It was a perfect evening to celebrate excellence, friendship, and 96 members of the Class of 2019 as the King community gathered under blue skies and a massive white tent. This year's Commencement Exercises took place on Friday, May 31, and included remarks from Head of School Dr. Karen Eshoo, and three Valedictorians: Grethe Andersen, Mallory Ehlers, and Annie Michalski. The Commencement Address was delivered by Nedgine Paul Deroly '04 and the Senior Speaker was Dean Pigott.
The Class of 2019, which includes 13 King 'Lifers', possesses an incredible work ethic that they have applied throughout their journey at King. Thanks to the tireless guidance and support of their teachers, college counselors, and families, the successes they created for themselves at King helped them earn acceptances to the best schools in the country and abroad. Just as importantly, they achieved these successes while prioritizing their relationships with each other to create a strong, healthy social culture in their class.
Colleges have recognized within the Class of 2019 future scientists, artists, athletes, urban planners, pilots, professors, and so much more. Each student has made intentional decisions about his/her/their future, and where best to spend the next four years of their lives pursuing their dreams to reach their goals.
Head of School Karen Eshoo addressed the class during the ceremony: "As I’ve gotten to know you, I have learned that you believe it is possible to have an inclusive community amongst each other, and that you also know it had to be. You talked with me in your exit conversations about how well a Venn diagram would show how many students overlap with multiple groups. I saw you lead the entire student body in the pep rally in the fall, and actively go to the youngest and smallest students to dance with them - they looked at you like gods and goddesses in Viking helmets and body paint. I observed you support each other during the college admissions process because you rejected the false narrative that your classmates’ gains would be your losses. And look what you’ve accomplished! Most of all, I have seen you embracing one another – literally and metaphorically – as seniors."
Nedgine Paul Deroly '04 provided insight on her personal path to success: "Since graduating from King in 2004, I am struck by how often I get asked questions about what, where, why and sometimes, how much. But what I am rarely asked is questions about who I am as a person and what I care about most. Yet, questions about my personal identity have pushed me the most and have afforded me the greatest opportunity to stand for something. It has been the foundation on which I have built my career, my passion, and my purpose."
Three Valedictorians, which included two King 'Lifers' reflected on their time at King and provided advice to their classmates.
Grethe Andersen: "Through the pursuit of academic excellence, you build valuable relationships with your teachers and classmates. You learn about your community, and you learn to support each other, cultivating valuable social currency. That academically driven, yet supportive environment is what makes King so special."
Mallory Ehlers: "In college, I will look for professors who mirror the teachers I had at King. Teachers who are so passionate about a topic that they sparked that same interest in their students, or helped them to develop an interest they never knew they had before."
Annie Michalski: "The King culture has given me the courage and the confidence to ask questions, to make mistakes, to be wrong, and to explore and discover new possibilities. In the classroom, my teachers have encouraged me, and others, to challenge our opinions, think for ourselves, and listen to each other."