On June 16th, under auspicious skies, parents, friends, faculty, and staff gathered one last time this year to partake in Buckley’s 94th Commencement Exercises and celebrate the achievements of the members of the Class of 2021.
Mrs. Maureen Miseo, the Assistant to the Head of School, opened this year’s ceremony with an invocation. She praised the Class of 2021 for not quitting in the face of great challenges this year and told them: “you have not just made it through; you have made it work. This is a day of victory. You won. You are overcomers.” Mrs. Miseo was introduced by graduate Lucas Burachio as a behind-the-scenes member of the community whose “prudence and wisdom have made Buckley an incredible place.”
Four faculty awards are presented at graduation each year:
On behalf of his classmates, Daniel DeVerna presented the Teacher of the Year Award, selected by the members of the graduating class, to Woodshop Teacher Mr. Roby Young, who has been a member of the Buckley faculty for 46 years. Daniel thanked Mr. Young for inspiring the graduates to carve and create unique plaques that will all be part of their legacy to their alma mater.
The Thomas J. Reid Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teaching, demonstrated by concern for each student, quality of instruction, and commitment to Buckley. The 2021 Thomas J. Reid Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Christina Gong.
The G. Robert Gage Award for Excellence in Teaching, named and given in memory of Mr. Bob Gage’s late father, is given annually to a faculty member in recognition of his/her excellence in teaching. This award is funded every year by the investment income earned on the endowment gift made by the Gage family. The 2021 recipient of The G. Robert Gage Award for Excellence in Teaching is 7th and 8th grade English Teacher Maria Newman.
A generous endowment gift from Linda and John Powers made possible the presentation of an additional faculty award at graduation. The Powers Family Teacher Recognition Award is given annually to a faculty member in recognition of his/her embodiment of the School’s character and spirit, care and nurturing qualities, and excellence in teaching. This year, the Powers Family Teacher Recognition Award was presented to Lower School Reading Specialist Alana Reidy.
Board Chair Chris Lee presented this year’s Trustees’ Bowl, the School’s most prized academic award, to the student who achieved the highest grade point average. The Trustees’ Bowl was presented to Sophia Hwang. The Scholarship Medal for the second highest academic average was awarded to Lauren Kyung, while Aveen Burney earned the Certificate of Merit for the third highest average.
Olivia Marrale and Alex Caraballo, Student Council Co-Presidents, presented the gift of the class of 2021 to Buckley Country Day School. The Class of 2021 chose to make two gifts to the school. They made a donation to purchase new athletic equipment and presented a gift to The Headmaster's Impact Fund. The Headmaster’s Impact Fund was started in 2017 to assist families with expenses above and beyond tuition. Olivia and Alex explained that, “the Impact Fund helps Buckley create a more inclusive environment for all families and will be appreciated by the students.”
7th and 8th grade U.S. History Teacher Mr. Michael Klaus was selected by the graduating class to be their faculty speaker. He was introduced by Maria Ruggiero. Maria expressed her gratitude to Mr. Klaus for encouraging his students to feel more comfortable expressing their opinions, for providing guidance and advice for class and for life, and for leading them in the right direction. Mr. Klaus, with wit, eloquence, and his iconic coffee mug, took the opportunity of this “challenging homework assignment” to offer a wealth of advice to the graduating class, from scientifically based recommendations (wearing sunscreen, as per Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, for instance) to guidance learned from experience, such as: “Look up. There's a beautiful world above the level of your eyes and an even more beautiful world above that. This is where life is; not looking down at your phones,”
Jack Davis ‘16 was this year’s alumni speaker. Jack, the oldest of three Davis children to graduate from Buckley, was introduced by his youngest brother William who shared that “many of the beliefs and values he carries with him today stem from what Jack has taught him and continues to teach him every day.”
Jack, a sophomore at Williams College, used his own experience in high school and college to illustrate and drive home his message to the graduating class: the need to actively work to make oneself uncomfortable and to lean into discomfort in order to grow. Jack emphasized how much easier (and comfortable) it is to distance ourselves from the challenges others may face, unfortunately thus depriving ourselves from important understanding that could lead to change. Jack concluded, with evident warmth and affection for his brother’s classmates, “I hope that you all lean into new experiences and don’t shy away from challenges.” He promised them that he would continue to do his best to grow alongside all of them.
The two student speakers selected by their peers were Olivia Marrale and Ryan Wu. Picking up on the theme they had chosen to open this school year, Olivia and Ryan presented “The Recognition Ceremony of the Buckley 2021 Class of Superheroes!” They spotlightled the superpowers in each of their classmates and vowed to “continue to use the determination we have built to live our lives to our best potentials and use our superpowers to make a positive impact on the world.” “We are moving on as a graduating class, but we will always have a place for Buckley, and each other, in our hearts,” they concluded.
Diplomas were then awarded to the members of the graduating class. Newly-elected Student Council Co-Presidents, Anna Byun ‘22 and Kyle Lee ‘22 displayed the wooden plaques carved by the graduates, as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. Simultaneously, eighth grade advisors read excerpts from comments written by the students’ teachers over the past twelve years and selected by the Headmaster.
It was with pride and joy that the entire community joined in cheering the Class of 2021 and wishing them well.
Joie Jean-Paul introduced this year’s musical offering: “As we all graduate and go on our separate paths, wherever that may be, we all know that we will see each other again here at Buckley." The Class of 2021 sang “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa.
Mrs. Miseo concluded the ceremony with a beautiful blessing for the graduates and the school community.
The 2021 graduates have now become the newest members of Buckley’s Alumni Association, and we hope that under the leadership of their class agent, Tyler Timmers, Buckley will soon have the pleasure of hosting their first reunion.
The members of the Class of 2021 will be attending: Avenues, Archbishop Molloy High School, The Brearley School, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, Friends Academy, Hackley School, The Hill School, The Hotchkiss School, The Lawrenceville School, Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School, Manhasset Secondary School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Portledge School, Roslyn High School, Rye Country Day School, The Spence School, Trinity School, and Xavier High School.
Congratulations Buckley Class of 2021!
— Dr. Juhel
Please click here
for a link to photos from the ceremony and here
for the video.