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2024 Commencement Celebrates Resilience, Growth, and New Beginnings

A sense of excitement and the promise of new beginnings were palpable during King School’s 2024 Commencement ceremony on May 31. Families, trustees, and faculty gathered under a tent on the North Field to celebrate the graduating class: 103 students shaped by unique challenges, remarkable resilience, and a deep sense of purpose.

Mark Lingle
Carol Maoz

The King Chamber Choir delivered a stirring rendition of the national anthem, and the Rev. Mark Lingle gave an invocation.

After Head of School Carol Maoz extended a warm welcome to the gathering, she acknowledged the graduating class's extraordinary journey. 

“You entered the Upper School during a time of immense challenge, a global pandemic that reshaped our world,” she said. “It forced you to adapt to new and ever-changing schedules, to learn in a moment of world angst and forge friendships in a virtual landscape, challenges that demanded uncommon resilience. But you did it. Your bonds are solid, and you are stronger and wiser.”

Highlighting King School's mission, Maoz continued, “As true Vikings, you’ve lived by our mission: You developed a lifelong love of learning; you graduate with a global mindset, a strong sense of social responsibility, and the confidence to pursue lives of purpose.”

Marnie Sadlowsky
Mi-Sun Freeman

Mi-Sun Freeman, Chair of the Board of Trustees, echoed Maoz's sentiment. “Today is about much more than caps and gowns. It's about the personal and academic journey you've undertaken here at King. King's commitment to excellence is not just about grades; it's about igniting a lifelong love of learning, developing the social-emotional skills needed to navigate a complex world, critical thinking, and self-discovery.”

Commencement speaker Emma Snover KLHT’14 addressed the graduates, drawing on her own experiences, as a person and as a successful attorney for a global firm, to offer a framework for navigating life's transitions. 

"Doesn't it feel like the second you figure anything out in life, it ends, and you're forced to start all over again?" Snover began, quoting soccer Hall of Famer Abby Wambach. "It's a feeling that we all experience as we transition from chapter to chapter in the book of our lives."

Snover’s speech outlined her “Five Great Laws of Writing,” lessons gleaned from her time at Barnard College and adapted to guide her continuing journey.

Emma Snover
  • Lucky Charms: “In life, the lucky charms are those highlights that you will not forget. I encourage you all to think about some of those moments right now — your favorite moments that have made an impression on you during your years at King.”
  • Active Verbs: “Your story isn't something that is just written by circumstance or situation. You write your story.” 
  • Buzz Cut: “The buzz cut is about omitting the needless words that don't add much to your writing.” Snover advised the graduates to tune out the noise and stay true to their core values.
  • Strategize Revisions: “Remember that it isn't the challenge itself that leads to growth. Growth happens in your response to the challenge.”
  • Lighten Up: “Have fun writing your next chapter. Say yes to the exciting, unexpected opportunities that come along.”

Snover signed off with these words of wisdom: “Cherish your communities. Engage and ask questions. Stay true to yourself. View challenges as opportunities for growth. And most of all, enjoy the ride.”

Valedictorian and King Lifer Nicholas Butler reflected on what he valued most about his King experience. 

“The academic rigor is impressive,” he said, “but what ended up having the greatest impact on me was the wide range of paths that we students were able to embark upon. We weren’t driven solely by course requirements or grades but by our own curiosity and passion. And thanks to the support of our teachers and friends, we were able to exceed all expectations.” 

Marnie Sadlowsky, Associate Head of School for Strategic Programs and Head of Upper School, presented Certificates of Distinction to the students who elected to complete additional requirements beyond those necessary to graduate.

Nick Butler
Charlie Hill

Upper School Student Body President Charlie Hill, known for his leadership and collaborative spirit, served as Senior Speaker. Maoz introduced him as “a student with a hunger for knowledge, a heart for service, and a drive to make a positive impact.”

Charlie recalled starting high school in the midst of the pandemic and the world events that marked each year since. He also highlighted the pain caused by the sudden death of King’s beloved Academic Dean, teacher, and coach, Adam Boaz, to whom the ceremony was dedicated. 

As he reflected on the challenges he and his peers faced together, Charlie underscored the importance of community. 

“I am who I am at this very moment because of all of you,” he said, “and I am honored and lucky to say that I have had the privilege of interacting with each and every one of you in my four years of school here. They say the people make the place, and, frankly, I couldn't agree more.” 

As the seniors stepped forward to receive their diplomas from Maoz, their transition to alumni was official. The graduates, their families, and educators celebrated the academic achievement, resilience, growth, and unwavering spirit of the King School Class of 2024, a class well-equipped to thrive beyond this campus and embark on lives filled with purpose.