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Class of 2017 Commencement: Congratulations, Graduates!

The Brookwood community extends hearty congratulations to the 51 students who received their diplomas at Brookwood’s 54th Commencement ceremony held on Tuesday, June 13.  

Head of School Laura Caron welcomed the graduates and their guests and introduced Sam Byrne, parent of graduate Hayden and past President of the Board, who delivered the Invocation.


Caron, in her second Commencement address as Brookwood’s Head of School, then addressed attendees, acknowledging the many accomplishments of the Class of 2017. She noted that among the group’s remarkable traits, "you are a class who is adaptable. Being adaptable is far more than a convenience: it is in the bones of survival in our rapidly changing world. It’s the foundation of a growth mindset and a corner stone of collaboration. It is also a key to resilient, lasting friendships and to the ability to connect with those who are different from you. As a class, you have demonstrated adaptability at nearly every turn this year. During play rehearsals, scenes changed repeatedly as you neared production week, yet you quickly incorporated the evolving directions and were committed to getting it right.

Daniel P. Wise Distinguished Alumni/ae Service Award
The ceremony then honored Brookwood alumnus from the Class of 1988 Rufus Gifford, the recipient of the 2017 Daniel P. Wise Distinguished Alumni/ae Service Award. 
Ambassador Gifford served as the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark from 2013-2017. His mission was to transform a historically strong relationship to meet the challenges of the future by engaging Danes – especially younger Danes – on issues that matter: enhancing trade and economic opportunity, while combating climate change, making the world safer for all through security cooperation, and partnering with Denmark and Greenland in the Arctic region. His professional work also includes serving as a Senior Staff Member and Finance Director of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as Finance Director of the Democratic National Committee in 2009, and as Deputy Finance Director for the West States for John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign.

Honored by the award but unable to attend Commencement, Ambassador Gifford wrote a letter to the graduates, sharing his well wishes: "Brookwood taught me the value of hard work, of thinking and listening, of fair play and friendship. I remember with great fondness the days on the sports fields, the debates in the classrooms, and performing on stage - all of which played such an enormously important role in my adult success in life."

As diplomas were awarded by Laura Caron, Trustee Stratton Lloyd, and Assistant Head of School Barb Liston, a short tribute was read about each graduate.

The Benediction was then delivered by Assistant Head Barb Liston, who is leaving Brookwood after 38 years with the school. Liston shared her advice to
that it is "OK to be vulnerable, to be fragile, to be sad or hurt – and you will;  you should just feel all those feelings when they happen. But be as resilient as you have been at Brookwood, and eventually you will find the good that will come from difficult and challenging times."

2017 Commencement Awards
A number of Brookwood graduates were honored at The Salute, an annual event held the day before Commencement to honor academic, community and athletic achievement among graduating students. The honorees included:

The Brookwood Cup, named in memory of Donald Frederick Cutler, “is awarded annually to that boy or girl in the eighth grade who, through effort and character, athletics and scholarship, during the year, has best caught and expressed the ideals and spirit of Brookwood.” The 2017 Brookwood Cup was awarded to Maria "Bimba" Carpenter.

The highest-ranking eighth grade scholar is honored each year with the Trustee Cup. The 2017 Trustee Cup was awarded to Carly Pearlson. 

The Eckles Cup,  “named in memory of Charles Joseph Eckles and is presented to the boy to girl in the eighth grade who, at Brookwood, has made the best use of his or her talents,” was awarded to Caroline du Four.

James McKenna was presented with the Courtesy Cup, which “is awarded to the student in the Upper School who, at Brookwood, is outstanding in manners, thoughtfulness and kindness to others.”

The A. Marshall Lawton Cup is named for Buck Lawton who served as Brookwood’s headmaster from 1980-1992. This year, the Lawton Cup was awarded to two graduates, Wells Goltra and Angie Wright. The award honors “the eighth grader who, in unassuming and understated fashion, has positively influenced the entire Brookwood community.”

Two students also received the Truth A. Nickerson Art Prize, which is “awarded to the boy or girl who has shown outstanding creative effort in studio art through such media as painting, ceramics and photography.” The Nickerson Art Prize was awarded to Maria "Bimba" Carpenter and Cameron Robie.

Two students, Tahg Healey and Ali Fleming, received the Dr. and Mrs. W. J. Peterman Performing Arts Cup. This honor is “given annually to the eighth grade boy and girl who have shown extraordinary dedication to the development of a craft within the performing arts and who have consistently enriched the community through performance and the sharing of his and her talents.”

Angie Wright and Sam Rice were the winners of the Carrie Minot Cup, given in memory of Helen R. Minot. The award recognizes “the eighth grade athlete(s) who best combines sportsmanship and desire with ability.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017, and best wishes for success and happiness in secondary school and beyond.