence College
Aaron Colberg, Kent State University
Rose DiSandro, Springfield College
Macenna Furtado, Keiser University
Kevin Godinez, Boston University
Abygail Goodwin, Maine College of Art
Brian Greenlees, Wesleyan University
Quincy Griffin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Christopher Habr, University of Rhode Island
Javi Hamel, Johnson & Wales University
Matthew Howe, Boston College
Wangming Jiang, University of Miami
Ava Kooloian, Tulane University of Louisiana
Kinley Lavenstein, Ohio State University
Olivia LeBeau, Mount Holyoke College
Emmett MacGregor, University of Vermont
Colin Madden, Temple University
Luke Mello, Quinnipiac University
Reginald Ouellette, Quinnipiac University
Rachele Papineau, Boston College
Levi Parker, Endicott College
Oliver Pope, Endicott College
Allison Rivard, Roger Williams University
Morgan Rivard, Bentley University
Jacob Rivet, Williams College
Haley Salgueiro, The University of Findlay
Claire Shamgochian, Interim Year
Jiangyue Shi, University of California—Davis
Evan Sucov, Clark University
Jianfeng Sun, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Zachary Sutton, American University
Guangkai Tang, Brandeis University
Aidan Trendell, Wesleyan University
Emily Waite, The University of Tampa
Maia Waldron, Trinity College—Dublin
Graduating seniors received the following awards:
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN VOCAL MUSIC
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TECHNICAL THEATER
THE CHARLOTTE T. STRATTON THEATER AWARD—Presented to a student who has demonstrated unusual excellence in theater.
THE JUDITH A. SPEYER ART AWARD—For excellence in art in honor of Ms. Speyer whose teaching and passion for the arts inspired students for 31 years.
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PHOTOGRAPHY
YEARBOOK AWARD—In recognition of outstanding effort, achievement and leadership.
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN SPANISH
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN LATIN
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN BIOLOGY
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PHYSICS
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MATHEMATICS
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ART HISTORY
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN HISTORY
THE SANDSTROEM BOOK AWARD—For excellence in English, to the outstanding senior English student.
THE RICHARD S. STANZLER MEMORIAL PRIZE—Given in memory of Richard S. Stanzler, of the Class of 1954, by his family and friends to that student in the Upper School who has excelled in the humanities in the current academic year.
FACULTY CITATION—"For his ever present positive attitude, enthusiastic presence in the classroom, and his dedication to his sport."
FACULTY CITATION—"For his intellectual curiosity, work ethic, and kind hearted nature in and out of the classroom."
FACULTY CITATION—"For his uncommon loyalty and commitment to excellence in all areas of school life."
THE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARD—Given to a member of the graduating class who has been a student at Providence Country Day for two years or more and maintained the highest academic average.
THE GERALD B. WOODRUFF PROGRESS AWARD—Given to that student in the graduating class who in his or her years at PCD has displayed the greatest personal growth as an individual and a member of our community.
THE WILLIAM R. GIUNTA MEMORIAL BOOK AWARD—Given to a member of the graduating class who best exemplifies a spirit of concern and interest in people and the value of community.
THE PERCIVAL C. NORRIS MEMORIAL AWARD—Awarded to that member of the graduating class who has, over the years, shown outstanding loyalty and constructive leadership in the tradition of Mr. Norris.
THE CLASS OF 1929 GOLD MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE—For excellence in scholarship, participation in athletics, participation in other extracurricular activities, leadership in and influence upon the school, and faithfulness of effort.
THE ROBERT ARTHUR LAVAN MEMORIAL MEN'S ATHLETIC AWARD
SUZANNE BAILEY WOMEN'S ATHLETIC AWARD
J. RODERICK EATON SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
Quincy Griffin III
THE CHARLES S. GWYNNE AWARD
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR'S CITATION (SEQUOIA AWARD)
Underclassman also received the following awards during this year's annual awards ceremony:
THE MARY SUTTELL GIRL'S UNDERCLASS ATHLETIC AWARD
THE ALEX POULOS MEMORIAL ATHLETIC AWARD
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN VOCAL MUSIC
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL ART
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN SPANISH
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN LATIN
MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN HISTORY
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN ENGLISH
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN MATHEMATICS
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EFFORT AND ACHIEVEMENT IN SCIENCE
THE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CHEMISTRY
THE RENSSELAER AWARD—Given by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to a member of the junior class for achievement in mathematics and science.
THE PELL MEDAL AWARD—For excellence in United States History.
THE BROWN UNIVERSITY BOOK AWARD—Awarded to the top junior who combines a high degree of ability in the field of English (both written and spoken).
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRESS AWARD—Awarded to a student or students who have demonstrated significant academic or social growth in their Middle School careers.
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL ACADEMIC AWARD—Awarded to the student who has achieved the highest academic average in the class over the past two years.
THE MARY ELIZABETH HUNT AWARD—Awarded to our most outstanding Middle School citizen, in honor of Betty Hunt, our school receptionist for many years, who radiated warmth and sunshine.
THE WILLIAMS COLLEGE BOOK AWARD—Awarded to the most outstanding Middle School student for combined scholastic achievement and extra-curricular participation and leadership potential.
THE NANCY M. HANLEY AWARD—Given by friends and family in honor of Nancy Hanley, Librarian, ninth grade lead advisor, parent of Ted '85 and Mike '86 and wife of Jim '58. This award is given to that ninth-grade student whose spirit, citizenship and academic commitment lift those around them in the way that Mrs. Hanley did for those around her.
THE PCD ALUMNI AWARD—Given to a member of the tenth-grade for high scholarship combined with consistent and constructive leadership.
THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOOK AWARD—Awarded to the junior in our School whose outstanding personal attributes and service to school and community make this person worthy of honorable recognition.
THE DARTMOUTH ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF RHODE ISLAND BOOK AWARD—Awarded to that junior who ranks in the top ten percent of his/her class and who best combines the qualities of scholarship, leadership and achievement.
THE HARVARD CLUB OF RHODE ISLAND BOOK AWARD—Awarded to the outstanding student in the junior class who displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields.
THE YALE ALUMNI CLUB BOOK AWARD—Awarded to that junior in a rigorous college preparatory program whose academic achievement and contribution to the life of the school is testimony to his or her outstanding personal character and intellectual promise.