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Traditional Baccalaureate Service Highlights Prize Day Eve
Traditional Baccalaureate Service Highlights Prize Day Eve

On Friday, June 9, on the eve of St. Mark's 152nd Prize Day ceremony, the traditional Baccalaureate Service was held in Belmont Chapel. Mr. John Camp, St. Mark's English Department Chair and Assistant Director of the School's Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning was this year's speaker, elected by vote of the Sixth Form.

The service opened with the choir performing "Age Quod Agis," and with the singing of the hymn "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven." The Rev. Barbara Talcott, Head Chaplain at St. Mark's, then welcomed the members of the Class of 2017 and their families, before turning the service over to a series of Sixth Formers, who read passages from scripture in a variety of languages: Harry Kuperstein (Hebrew), Keely Dion (Greek), Alexandra Schumaker (Latin), Alexaleigh Colon (Haitian Creole), Genevieve Deveaux (French), Xiaoqiu Steven Li (German), Amanda Christy (Chinese), and Henry Hirschfeld (Spanish). The hymn "For the Splendor of Creation" was also sung. Then came the Baccalaureate address.

Mr. Camp broke with precedent and delivered his address walking up and down the Chapel aisle. His talk, titled "Moving On," emphasized the importance of "gratitude" and was very well-received.

The Choir, under the direction of Mr. James Wallace, Music Department Chair, then sang "Bana Yetu" (the Lord's Prayer in Swahili), an anthem by choral music composer Christopher Tin. During the anthem, Fifth Form ushers passed baskets for an offertory collection benefitting Brantwood Camp. Established in 1904, Brantwood serves each summer as a camp for inner-city and low-income youth. Since 1920, St. Mark's has been directly associated with Brantwood. A number of St. Markers volunteer as counselors every year, with some going on to work full-time as members of the Camp's Permanent Staff.

SM Assistant Chaplain Stephen Hebert led the Collect for Graduation, found in the St. Mark's Prayer Book, and Head of School John C. Warren '74 led the recitation of the School Prayer. Following the School Hymn—"Sun of My Soul"—Rev. Talcott delivered the blessing to end the service.

The Baccalaureate service is the oldest end-of-year tradition at St. Mark's.