Hats off to the Class of 2013!
Community School graduates 31 seniors
By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
Head of School David Holmes gives a warm greeting to Community School graduating senior Emmet Fortuin, right, during Sunday’s commencement ceremony in Sun Valley.
Express photos by Willy Cook
If you like hats in every shape, size and color of the rainbow, you loved Sunday’s 37th commencement of The Community School on a beautiful afternoon in Sun Valley.
The 31 graduates didn’t wear the traditional cap and gown. That’s not a tradition of the independent school. Instead, the seniors started their own tradition during the ceremony’s centerpiece—the Senior Reflections—when Mason Noyes donned a cowboy hat and passed the idea along.
What came next were graduates speaking their pieces and expressing their thanks in red hats, backward baseball caps, Mickey Mouse hats, straw hats, smelly ones, hats exploding with color, Cat in the Hats, even one senior wearing no hat, which seemed unique in itself. One senior arrived at the podium and said he couldn’t believe he was wearing the hat he was wearing.
Of course they all threw the strikingly different hats in the air upon receiving their diplomas.
Head of School David Holmes, when the one-and-a-half minute Senior Reflections were all done, said with a smile, “There are 31 stories here and we just heard them. They are happy, healthy kids, an outdoorsy group, bringing a sense of optimism and a can-do attitude with them.”
The commencement speaker, Judge Anthony Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals, met with the seniors Saturday and came away impressed. He said, “They are well balanced in every facet—eager, engaging and mature. And balance is something that’s difficult to maintain in life.”
Judge Scirica and his wife Susan first visited Sun Valley in the summer of 1973 and in the 40 years since have called the Idaho resort a second home. His speech was brief, respectful and concise. He explained that, to him, the rule of law means many things, above all, a system of justice that rewards good values and personal responsibility, and has a strong sense of right and wrong.
Quoting Judge Learned Hand, Scirica concluded by saying, “The only success is to be a success as a person, and it is never too late for that.”
Senior speakers during the one-hour and 40-minute ceremony were Taylor Figge and Ben Kanellitsas.
Figge said about her class, “We are a family, dysfunctional at times, but a family nonetheless with some very unique characters." In his speech, Kanellitsas said, “Our class cherishes the moment and lives in the present. We learn from our mistakes—and haven’t let our mistakes define who we are. We’ve drained every last drop from this establishment.”
One graduate who drained every last drop from his Senior Reflections was Zou Minghao. He received a standing ovation from his class for breaking out in several stanzas of song at the podium.
Paige Riedinger announced the 2013 Yearbook Dedication to U.S. history teacher Gary Brendel.
As its senior gifts, the Class of 2013 represented by Sofi Leroux and Emmet Fortuin presented the school with an update of the Cutthroat school mural, improvements to the Upper School bathrooms and additions to the school’s solar panel project.
Among the Senior Reflections spoken by the graduates:
- Cole Caulkins about his class: “One thing that stands out is our passion and enthusiasm for doing things we love.”
- Timo Gould: “My little brother has been an inspiration. I’m glad he’s learned so much from me.”
- Logan Shipley further explaining sibling love, addressing his younger brother: “I may hit you if you do stupid things, but I wouldn’t hit you if you didn’t do stupid things.”
- Ken Cheng about the school outdoor projects: “School is not only about study, it is about fun. I could never have imagined I slept on the ground and didn’t take a shower for six or seven days.”
- Gunnar Ohlson: “My time here has been opportunity-filled, exciting and too short.”
- Maddie Caraluzzi: “Thanks to my parents—I’m a handful, I know that. To my class, I love you weirdos…a lot. You make me want to stay in high school forever.”
Cutthroat award recipients
Once again, all awards and scholarship winners were revealed during Friday’s awards program.
Taylor Figge received The Beaupre Award, the school's oldest honor. It goes to seniors with high standards of scholarship, leadership, citizenship and athletic achievement.
Ben Kanellitsas accepted the Head of School Award.
Earning Senior Project honors were Cole Caulkins, Laurel Fiddler, Sofi Leroux, Zach Lindahl, Shayna Moellenberg and Gunnar Ohlson. The Bill Benjamin Memorial Scholarship for Senior Project Proposals was given to Zach Lindahl.
The 22nd Tom Johnson Memorial Award for excellence in performing arts went to Emmet Fortuin. Gunnar Ohlson accepted the Laura S. Flood Memorial Award. And Sofia DeWolfe collected the 23rd Dixie Grabos Memorial Award for the appreciation of literature/writing.
Ellie Swanson accepted the second Murphy-Carson Family Award. Maranda Stopol won the Trophy Sagebrush Award for imagination. Mason Noyes and Kingzer Zou received the Klingelhofer Senior Speech award. It is given for the best senior speeches of the year.
Paige Riedinger and Hannah Robideaux were graduating winners of the Peggy and Sigi Engl Memorial Achievement Awards. The awards go to students at each grade level who improve through hard work and determination.
Other recipients of the Engl prize at Friday's assembly:
Junior class, Kelsey Syms and Sarah Williams. Sophomore class, Hannah Cobb and George Everitt. Freshman class, Samantha Bunting and Will Snyder. Eighth grade, Ellie Polk and Cade Street. Seventh grade, Hayden Baker and Charlie Stumph. Sixth grade, Giselle Harmon and Jack Wojcik.
Memorial scholarships were a big part of school awards.
- Carrie Bashaw Hislaire Memorial Scholarship—Flynn Stewart.
- Karen Wright Cardozo Memorial Scholarship—Jaren Bothwell.
- Greg Allison Memorial Scholarship—Max Tanous.
- David M. Dorward Memorial—Allison Fluetsch.
- Tom Bloomfield Memorial Scholarship—Annika Landis and Jack Swanson.
- Philip B. Detwiler Memorial Scholarship—Will Harder.
- Fredrick Chandler Memorial Scholarship—Arielle Rawlings.
- Elementary School Rocky Bates Memorial Scholarship—Emily Boettger.
- Nick Crosby Athlete of the Year Award—Zach Lindahl.
Book awards, special school and local grants included:
Winners of Sun Valley Center for the Arts grants were Emmet Fortuin, Whitney Engelmann and Jamie Wygle. Zach Lindahl accepted the Works of Grace Foundation scholarship for children of educators.
Book awards went to Erin Hennessy (Smith College), Arielle Rawlings (Williams College), Sara Runkel (Whitman College), Katie Feldman (College of Idaho) and Taylor Adler (College of the Atlantic). The Rensselaer Merit Award was presented to Hannah Dies. Isabella Heekin earned The Iconoclast Award. And Whitney Engelmann accepted the Anne Reed Gallery Award.
Given for the 30th year, faculty scholarships were awarded to Gretel Huss, John Weekes, Lane Letourneau and Hayley Murach.
Winners of Middle School Community Awards were Dehner Figge (eighth grade), Henry Raff (seventh grade) and Arianna Carlson (sixth grade).
Earning Bob Doyle Service Leader Awards were Oliver Guy and Erin Hennessy. The Irving Student Achievement Awards went to Ridley Lindstrom, Brygitte De La Cruz and Tara Burchmore.
Merit Awards for Platinum (5 or more courses) went to Brygitte De La Cruz, Hannah Dies, Katie Feldman, Sydney Hagenbuch, Lane Letourneau, Olivia Ott, Katie Peters and Arielle Rawlings.
Gold Merit Awards (3 or 4 courses) were presented to Isabella Bourret, Aryana Chutkan, Hannah Conn, Sofia DeWolfe, Dehner Figge, Taylor Figge, Trenor Gould, Cutter Grathwohl, Joe Hall, Savannah Inman, Annika Landis, Eliza Marks, Ella Marks, Hope Perkins, Wayne Poulsen, Kristina Poydenis, Garrett Rawlings, Sara Runkel, Devon Sherrerd, Alex Stuessi, Jack Swanson, Keegan Webber and Kai Younger.
Other community service awards for the Upper and Middle schools were:
- Platinum (100-plus service hours): Taylor Adler, Jolie Blair, Gavin Blair, Tara Burchmore, Emi Carr, Joyce Chan, Hannah Conn, Taylor Figge, Jordan Fitzgerald, Alexandra Harten, Erin Hennessy, Nick Krekow, Shayna Moellenberg, Olivia Ott, Arielle Rawlings, Devon Sherrerd and Ben Swift.
- Gold (50-99 hours): Brooke Allen, Blair Baker, Whitney Engelmann, Katie Feldman, Oliver Guy, Ella Marks, Nate Nasvik, Garrett Rawlings, Hannah Robideaux, Sara Runkel, Maranda Stopol, Ellie Swanson, Jack Swanson, Kelsey Syms, Keegan Webber and Sarah Williams.
- Silver (35-49 hours): Isabelle Caraluzzi, Sofia DeWolfe, Autumn Fluetsch, Peter Huo, Isabel Kirk, Ethan Kjesbo, Lane Letourneau, Evan Marks, Logan Shipley, Emily Siegel, Emma Stuessi and Keegan Whitelaw.
- Bronze (25-34 hours): Isabella Bourret, Griffin Curtis, Kristian DeWolfe, Jay Fitzgerald, Elena Guylay, Annika Landis, Katie Peters, Wayne Poulsen, Paige Riedinger, Sam Rogers, Claire Siderman, Caitlin Sholtis and Alex Stuessi.