Commencement 2019

Under blue skies in Taft's Centennial Quadrangle, the Class of 2019 officially graduated during Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 26.

Headmaster William R. MacMullen '78 shared words of welcome with family, friends, and guests of the 177 members of the Class of 2019. Head Monitors Eva Baurmeister and Rex Riefler and Class Speakers Malcolm Bellairs and Margot Odden also delivered remarks to their classmates and guests and The Honorable Neil O'Leary, Mayor of the City of Waterbury, offered the Commencement address.

Photos of the day are now available online here.

A full list of prizes and awards are listed below.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 and welcome to the Taft alumni community!

 

PRIZES AND AWARDS

WILLIAM AND LEE ABRAMOWITZ AWARD FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE

Presented to that faculty member who made their academic subject matter come alive and thereby induced enthusiasm and a love of learning among their students.

Alvin I. Reiff, Jr.

 

THE SHOUP AWARD

IN MEMORY OF JAMES PAYNTER LOGAN

Presented to that faculty member who showed exemplary commitment to working with students in a broad range of activities and demonstrated excellence by helping individuals develop self-esteem through positive achievements.

Robert C. Campbell

 

MAURICE POLLAK SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

The Maurice Pollak Scholarship Award was established in 1992 by Mr. Henry Pollak II of the Class of 1940 and by his mother, Lucile R. Pollak, as a permanent memorial to his father, Maurice Pollak. The award provides aid to a deserving member of the graduating class to help defray expenses during the student's first year of college.

Aiche Ba

 

ROBERTS SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

Harley Fish Roberts was a master at Taft from 1897 to 1930. In the early days of the School, he was Mr. Taft's main aid and colleague, in addition to being part owner of the School. The Roberts Scholarship was established to aid a deserving Taft senior through college.

Dennis Larone Yee Franklin

 

ATHLETIC, ARTISTIC, AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

 

SENIOR ATHLETIC AWARDS

Each year the School awards a watch to each senior who has won six or more varsity letters and to each postgraduate who earns three varsity letters.  

 

Emilee Shaye Adami

Liam Abimbola Akpata

Collin Victor Amelsberg

Elizabeth Anne Barré

Eva Caroline Baurmeister

David Lavon Brown, Jr.

Anna Csigirinszkij

William Nicol Dobensky

Corinna Prichard Dorr

Nolan James Grooms

Isaiah Marcel Hernandez

Peter Edward Kenerson

Madelyn Ruegg Lander

Margaret Karol O'Leary

Robert MacGregor Peterson

Rex Hawley Riefler

Kayla Michelle Robinson

Asia Ondaatje Rupert

Olivia Rae Santini

Lilian Rose Senich

Caeley Ann Smith

Eleanor Louise Streit

Ally Trimper

Morgan Trimper

Micah Nzubechukwu Umeh, Jr.

Sophie Cameron Webb

Olivia Elsa Wivestad

 

MARION HOLE MAKEPEACE AWARD

This award is presented each year to the girl who has contributed most to Taft athletics.

Kayla Michelle Robinson

 

LAWRENCE HUNTER STONE AWARD

Established by the 1967 Varsity Baseball team with the support of the student body and faculty, this award goes to the person who has contributed most to boys' athletics.

William Nicol Dobensky

Nolan James Grooms

 

OTIS L. GUERNSEY, JR '36 THEATER AWARD

Named in memory of renowned theater critic Otis Love Guernsey, Jr., '36, the Guernsey Theater Award is given to that actor or actress who, through enthusiasm, cooperation and competence has contributed most to the theater at Taft.

Braden Keith Allen Grustas

Cameron Charlotte Long

 

BILL WALDRON MEMORIAL PRIZE

In memory of Bill Waldron, Class of 1972, for exceptional contributions to technical theater

at Taft.

Naomi Hoi Fong Tam

 

MARK POTTER AWARD IN ART

This award, established by the Taft Class of 1996 in memory of Mark Potter, who inspired art students at Taft for 40 years, goes to that student who has excelled in studio art.

Quincy Adams Morgan

 

THOMAS SABIN CHASE AWARD IN ART

Presented annually in memory of Thomas Sabin Chase, Class of 1950, to those students who in the study of art have exhibited a significant perception, originality, and developing talent.

Alexandra Colon

 

DANCE AWARD

For their exceptional contribution to Dance at Taft.

Natalie Michelle Locarno

Haylee Ann Snow

 

VIDEO ARTS AWARD

For excellence in Video Arts.

Dylan Cooper Kim

Jack William O'Donnell

 

GEORGE H. MORGAN AWARD

Instituted by the Glee Club of 1963 in honor of George H. Morgan, who headed the School's Music Department for forty years, this award is made to that member of the Taft School singing organizations who through ability, leadership, and enthusiasm has made the most significant contribution to the success, effectiveness, and wellbeing of those organizations.

Braden Keith Allen Grustas

 

P.T. YOUNG MUSIC PRIZE

Awarded to a member of the graduating class who has contributed significantly to music at Taft through leadership, personal achievement, and dedication to sound musicianship.

Mia LaShawn Porter

Claire Oaksun Vithoontien

Nicholas Raymond Winicki

 

DAVID EDWARD GOLDBERG MEMORIAL AWARD

This award for outstanding independent work was established in 1964 in memory of David Edward Goldberg, Class of 1962, by his classmates, parents, and friends.

For the independent project,

"The Lexical Similarity Among the English, French, and German Languages."

Carolyn Kay Yin Yow

 

 

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS

 

SHERMAN CAWLEY AWARD

This award was established by the family and friends of Mr. Sherman Cawley, a distinguished teacher of English and most valuable member of the Taft faculty for many years.

Presented in recognition of excellence in English scholarship to:

Carolyn Ka Yin Yow

 

DAVID KENYON WEBSTER PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN WRITING

This award was established in memory of David Kenyon Webster, Class of 1940, by his friends and family.

Anne Laurie Gilland

 

BOURNE MEDAL IN HISTORY

Given in honor of Edward Gaylord Bourne, roommate of Horace D. Taft at Yale College in the Class of 1883, this award honors the outstanding student in History.

Dylan Cooper Kim

Otto Alexander Bismarck Piasecki

 

JOHN T. REARDON PRIZE

In honor of John T. Reardon, who was an outstanding teacher of history at Taft for thirty-seven years, this award goes to the student who has written the best essay in American history. 

Emily Diane Gribbin

 

DANIEL HIGGINS FENTON CLASSICS AWARD

Established by the family of Daniel Higgins Fenton, who for twenty-two years, both as Chairman of the Classics Department and Director of Studies, made an unusually significant contribution to the School. This award is made to the student who has shown particular excellence in Classics.

Warner Maximillian Sahadevan Fossland

 

JOHN S. NOYES FRENCH PRIZE

This prize honors John S. Noyes, for thirty-nine years an outstanding teacher of Modern Languages.

Nicoleta Gusac

 

SPANISH PRIZE

For excellence in Spanish.

Abigail Lindsay Ford

Eleanor Louise Streit

 

CHINESE PRIZE

For excellence in Chinese.

Claire Oaksun Vithoontien

 

ALVIN I. REIFF BIOLOGY PRIZE

Given for outstanding work in Biology, this prize honors Alvin I. Reiff, devoted Master Teacher for thirty years.

Kaitlyn Marie Macdonald

 

CHEMISTRY PRIZE

For outstanding work in Chemistry.

Marcus Antonio Ferber Valenta

 

PHYSICS PRIZE

For outstanding work in Physics.

William Qinghe Wang

 

WILSON-DOUGLAS MATHEMATICS PRIZE

Given in honor of distinguished mathematics teachers George R. Wilson and Edwin C. Douglas, by Robert W. Cornell '42, this award recognizes outstanding work in mathematics.

Trung Quang (Steve) Le

 

COMPUTER SCIENCE PRIZE

For excellence in computer science.

Yijie (Bill) Lu

 

GLOBAL STUDIES AND SERVICE PRIZE

The Global Studies and Service Prize is presented to a student who has shown leadership through outstanding academic achievement in global studies and through a demonstrated commitment to service domestically and abroad.

Choying Dechen 

 

GLOBAL STUDIES AND SERVICE DIPLOMAS

The Global Studies and Service Diploma recognizes active citizenship, demonstrated leadership, and an understanding of the global dimensions of everyday life.

Choying Dechen

Eliza King Freedman

Mihir Nayar

Francesca Christina Nyakora

Aariya Marzban Patel

 

CUM LAUDE INDUCTIONS

The Cum Laude Society is a national scholarship society in secondary schools corresponding to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi in colleges and scientific schools. The following students were admitted in October.

 

Eva Caroline Baurmeister

Malcolm Andrew Bellairs

Chih-Yao (Jerry) Chan

Julia Grace Dawson

Anne Laurie Gilland

Marshall Dolan Henshaw

Dylan Cooper Kim

Yiqiao (Rachel) Lau

Yijie (Bill) Lu

Quincy Adams Morgan

Mihir Nayar

Joseph Michael Reiser

Marcus Antonio Ferber Valenta

Nicholas Raymond Winicki

Olivia Elsa Wivestad

 

New Inductions:

 

Nina Ann Brockelman

Emma Catherine May Cooney

Anna Csigirinszkij

Abigail Lindsay Ford

Warner Maximillian Sahadevan Fossland

Augustus Samuel Harper

Peter Edward Kenerson

Eliza King Freedman

Madelyn Ruegg Lander

Kai Shen Neoh

Francesca Christina Nyakora

Jack William O'Donnell

Julia Bridget Ordway

Preston Ruggles Rylee

Eleanor Louise Streit

Claudia Maria Vira

Claire Oaksun Vithoontien

 

 

OUTSTANDING ACCOMPLISHMENTS

 

HARRY W. WALKER '40 "NON UT SIBI" AWARD

The "Non ut Sibi" Award, given by Harry W. Walker, Class of 1940, goes to that senior whose service and work outside of Taft best exemplifies the School's motto.

Yiqiao (Rachel) Lau

Jalen Richard Little

 

HEMINWAY MERRIMAN AWARD

The Heminway Merriman Award, given by the friends and family of Junie Merriman,

Class of 1930, is awarded to those young men whose gentle concern for others best reflects the qualities of Junie Merriman.

Collin Victor Amelsberg

Mohamed Doucoure

Braden Keith Allen Grustas

 

BERKLEY F. MATTHEWS '96 AWARD

Given by family and friends in memory of Berkley F. Matthews, Class of 1996, this award recognizes those young women whose loyalty, concern for others, and gentleness captures the remarkable spirit of Berkley Matthews.

Abigail Lindsay Ford

Emily Diane Gribbin

Natalie Michelle Locarno

 

CLASS OF 1981 AWARD

In recognition of students who during their time at Taft have displayed exceptional personal growth and perseverance.

Adelani Zahir Adedoyin

Elspeth May Leckie

Jalen Richard Little

Caeley Ann Smith

 

SALUTATORIAN

With an unweighted senior year average of 96.6 and a weighted senior year average of 100.1

Anne Laurie Gilland

 

VALEDICTORIAN

With an unweighted senior year average of 96.5 and a weighted senior year average of 100.6

Malcolm Andrew Bellairs

 

JOSEPH I. CUNNINGHAM AWARD

This award honors Joseph I. Cunningham, a member of The Taft School faculty for thirty-nine years. The award is presented to the seniors who, in the opinion of the Headmaster and faculty, have worked selflessly for the betterment of the entire Taft School community. 

William Nicol Dobensky

Cameron Charlotte Long

Mia LaShawn Porter

 

AURELIAN AWARD

This award is offered at several preparatory schools by The Aurelian Honor Society of Yale to that senior who, in the opinion of faculty and classmates, is outstanding in sterling character, high scholarship, and forceful leadership.

Anne Laurie Gilland

 

1908 MEDAL

This award is made each year to that member of the Senior class whose influence has done most for the School.

Eva Caroline Baurmeister

Rex Hawley Riefler