In their traditional white dresses and navy blazers, The Peck School's Eighth Grade Class of 2018 accepted their diplomas with handshakes and congratulations from the Head of School and President of the Board of Trustees. Forty-one 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.
Head of School Andrew C. Delinsky addressed the graduates, noting that, “Parents and teachers can look at this group of 41 young people and marvel about how much they have grown -- socially, emotionally, and academically. We have a group of good, caring, and compassionate young people who are poised to make a positive and lasting difference beyond Peck.”
Alumnus Humza Bari of Towaco (Peck ‘14, Morristown-Beard ‘18) addressed the Class of 2018 as the Alumni Speaker, furthering a longstanding tradition of inviting a Peck alum back to campus to reflect on his or her own journey in secondary school.
Humza shared lessons learned from his time at Peck and the impact those lessons have had on his high school career, choice of profession, and college major. He summed up with a reflection on The Peck School’s powerful character education program. “The six values that Peck focuses on: Respect, Loyalty, Perseverance, Empathy, Responsibility, and Honesty have been huge parts of my life since the day I began my Peck career. Whether it is persevering through demanding school material, demonstrating academic honesty, or being loyal to yourself and others, the values you have learned will take you a long way in life,” he explained. View the speech on YouTube
Eighth-grader Abby MacVicar ‘18 of Hillsborough was chosen to speak on behalf of the Class of 2018, reading an essay that she wrote as a reflection of her time at Peck. Abby used the solar system and infinite expanse of space as a metaphor to explain why her classmates’ potential is limitless.
She spoke of milestones in space exploration and the boundaries and obstacles that have repeatedly been overcome by the adventurous. She concluded by advising her classmates, “We need to see the possibilities in front of us. Do anything that we put our minds to and be proud of it, because everyone here is so proud of us. And to all the young astronauts out there dreaming of flying, cherish Peck’s happy and friendly atmosphere before blasting off, and remember that anything is possible, even space travel! And we need to always remember that the sky is not the limit. It’s only the beginning.” Abby will be attending Hillsborough High School in the Fall. View the speech on YouTube
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. Bella Vieser of Bernardsville was the recipient. Bella 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 Bella Vieser and Sophie Wilkinson of Randolph. Sophie will attend Oak Knoll School in the fall.
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 Aitalia Sharpe of Orange and Maria Vieira of Newark. Aitalia is heading to Blair, and Maria will attend Deerfield Academy.
Maria Vieira was also 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.
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 also presented to two students: Bruce Dubel of Brookside and Sanjana Shah of Montville. Bruce matriculates to Choate Rosemary Hall and Sanjana to Kent Place.
The Foreign Language Prizes honor student effort, interest, enthusiasm, and academic performance in the study of languages. Janet Pearce of New Vernon was awarded for Latin. Janet will attend Oak Knoll. Sanjana Shah was awarded for Spanish, and Abby MacVicar for French.
Abby MacVicar was also the recipient 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.
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 by all. This year’s award was presented to two students: Chris Keating of Short Hills and Jack Pryma of Summit. They will head to Newark Academy and Delbarton respectively.
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. Will Calder of Franklin Lakes and Caroline Keating of Short Hills were the co-recipients. Will matriculates to Delbarton and Caroline will attend Mount Saint Mary in the fall.
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 core values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Loyalty, Perseverance, and Empathy in his or her daily life. The award winner, selected by 7th and 8th grade students, was Maria Vieira.
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 Marc Bliemel of Chatham and Anna Riley of Morristown. The students are both matriculating to Pingry in the fall.
The Lyndsley E. Wilkerson Award was created in 2014 to be given as merited, not annually. 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. Emma Simon of Morristown was the recipient. She will attend Newark Academy in the fall.
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 all the other attributes that make for successful academic, athletic and personal relationships. Two students shared the award this year: Sophie Wilkinson
and Leah Paul
of Irvington. Leah heads to Kent Place for High School.
The highest scholarship award, with a grade point average of 96.7 resulted in a statistical tie, and the Harriet Stratemeyer Adams Award was presented to both Janet Pearce
and Bella Vieser
Several students were also recognized for academic high scholarship for the 2017-2018 year. They are: Alec Brown of Morristown, Christian Carbeau of Morristown, Bruce Dubel of Brookside, Graham Hynes of Summit, Preston Lee of Morristown, Kate Lowry of Madison, Chase Melchionni of Bernardsville, Leah Paul of Irvington, Janet Pearce of New Vernon, Helen Pertsemlidis of Morristown, Cody Schiffman of Bernardsville, Sanjana Shah of Montville, Aitalia Sharpe of Orange, Emma Simon of Morristown, Maria Vieira of Newark, Bella Vieser of Bernardsville, JJ Whitehurst of Boonton, Sophie Wilkinson of Randolph, and Megan Wu of Basking Ridge.
Following the student awards and recognitions, the Walker D. Kirby Faculty Award was presented to Tim Loveday, Science Teacher. 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 2018 vote to determine the award winner.
Mr. Loveday delivered an inspiring and thoughtful address to the Class of 2018:
“When I think about education, about the role of a teacher and a student, I find myself coming back to a poem by Lew Welch. In it, he says this: ‘Like everything else I have, somebody showed it to me and I found it by myself’. Somebody showed it to me and I found it myself…seemingly paradoxical, but absolutely accurate. I think that most of the faculty will agree with me when I say that our jobs are like an elaborate game of show and tell. We try to expose our students to new things, new ways of thinking, and we tell you why these new books, new ideas, new experiments are worth considering.
As educators, that is all that we can aspire to do. And now that we’ve introduced you to poetry, to the scientific method, to foreign languages…it is up to you to continue the exploration with seriousness of purpose. You are such talented young men and women. We invite you to take what we’ve shown you and find these same things by yourselves, to approach your passions confidently and discover these worlds more fully on your own terms, inhabit them, and add to them in ways that only you can.” View the speech on YouTube
Diplomas were then conferred by Head of School Andrew C. Delinsky and Board of Trustees President Edward James Foley IV.
The Peck School congratulates the Class of 2018.