This year's Convocation, held earlier this month in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of '45 Hall, celebrated academic excellence, student character, and faculty milestones while also highlighting the importance of perspective taking and antiracism at St. Mark's. Head of School John C. Warren '74 extended a warm welcome to new members of the School community in his opening remarks:
"I am so proud of you new students and new faculty who are joining St. Mark's because every single one of you brings a distinctive set of gifts to the School which enriches all of us, and also because, collectively, you strengthen the qualities of intellect and character which distinguish us as a School."
Warren then gave a talk entitled "On the Importance of Perspective Taking." In it, he asked all in attendance to develop perspective taking as a habit of mind, to help St. Mark's become a "true antiracist school" and to lead lives of consequence. You can read the full speech here.
Next, several faculty members were honored for reaching milestones this year. Colleen Finnerty '11, Caitlin Kosow, Rob Kuklewicz, E.J. Valitutto, and Starry Zhu have served St. Mark's for five years, while Sarah Eslick and Jennifer Taylor marked their 10th year at the School. Neil Cifuentes, Ken Griffin, and Elise Morgan celebrated 15 years, and Jason Eslick was honored for his 20th year at St. Mark's.
In addition, Senior Teacher Barb Putnam presented commemorative certificates to three faculty members—Amanda Hultin, Shelly Killeen, and Colleen Worrell—to acknowledge their installation as honorary alumni of St. Mark's.
Several students were also recognized during the evening's program for receiving the following prizes:
The William G. Thayer Scholarship Fund Prizes were established by the alumni to honor the Thayers' first 25 years of service to St. Mark's, and are awarded every year to those students in each form with the highest academic average for the year. The recipient of the Thayer Prize for last year's III Form was Diana Oh. For last year's IV Form, Jason Langway and Sijing Ling tied for the prize. Peiyun Wang received the prize for last year's V Form.
The Dr. and Mrs. William Thayer Scholarship is awarded to the student, not in the graduating class, with the highest academic standing in the School from 2020-2021. The 2021 Thayer Scholarship was awarded to Diana Oh.
The Walter Clair '73 Prize is selected by a vote of the faculty and awarded to a rising VI Former who embodies the intellectual and community service priorities characterized by Dr. Clair's life and career. A celebrated medical researcher, practitioner, and innovator, Dr. Clair has worked tirelessly to enhance the educational and economic opportunities for underserved members of his community. Daniella Pozo received the 2021 Walter Clair Prize.
The Alice Hung '86 Prize is selected by a vote of the faculty and awarded to the rising VI Former who best embodies the global citizenship priorities that distinguish Ms. Hung's life and career. The founder and director of a highly successful international business operating on multiple continents, Ms. Hung has been instrumental in the establishment of a St. Mark's partner school relationship in China. The 2021 Alice Hung Prize was awarded to Laryssa Barbosa.
The Peter Saccio '58 Prize is selected by a vote of the faculty and awarded to the rising VI Former who best embodies both the academic and the community and equity priorities that characterize Dr. Saccio's life and career. A leading Shakespearian scholar, who has participated in and steadfastly supported the arts, Dr. Saccio has been a strong voice for diversity and a thoughtful source of support for students, particularly those in the LGBTQ community, throughout his career at Dartmouth College. Kendall Sommers received the 2021 Peter Saccio Prize.
The Dorothy Anderson Prize is selected by a vote of the faculty and awarded to the rising VI Former who best embodies the character qualities inside and outside the classroom that Ms. Anderson emphasized during her tenure on the St. Mark's faculty. The first woman to teach advanced math courses at St. Mark's and the coach of numerous ISL and New England championship teams, Ms. Anderson steadfastly inspired collaboration, resilience, and rising above one's own expectations. The 2021 Dorothy Anderson Prize was awarded to Lauren Tran.
The Peter M. Schuh '92 Scholarship Award, given in memory of Peter M. Schuh '92, is awarded each year to a rising VI Former based on the following criteria: maintenance of at least a B average in the V Form year; participation in more than one varsity sport; exhibition of leadership as a Monitor, Editor, Prefect, Peer Discussion Leader or other similar position; and, if each of the first three qualities are met, the recipient shall exhibit exceptional loyalty to, and enthusiasm for, St. Mark's School. The recipient of the Schuh Award is selected by vote of the dean of academics, the dean of students, and the director of athletics. The 2021 Peter Schuh Award was awarded to Tess Barrett.
The Andrew Michael Sheridan '05 Prize, given in memory of Andrew Michael Sheridan '05, is awarded each year to the rising VI Former who best exemplifies the character of Andrew, as remembered with these words:
"Through acts of kindness, optimism, faith in God and humanity, hard work, and gentle humor, Andrew strived to do what is right and shared his joy of life with others...every day. In so doing, he encouraged us to believe in ourselves and inspired us to be our best."
The recipient of the Sheridan Prize is selected by a committee that includes the dean of students, dean of academics, director of athletics, and head chaplain. Andrew Michael Sheridan's parents, Shirley Sheridan and Michael Sheridan, presented this year's Andrew Michael Sheridan Prize to Laryssa Barbosa.