Image by Carrie Bradburn/CAPEHART
On the morning of Friday, June 11, 2021, Palm Beach Day Academy‘s 8th and 9th Graders gathered for the final time as a group for their Commencement. In a near return to normal, this year’s Commencement was held in person in the Vicki and Peter Halmos Family Activities Center, and each student was able to bring up to four ticketed guests.
To kick-off the ceremony, Upper Campus faculty processed down the aisle to the stage to Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” a funny nod to the tough year that we have all endured, and survived! Following, ninth grader Marin C. led the graduates, audience, and attending faculty and staff in the Pledge of Allegiance before Mr. Fanning Hearon, Head of School, took the stage to give welcome remarks and his Commencement address which included an audience icebreaker where attendees were tasked with turning to their neighbors to discuss Following, the 9th Grade Class Gift was presented by fellow 9th grader Abraham R. For this year’s class gift, purchased with funds earned from the winter Cake Raffle, the students decided to donate a Work Hard. Be Kind. plaque to be placed in the soon-to-be-renovated Upper Campus cafeteria.
Next, Jen Howard, the English Department Chair on the Upper Campus, presented the Katie Tummon ‘03 Educational Autobiography Award to 8th grader Boa L. The award for 9th Grade Character Sketch was awarded to 9th grader Ansley M. The John L. Thompson Research Paper Award went to 9th grader Mattia P.
Following this, Nurse Carrie Pateman presented this year’s Alumni Award to 8th grader Allie K. Established in 1988, the award recognizes the graduate who has consistently demonstrated consideration for his or her fellow students, the faculty, and the school. The Alumni Award was renamed to the “Barbara Bayless Close Alumni Award” this year to honor Mrs. Close’s 42 years of dedication to the School.
The William H. Davis, Jr. Science and Mathematics Award was established in memory of William Davis. It is considered the school’s highest honor in the complementary disciplines of mathematics and science. This year’s award was presented by Dr. Erin Mitchell to 8th grader Mary A.
The Amory L. Haskell Cup, one of the most coveted awards of the year, honors the winning Walter H. Butler Field Day captains. This year, the Flamingos defeated the Pelicans with a final score of 285-226. The winning Flamingo Captains, 9th graders Marin C. and Jack J., received this year’s Amory Haskell Cup, presented by Paul Cicio.
7th grader Simon S. received this year’s Upper Campus 7th – 9th Grade GRIT Award, an improvement award established to recognize the student who has shown the most overall growth as a student and as a school citizen. The award was presented by Shana Dutkewych.
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. This year, Patti Griffin presented the Fletcher Hunt Memorial Cup for 2021 to 6th grader Bettina G.
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 Campus student with the highest academic average for the year, provided the average is 90 or above. Congratulations to this year’s recipient, 9th grader Roger R.
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(s) on the Upper Campus for a combination of Honor Roll academics and athletic endeavors. The recipients of the Scholar/Athlete Award this year was presented by Robert Bayless’ daughter, Barbara Close, to 8th graders Maxine W. and Christopher O.
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. 9th grader Roger R. was presented with the 1958 Cup by Fanning Hearon.
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. 9th grader Marin C. is this year’s recipient.
Paulette Danni, a retired faculty member, mother to two current faculty members, and grandmother to several current students, honored PBDA’s “Lifers” – those students who have been with Palm Beach Day Academy from Pre-Primary.
Following, eighth and ninth graders Annie S. and Garvy G. offered reflections on their time at PBDA and the many adventures that they and their classmates have enjoyed together over the years.
Sarah Kemeness honored faculty member Jonathan Paine with the 16th annual presentation of the Adele Shook Merck Excellence in Teaching Award. Allison Charnick had been honored as the Adele Shook Merck Excellence in Teaching Award for the Lower Campus earlier on the Lower Campus on the final day of school.
Finally, and at last, the 9th graders and 8th graders were presented with their diplomas. As is tradition with the 9th grade graduates, one chosen faculty member for each student took the stage to share with the audience their adoration and respect for that graduate.
Thank you to our faculty, families, alumni, and friends who joined us in saluting this year’s graduates, and have shown love and support for each of them along the way. Congratulations to each of you – we are so proud of your accomplishments and can’t wait to see each of you change the world!