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The Class of 2019 Celebrates Commencement

On June 7, in their traditional formal attire, The Peck School’s Class of 2019 accepted their diplomas from Head of School Andy Delinsky and President of the Board of Trustees Edward James Foley IV ‘85. Forty-four eighth-grade students from towns across several northern New Jersey counties participated in the commencement as they formally graduated from Morristown’s historic K-8 independent school.
Delinsky initiated the proceedings, noting that, “While today marks the end of our graduates’ Peck journeys, it also signifies new beginnings—beginnings filled with excitement, anticipation, and even some trepidation as they prepare for the new challenges and adventures that await them beyond our campus. The good news is that we know that they are ready for those challenges and adventures, equipped with the important lessons, core values, and life skills they have acquired during their time at The Peck School.”

Alumna Caroline Ramsey ‘15, of Summit, NJ, (Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child ‘19) addressed the Class of 2019 as the Alumni Speaker, furthering a longstanding tradition of inviting a Peck graduate back to campus to reflect on his or her own journey in secondary school.

Ramsey shared lessons learned from her time at Peck and the impact those lessons had on her high school career. She summed up with a reflection on the value of taking time to explore new experiences and to embrace the unknown. “It’s scary and daunting leaving Peck for a new place, at least it was for me, but throughout high school, I have learned how to find excitement in the unknown instead of dwelling on the uncertainties,” advised Ramsey. “Your roots here at Peck have given you the strongest foundation... to explore all the possibilities life has to offer. Find confidence in yourself to try new things and reach outside of your comfort zones, because Peck has made you more than ready to do so.”

Graduate Alexandra Ouzounian ‘19 of Short Hills gave the Graduate Address, reading an essay reflective of her time at Peck. Ouzounian alluded to the ongoing construction taking place throughout the last few years at Peck and used the campus renovations as a metaphor for personal growth. “It’s hard work to build a building. It takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment. Every student here at Peck is also ‘under construction’ during his or her time here. Throughout our personal construction phase, we have each been individually molded and ‘designed’ by the challenges we’ve faced,” she noted. Ouzounian and her classmates have watched the rise of the new Peck Commons building and other campus renovations funded by The Peck Promise: The Campaign for Excellence Elevated, all slated for completion in August. Ouzounian will be attending The Pingry School in the Fall.

Academic honors and special awards were announced. They are:

The John L. Hopkins Memorial Award, named in honor of a former Peck parent, which is presented annually to a member of the eighth-grade class for outstanding performance in English composition. James Thomas was the recipient. He will attend Pingry in the fall.

The Caspersen Family Mathematics Award, in recognition of effort, intuition, and creative talents in exploring mathematical concepts and in understanding analytical procedures. Co-recipients of this award were Kay Lyon and Pierce Malloy. Lyon will be attending The Kent Place School and Malloy will join Newark Academy.

The History Prize, which recognizes an eighth-grade student whose scholarly achievement in history is matched by a genuine enthusiasm for understanding the human experience, was presented to Isabella DiPasquale and Marshall Herman. Both will attend The Peddie School.

The Malcolm E. McAlpin Science Award is presented to an eighth-grade student who displays a high level of curiosity, scientific reasoning, and a commitment to excellence in science. This year the award was presented to Jordan Cheung. She will join the Union County Magnet High School.

The Foreign Language Prizes honor student effort, interest, enthusiasm, and academic performance in the study of languages. Pierce Malloy was awarded the prize for Latin, Kate Siedem for Spanish, and Jordan Cheung for French. Siedem will attend Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child.

The Peck School Technology Award recognizes the student in the eighth grade who demonstrates talent, innovation, and creativity with technology, and who promotes and supports the respectful use of technology. This year’s award was presented to Kay Lyon.

Charley Bush was the recipient of the Eighth Grade Art Prize, which is awarded annually to a student who possesses outstanding artistic talent and a genuine love of art. She will join The Pingry School.

Jordan Cheung and Franklin Mau were co-recipients of The Alys H. Olney Music Award, which is given to a student who demonstrates a dedicated interest in music classes and programs, as well as a genuine love of performance. Mau will be attending The Pingry School.

The Norman R. Lemcke, Jr. Memorial Drama Award is presented to an eighth-grade student whose talent, commitment and sense of creativity have resulted in outstanding accomplishments in the area of the dramatic arts. Addysen Downey and Marshall Herman were the co-recipients. Downey matriculates to The Kent Place School.

The Lyndsley E. Wilkerson Award was created in 2014 to be given as merited, not annually at the school. This award is given to the graduating student who has enthusiastically built a foundation for future success, who has demonstrated genuine curiosity about the world, and who has led by example. Gabby Possible received the award. She will join the Emma Willard School.

The Rudolph H. Deetjen Jr. InDeCoRe Award, named for a beloved former Head of School, is presented to the graduating student who best demonstrates “consideration of others” and the school’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Loyalty, Perseverance, and Empathy in his or her daily life. The award winner, selected by students in Grades 7 and 8, was Elsa Spoor. She will attend Union Catholic Regional High School.

The F. C. Reynolds Sportsmanship Award is presented to the students who best demonstrate an outstanding sense of leadership, fair play, and good sportsmanship. This year’s recipients were Pierce Malloy, Julia Ramsey, and Kate Siedem. Ramsey will be attending Oak Knoll.

The final student award, The Peck Loyalty Prize, is given in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Lorraine T. Peck, leaders of The Peck School for 27 years. This prize is presented to that student in the graduating class who, in the estimation of the faculty, best exemplifies “consideration of others” and consistently demonstrates the qualities of leadership, loyalty to the school, and other attributes that make for successful academic, athletic and personal relationships. Three students shared the award this year: Hudson Honeker, Kay Lyon, and James Thomas. Honeker will join Delbarton School.

In addition to the awards, 10 students were recognized for high scholarship, which acknowledges those graduates who have earned an overall grade point average of 93 or better for the year, including final exams. These students were Jordan Cheung, Isabella DiPasquale, Addysen Downey, Kay Lyon, Pierce Malloy, Franklin Mau, Trip Pendy, Kate Siedem, James Thomas, and Jack Wells. Both Pendy and Wells matriculate to Delbarton.

The Harriet Stratemeyer Adams Award for Highest Scholarship was established to acknowledge the student in the graduating class who has maintained the highest scholarship average for the year, including final exams. This year, with a grade point average of 97.5, the award was presented to
Kay Lyon.

Following the student awards and recognitions, The Walker D. Kirby Faculty Award was presented to Latin Teacher David Marshall, an experienced educator finishing his first year at Peck. The award honors a member of the faculty whose dedication to the school, its students, and its mission is an exemplary inspiration to the graduates and to the entire Peck community. Members of the Class of 2019 vote to determine the award winner.

Mr. Marshall delivered an inspiring and thoughtful address to the graduating class. Referring to his childhood growing up in a low-income family and the resulting insecurities he overcame with time, Marshall remarked that teaching in an independent school can sometimes give him bouts of “imposter syndrome.” However, he noted his gratefulness for the warmth and acceptance he experienced from Peck students. He reminded the graduates to never forget the value of their Peck education.

“Peck has done all of you a monumental favor and has given you a huge head start. And here’s how: it’s created an environment where each of you has felt safe to be exactly who you are,” Marshall explained. “Take this gift that Peck has given you, pay it forward, and use it as your compass to guide your way in the years to come.”

Diplomas were then conferred by Head of School Andrew C. Delinsky and Board of Trustees President Edward James Foley IV ‘85.

The Peck School congratulates the Class of 2019.
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