Honor Parts, Commencement Plans Announced
George Stevens Academy will honor the Class of 2020 with an online class night on Saturday, June 13, at 7 p.m. and online commencement exercises on Sunday, June 14, at 1 p.m. The school also announced its senior class honor parts.
Class night will celebrate seniors with student speeches, musical performances, the announcement of scholarships, the presentation of department and all-school awards, and a senior slideshow. These will be video recorded for broadcast online.
Though commencement will not take place on the school’s front lawn as it usually does, it also will include several prerecorded traditional elements to honor the hard work of the senior class: a welcome from Head of School Tim Seeley; remarks from this year’s commencement speaker, Assistant Head of School Libby Rosemeier; speeches from all four of the school’s honor parts; the presentation of the class gift; remarks from each senior advisor; and the announcement of diplomas. Seniors will receive their diplomas individually in advance of the ceremony.
After the presentation of the Class of 2020 and the conclusion of the video, the GSA bell will be rung live once for each graduate. Seeley plans to ask for bells to be rung at churches and other town buildings across the peninsula. The approximate time at which they should do so will be announced in advance once the duration of the commencement video is known.
Seeley also will ask fire departments to sound their sirens and others to honk their car horns or otherwise make noise for a couple minutes at that same time to show that everyone “stands with the Class of 2020 even at this disrupted time,” he said.
“I know that these events, done online,” do not replace our traditional celebrations, Seeley said. “But I also hope that what we do on Class Night and Commencement honors in a meaningful way what our senior class and graduates have achieved at George Stevens Academy in this most unusual year.”
“I hope that at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will gather with our senior class and their families for a celebration together,” the head of school said.
GSA’s Class of 2020 honor parts also were announced recently.
The valedictorian is Syra Jackson Gutow, daughter of Tom and Amy Gutow of Castine.
Syra participated in outdoor and indoor track, the Civil Rights Team Project and programs at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. She was an after-school library assistant. She also studied and coached gymnastics and made blankets for Syrian refugees.
The valedictorian was a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and recipient of the Rensselaer Medal and the Williams College Book Award.
Syra will attend Hamilton College to major in women’s and gender studies and plans a career helping the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
The salutatorian is Erika Lynn Hipsky, daughter of Susan and David Hipsky of Blue Hill.
Erika participated in volleyball, tennis, band, jazz band, jazz combo and honors jazz combo. She also volunteered at the Tree of Life Food Pantry and TurnStyle Thrift Shop.
The salutatorian was named Outstanding Freshman Musician and was the recipient of the Smith College Book Award.
Erika will attend the University of Maine Honors College and plans to study science around the world.
The first honor essayist is Joseph Jack Ciampa, son of David and Carolyn Ciampa of Brooksville.
Joe was on the sailing team and math team. He also played badminton and ultimate frisbee.
The first honor essayist was the recipient of the Brandeis University Book Award.
Joe will study math at Boston College and plans to teach the subject at the college level.
The second honor essayist is Alexander Patrick Tully, son of Kelly Hawkes and Lincoln Tully of Isle au Haut.
Alex participated on the chess team.
The second honor essayist was the recipient of the College of the Atlantic Book Award and the American History Award.
Alex will study political science, public policy, English and history at Bowdoin College. He plans go to law school, become a presidential speech writer, write for The New Yorker, live in Paris for a while and “ambitiously enjoy life.”
Stay tuned, please, for more information about how to watch our Class Night and Commencement broadcasts, as well as exactly what time to stand with the Class of 2020 by making some noise!