June 07, 2019 | News
PBDA Commencement 2019

On the morning of June 7, 2019, Palm Beach Day Academy‘s 8th and 9th Graders spent their last few minutes together as a group before Commencement. This would be the last time that they would all be assembled as PBDA students and for many, their last time setting foot on campus as students. Teachers, parents, grandparents and friends gathered at 241 Seaview one final time for the school year to celebrate their many accomplishments and honor all that their years at PBDA represent.

Eighth Grader Caroline Ghirardini led “The Pledge of Allegiance” before Interim Head of School, William Peebles, took the podium to offer a welcome to parents, friends and faculty.

Head of Upper School, Sarah Kemeness, conducted the Presentation of the Cup Awards which are indicators of the personal qualities valued by the school. The Essay Cups were established by Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Jose in honor of their daughter Polly, a former PBDA student. The Cups are offered to encourage good writing among the students in the Upper School and are awarded to the students who have submitted the most outstanding educational autobiography, research paper and character sketch during the year. The Katie Tummon ‘03 Educational Autobiography Awards went to Virginia Keen and Lucy Newmyer. The award for 9th Grade Character Sketch went to Bennett Stone. The John L. Thompson Research Paper Award went to Madison Oatley.

Ava Tarone received this year’s Upper Campus 7th – 9th Grade Improvement Prize, established by the school to recognize the student who has shown the most overall growth as a scholar and as a school citizen.

The William H. Davis, Jr. Science and Mathematics Award was established in the memory of William Davis. It is considered the school’s highest honor in the complimentary disciplines of mathematics and science. This year’s award was presented to Lucy Newmyer.

The Amory L. Haskell Cup honors the winning Walter H. Butler Field Day captains. Pelican Captains, Dhru Patel and Ava Tarone were called to receive the Amory Haskell Cup.

Taylor Handley received the Alumni Award. The Alumni Award, established by the alumni committee in 1989, recognizes the graduate who has consistently demonstrated consideration for his or her fellow students, the faculty and the school.

The Robert W. Bayless Scholar/Athlete Award was established by the Bayless family in memory of Robert Bayless, Director of Athletics and Chairman of the English Department from 1958 until his death in 1973. The award recognizes an outstanding student on the Upper Campus for a combination of Honor Roll academics and athletic endeavors. Annabelle Savage was the recipients of the Scholar/Athlete Award this year.

The Fletcher Hunt Memorial Cup was presented to the school in Fletcher Hunt’s memory by Colonel and Mrs. Robert F. Hunt,  Jr.  It was the wish of the Colonel and Mrs. Hunt that, for the first year, the cup be awarded to the student in the 6th Grade who attained the highest scholastic average, and that, each subsequent year, it be awarded one grade higher. It would accompany Fletcher’s class through the school, culminating in its presentation to a senior in June 1967. After that date, it returned to the 6th Grade as a permanent award. Maxine Wexler received the Fletcher Hunt Memorial Cup for 2019.

The 1958 Cup was established by the Class of 1958 to be awarded to the Upper Campus student who has set an outstanding example for his or her classmates. This award embodies such qualities as responsibility and willingness to serve, concern for others, personal integrity, and excellence in citizenship, scholarship and sportsmanship. Jonathan Schram was presented the 1958 Cup.

The Faculty Cup was donated anonymously by a parent who wished to provide a high academic goal for the school’s superior students. It is awarded each year to the Upper School student with the highest academic average for the year, provided the average is 90 or above. Bertie Azqueta earned the Faculty Cup this year.

The Holder Cup was given to the school by Mrs. Holder to perpetuate the memory of Dan Holder and to serve as a source of inspiration to boys and girls on the Upper Campus. Dan Holder was a member of the faculty from 1949 until his sudden death in 1952. The Cup is awarded “for the student who, through his integrity, school spirit, scholastic endeavor and good sportsmanship, has contributed most to the life of the school.” The Holder Cup is considered to be Palm Beach Day Academy’s highest award. Lucy Newmyer is this year’s recipient.

Long-time faculty members Lauren Rearic and Danielle Aronson honored our “Lifers” – those students who have been with Palm Beach Day Academy from pre-school.

Eighth Graders Tatiana Georgas and Jonathan Schram offered reflections on their time at PBDA and the many adventures that they and their classmates have enjoyed together over many years.

Sarah Kemeness honored Tracy Kramm with the 14th annual presentation of the Adele Shook Merck Excellence in Teaching Award. Jennifer Andreon had been honored as the Adele Shook Merck Excellence in Teaching Award for the Lower Campus a day earlier at the Bridge Ceremony.

Sarah then asked faculty members Jan Marie Cook, Shana Dutkewych, Melissa George and Karie Petrovics to stand and be recognized for 10 years of service to PBDA. Jim Gramentine was asked to stand for 30 years of service, and Barbara Close and Wendie Crawford were recognized for 40 years of service to Palm Beach Day Academy.

Board of Trustees Secretary, Stephanie Carden ‘79, and Interim Head of School, Billy Peebles, presented diplomas to the 8th Graders – The Class of 2020. Following, the faculty presented each 9th Grader for graduation individually before Sarah Kemeness offered the closing remarks that led to the recessional of faculty and graduates.

Faculty, family, alumni and friends joined in saluting the winners of the commencement awards and in honoring our 8th and 9th Graders. These fine students are the ones who uphold our school’s traditions of excellence. Congratulations to each of you – we are so proud of your accomplishments and can’t wait to see each of you change the world!