Commencement 2023

IMS Centennial Seal

On the morning of June 9, 2023, parents, students, faculty, and alumni gathered under the tent on Stockton Field for a joyous and emotional celebration of our graduating ninth graders — our centennial class.

The piper, Mr. Jesse Ofgang, led the procession of honorees into the tent on Stockton Field, while the eighth grade marshals, James Vazquez and William Soja, directed graduates to their seats. 

The Reverend Andrew A. Kryzak ’98, priest-in-charge of St. John’s Church in Stamford, Connecticut, gave the invocation followed by the traditional singing of America the Beautiful, led by Ms. Joanna Seaton and accompanied by Donald Sosin.

Head of School Jody Reilly Soja gave her opening remarks. She spoke of her particular bond with this class, having been her “pod” after re-entering school during the pandemic, sharing a challenging but also joyful time together. She spoke of how this class resonated with the history of the school, the beginnings of which were also fraught with challenging world events. Through it all, the community on campus was strong, facing challenges with resilience and levity. “You have filled this space with love,” Ms. Soja said. “You support and trust each other and you are each others’ biggest cheerleaders.”

Ms. Soja added that the graduating class has been witness to extraordinary changes at IMS: in just the last three years – the OWL, the new tennis courts, Centennial Turf field, and the Morehead Athletic Center.

"To our centennial class: you are now a part of IMS history as much as IMS is a part of your history. You have built strong relationships, taken risks, honed your talents, and deepened your reservoir of courage and knowledge. Through it all you have reminded us to maintain a sense of humor and joy."

Mr. Ram Miles directed a group of IMS singers and musicians in a wonderful performance of Brazil by Declan McKenna. Accompanied by Ms. Seaton and Mr. Sosin, the Mountain Voices later performed Remember Me/Now and Forever, by Anderson-Lopez/Carol King.

Ms. Soja also acknowledged our 11-Year Veterans who have been at IMS since pre-kindergarten (Tyler Roberts and Paisley Pecchia) and our four-year boarding students (Jayden Lee, Esther Lee and Leo Zhao) who have been boarding students since sixth grade. 

The following prizes were presented:

Mountain Card: Limin Kong

Courage to Climb Award: Addax Bardel

Spofford Award: Ulrika Ekman

2023 Distinguished Teaching Chair: Emily Gargill

Head of School Awards: Fritz Weihman; Anna Lim

McMillen Prize: Phoebe Sutton-Do

Schutte Prize: Wesley Augustin

The 2006 Prize: Jayden Lee

Rouse Prize: Clarisse Moucha

Doolittle Prize: Paisley Pecchia

Austen Fox Riggs Prize: Ingrid Schmitt

Triangle Prize: Jose Jiménez Rodríguez

There was a big surprise at the end of Ms. Soja’s remarks as she, together with Mr. Danny Tieger and Mr. Randall Pierre, performed a medley of popular songs from the last ten decades. It was a memorable moment that had everyone in the audience on their feet.

Then, ninth graders Jose Jiménez Rodríguez, Paisley Pecchia, and Ingrid Schmitt read a moving “This We Believe” speech, and Ms. Soja and IMS Board President Christopher Sanger presented the graduates with diplomas.

After the ceremony, students bid a bittersweet farewell to their friends and teachers before heading off for the summer and on to their next schools.

Congratulations to our graduates!