Despite threatening skies, the 105th Commencement took on a sunny tone of optimism and hope for the graduates of the Class of 2017 in the Hoffman Field House. Several speakers offered inspirational words as the students move on to the next chapter in their lives.
Ted Levine urged the graduates "to imagine a better world and the wisdom to get there." He suggested that college gives one the opportunity to explore life's complexities and ambiguities. Through the journey ahead, Levine noted that the students will find the wisdom to do what one should do, not only what one can do.
School librarian, Nancy Solomon, was selected as the keynote speaker by the senior class due to her generous spirit and kindness to the class. Solomon shared her story, including an inauspicious beginning to her marriage that was marked with two fires (one on their honeymoon hotel, one in their first apartment) within six months of her wedding. She learned to appreciate what she had through the ordeal and the significance of having a partner to shoulder the burden with. The second lesson Solomon shared with the graduates is the value of an education. Solomon impressed upon the students to "listen to the stories of the people who love them and take the best from them to guide you on your way."
Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, said that it was a genuine privilege to have partnered with the students and parents in their time at KO. He stated that the graduates are ready to take on different paths which at times, may not always be perfect. However, he added, the graduates possess the resiliency to forge ahead. "Never worry alone. Reach out, engage, connect. Be positive and be kind."
Over one half of the class (46 students) graduated with honors. Sasha Bash of West Hartford received the Dux Prize which is is awarded to the senior with the highest GPA for the year.
Seven members of KO's class of 2017 were honored by the National Merit® Scholarship Program in recognition of their outstanding academic potential. Carolyn McCusker was a National Merit® winner, and Alec Rossi advanced to finalist standing. In addition, Ryan Albanesi, Grace Amell, Tara Kilkenny, Noah Stanton and James Witt received letters of commendation. 13 members of the Class of '17 had parents or grandparents who also graduated from KO.
And, the Class of '17 includes 12 students who plan to play sports in college. In conclusion, forty year faculty member veteran, Rob Kyff, quoted slightly revised lyrics from Steven Sondheim's Our Time, which students recently performed at the Black Box Theater cabaret, "The moment you are waiting for is here...This is where you began, being everything you can."