Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

110th Commencement Celebrates the Largest Graduating Class

Loud applauses and cheers from family and friends marked the celebration of the 110th Commencement as the soon-to-be graduates dressed in white caps and gowns walked across the stage and received their diplomas.

In front of family and friends in a tent on the field behind the Beckerman Athletic Center, the Class of 2022 was honored for its hard work and dedication throughout students’ time under the pines. Head of School Bob Izzo presided over the ceremony as he welcomed Senior Class President Michael Ferneini to the stage for his introduction speech.

“Today we celebrate the first hellos, the late nights, the morning coffees, the dinners after sports practice, but most importantly for those who have paved the way for us to be here,” said Michael who will attend Duke University in the fall. “As the largest graduating class, we have made an impact on this community, and the strongest asset we have is collaboration. No doubt we have the best class, and I am honored to be part of the Class of 2022.”

Salutatorian Yanmi “Mia” Yu, who will be attending Rice University in the fall, reflected on her future after leaving Hamden Hall and asked her classmates to not be afraid of the future and appreciate each moment. 

“My days will soon be filled with tons of freedom, unknown, and challenges,” said Mia. “The end result of my life still seems unknown and unpredictable. If you feel the same, then I am here to tell you, you are not the only one. And I am also here to tell you, don’t be afraid; instead, think of every small step as an achievement. “

Honoring the memory and words of late faculty member Maria Agulian, Mia noted that Mrs. Agulian liked to say “the result doesn’t matter.”

“Take her words so that you will no longer be afraid of the uncertainly of the future, and you will not only focus on the result. Instead, enjoy the process,” said Mia.

Senior Class President Richard Russo took to the podium to honor junior Christopher Reiter, faculty member Richard Chiaramonte, and Public Security Officer Bob Simpson as part of the Senior Class gift presentations.

Valedictorian Lucy Xu, who will be attending Harvard University in the fall, reflected on the highs and lows of the last few years, but reminded classmates that each students’ path is theirs to find.

“When you graduate Hamden Hall, you may not remember the plot of Macbeth or how to take an integral, but I hope that you take away this: learn to appreciate being lost because that’s where you navigate life.”

Quoting Dr. Seuss, Lucy shared with her classmates that “today is your day, your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”

The 2022 Commencement Speaker was Hamden Hall alumnus William Carpenter from the Class of 2008. Will spent 12 years under the pines before entering the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned, with honors, a Bachelor of Science degree in American Legal Studies. He obtained his Master in Business Administration from Marylhurst University in 2018 and his Juris Doctor degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Washington and Lee School of Law. He now serves as a military justice advisor in the 3rd Infantry Division Office of the Staff Judge Advocate in Fort Stewart, Ga.

From reflecting on what he had wished he knew at Hamden Hall to telling a story of his first time as a military prosecutor, Will shared what he called the most valuable life lesson with the students: “be uncomfortable.”

“You will experience levels of discomfort in your life and through the discomfort, you will realize what you are meant to do. Get uncomfortable and that is how you learn how strong you are,” he advised.

Will encouraged students to remember their academic experience fondly and not forget about what they found both in the classroom and outside the classroom.

“Hamden Hall has prepared you for all life experiences. Take what you have learned and lead a life by the core values instilled in you. What you do next is up to you, but remember don’t be afraid of the next adventure. You’re ready,” Will maintained.

The 91 members of the Class of 2022 are headed to the finest and most competitive academic institutions in the fall. The class contains five Lifers, six children of Alumni, and three graduates are the children of Board of Trustee members.

Additionally, about 10 percent of the class will play college-level sports at their respective schools.

“You have the foundation necessary to succeed,” said Mr. Izzo. “You received a world class education by world class faculty. Congratulations to the Class of 2022, you will always be part of Hamden Hall.”

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Hamden Hall Country Day School

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Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.