Pomp and circumstance marked the celebration of the 111th Commencement as the 77 members of the Class of 2023 dressed in white caps and gowns walked through the main campus courtyard to receive their diplomas.
With faculty and staff, family, and friends in the audience, the soon-to-be-graduates were honored for their hard work and journey throughout their time under the pines. Head of School Bob Izzo presided over the ceremony as he welcomed Senior Student Government President Christopher Reiter to the stage for the welcome address.
“We have been blessed with an education that allows us to navigate the world beyond the classroom and become lifelong learners,” said Chris who will be attending Grinnell College in the fall. “As we move forward, do not forget the community, and look back on the positive experiences we have shared. Let us celebrate who we have become and may your journey be happy.”
Salutatorian Kamini Purushothaman, who will be attending Yale University in the fall, reflected on how the Hamden Hall community demonstrates unwavering encouragement and asked her classmates to move forth in the world with the same outlook.
“Look around - you’re surrounded by people who have given you something meaningful during your time here, whether that be advice or support. As we go forward, we too, must consider how best to devote ourselves to the communities we’ll soon become part of. It’s a monumental task but one Hamden Hall has prepared us well for.”
Senior Class Representative Josie Cancro took to the podium to honor junior Mason Rickey, retiring faculty member Richard Chiaramonte, and Nurse Theresa Valin as part of the Senior Class gift presentations.
Valedictorian Charles “Charlie” Wortman, who will be attending Brown University in the fall, noted how Hamden Hall has prepared everyone for any challenge that lies ahead.
“We have all been privileged to attend Hamden Hall, to interact with the incredible teachers who have taught us the concrete knowledge for future academic success and encouraged us to be critical thinkers. We must be tenacious in the face of adversity and pursue excellence in all that we do. We are fortunate that our teachers held us accountable as students and citizens and helped prepare us for the next step. Whether it be college or some other chapter of our lives that we are about to commence on, I am confident that we are superbly prepared for whatever comes.”
The 2023 Commencement Speaker was United States Senator Christ Murphy. Director of Middle School Brian Christman introduced Senator Murphy as the two were classmates at Williams College where both obtained their undergraduate degrees.
Senator Murphy noted what an incredible honor it was to be invited to speak to the seniors and what an accomplishment graduation is. Woven throughout his speech was the importance of kindness and to not forget how one small act of kindness can create a ripple effect.
“All I want you to know is that your decision, as you set your adult path, to be an aggressively kind person, will likely have an impact bigger than any career choice you make, any machine you invent, any award you receive. Don’t undervalue kindness. Don’t become so obsessed with your own personal journey, with fulfilling whatever goals you’ve set for yourself, that you forget that the biggest impact you can make is to do small, normal, kind things for each other, friends and strangers,” he said.
His final remark to the seniors was to step out of their comfort zone and never be afraid to ask for help.
“Class of 2023: you will spend the next four years figuring out who you want to be, what motivates you, and what you believe in. It will be fun and exciting,” said Senator Murphy. “You should take every opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and meet new people. It will also be challenging. You’ll face unfamiliar obstacles. You’ll be challenged more than ever before. But that’s when you’ll do your best growing. And if things get tough or stressful, I hope you will resist the urge to turn inward. I hope you won’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Mr. Izzo took a moment to honor the four faculty members who are retiring, Helen Barnstable,Richard Chiaramonte, Sue Gonnelly, and Margarita Kuhn-D'Elia . He thanked them for their years of service and dedication to student success.
In the fall, the members of the Class of 2023 are heading to the finest and most competitive academic institutions where they will be pursuing their academic and athletic dreams. Senior Francis Gustafson was the only Lifer and dozens of student-athletes will be competing in collegiate athletics across all divisions.
“You received a world-class education from world class faculty,” said Mr. Izzo. “You have been challenged academically by teachers and have the foundation necessary to succeed in all areas. Congratulations to the Class of 2023; you will always be part of the Hamden Hall family.”