Parents, students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered under the tent on Stockton Field for Indian Mountain School’s 92nd graduation ceremony on Friday June 6, 2015. Strong breezes and sunshine prevailed as 46 ninth graders and 23 departing eighth graders bid farewell to their friends and teachers before heading off for the summer and on to secondary school.

Our traditional piper, Mr. K. Lee Collins, led the procession of honorees while eighth grade marshals, Simon Dong and Rosie Kilby, directed graduates to their seats. Head of School Mark A. Devey welcomed everyone with opening remarks in which he thanked the IMS community for the its support over the last nine years. “It was an honor to serve as your head of school. The long-term success of IMS comes from having a dedicated, nurturing faculty and staff—I am greatly appreciative of your deep commitment to excellence. Students who attend this school feel valued as individuals and I am grateful to have worked alongside you.”

Following the invocation by the Reverend Cameron Hardy, Millbrook School’s Chaplain, we all sang “America the Beautiful” led by Ms. Joanna Seaton, accompanied by Mr. Donald and then enjoyed the ninth graders’ stellar performance of Better Together by Jack Johnson, under Mr. Ram Miles direction.

Mr. Devey offered the following thoughts for the ninth grade class:
We gather together today to celebrate a well-rounded group of eighth and ninth grade scholars, artists, athletes, and inventors who are going on to bigger and better things. This has been a outstanding year but also a challenging one, at times, testing our resolve, withstanding the longest winter known to mankind, some big transitions, and rallying as a community.

When I reflect on this student body and their journey at IMS, I am reminded of a quote from one of my childhood idols, Muhammad Ali, one of the most dynamic prize fighters of all time. Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses–behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Please know that as educators and parents, we value and admire the effort each of you put forth on good days and bad and the stick-to-it-iveness that has brought you to the end of another successful school experience.

One way to characterize this ninth grade class is that it is largely a group of late bloomers with great potential. I would argue that a pivotal moment in the school year for this ninth grade was the spring play, Once Upon a Mattress. A few days before the production, students and faculty were panicking. That’s nothing new, but they really weren’t ready, and this wasn’t just a cast of melodramatic actors. It reminds me of two characters, Henslow and Fennyman, who were discussing a failing theatrical production in one of my all-time favorite films, Shakespeare in Love,
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.

Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

Well, I think the mystery here was that the multi-talented cast got scared, really scared and crammed for the last few days, gained some newfound self-confidence in the dress rehearsal, and knocked it out of the park in the final performance. They put on a show I will never forget. It may not have been the best method to get there, but they learned something about themselves. They were faced with a great obstacle and they found a way to overcome it.

The other defining moment took place on the athletic fields this spring. We were not blessed with the most experienced teams, and we had a number of injuries to key players, but in those final moments our kids rose up, kept their cool and rallied to win game after game. Who would have thought it? The girls lacrosse team dominated every game with only a handful of veterans, and then on the last day of the season, there I was watching our boys lacrosse team’s last matchup against our cross town rival and while it was nail-biter at the start, we thoroughly crushed them. Our squads were good sports as always, but I must say, those victories felt good. They earned it. And that was one thing I learned about this class, don’t count them out.

These inspirational moments; the powerful emotions that come from the friendships you made, the connection with your teachers, the successes in the classroom, in the fab lab, on stage or on the athletic field will never fade. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

Dare mighty things and know that we will be there to support you.

Mr. Devey and Board of Trustee President Maria Horn awarded the eighth grade certificates, honored the prize winners, and welcomed distinguished alumnus Miguel W. de Braganca ’65 to the podium to receive his award. After class representatives Whit Yerkes, Talibah Alexander, and Ava McCoy gave their “This We Believe” commencement address, the ninth graders received their diplomas. Ms. Seaton led the Mountain Voices singing group in a harmony of “In My Life” by the Beatles with Donald Sosin accompanying.

We wish all of our students success next year and beyond.
Congratulations to the Class of 2015
Talibah L. Alexander
Giovanni Aloi Timeus Hernandez
Alden James Rowell Blue
Gardner Nolan Bulkeley
Sawyer Joseph Bush
Minjin Choi
Annika Jane Elwell
Henry Winter Frankenbach
Isabel Claire Freund
Xinyi Gao
Joaquim Aygun Grunberger
Ryudo Hachiya
Zixuan He
Elias S. Hill
Louise Grace Jaeger
Arthur George Kilby
Nathan William Lachaine
Deborah Drew Laz-Nwokeafor
Jun Hyuk Lee
Benjamin Alex Marti
Ava Margaret McCoy
Thomas Jackson McLaughry
James Stanley Moir, Jr.
Robert Turner Mullins
Nicolson Shaw Neave
Chinweizu Mmachukwu Oham
Chance Christian Perekslis
Spencer Aiden Quinn
Sara Claire Renkert
Holley Bicknell Riva
Colter Rule, III
Timothy Elliott Ryan-Liss
Santiago Salcido Figueroa
Gabrielle Theresa Sartori
Jackson Charles Schopp
Isaac Deaton Mitchell Shapiro
Kevin Alexander Tamarima
Phoebe Tyler Torres
Alexander Casey Vernali
Sihan Wang
Yuanxiao Wu
Dawson Augustus Wynne
Naruto Yabuki
Charles Whitmore Yerkes
Nasir Christopher York
Lilianna Fena Zyszkowski
Best of Luck to the Departing Members of the Class of 2016
Ana Paula Alverde Gómez Crespo
Cosimo Thembe Daniel Botta
Halle Chisholm Chandler
Henry Cherington
Jiwon Choi
Oliver Straight Cookson
Federica del Valle Herrera
Anna Christina Margareta Douglas
Roberta Armstrong Fisher
Eliza King Freedman
Imanol Garcia Urtiaga
Jake Kasowitz
Su Bee Kim
Fiona Sarah Logan-Sankey
Dagny Elisabeth Mactaggart
Sophie Trisara Mohindra-Green
Raphaella Olyana Pope
Henry Maxwell Quinn
Dias Sarsenov
Momoko Sato
Leila Gordon Shea
Christopher Laylin Smith
Juan Pablo Zinser Werschkull

Photos of the day are available online for purchase.