Last week's Leaving Tree Tradition, Baccalaureate Chapel, and Commencement celebrations joyfully capped off our seniors' four years at Episcopal High School. Saturday's Baccalaureate speaker, The Rev. Kai Ryan, Suffragan Bishop Elect and mother of senior Eleanor Ryan, referenced poet Mary Oliver when encouraging the Class of 2019 to pay attention to the world around them and claim a purpose in life. After the guidance, support, and knowledge gained at EHS she asked, "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Rev. Ryan reminded the students that change does not always happen through grand gestures. "Every day you can change the world for the better with one small kindness."
Soon after Chapel at the Senior Banquet, Mea Ayers was announced as the 2019 valedictorian and Gabrielle Small was named salutatorian. Mark Nylund was named Outstanding Male Student and Tyler Donovan was named Outstanding Female Student. The Spirit Award went to Ellie Gilchrist, the Citizenship Award to Claire Kardesch, the Head of School Award went to both Amiri Scrutchin and Jordan Wells, and the Jess Borg Award went to Mitchell Mostyn.
On Sunday, Commencement speaker and valedictorian Mea Ayers compared her fellow students' transformation and growth during high school to the legendary Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Exhibiting potential--if a little awkward—as freshmen, she commented, by senior year they were bright and shiny and standing tall. "Shine!" Ayers exclaimed."Be a beacon of goodness, of compassion, of hope. Take on life's new adventures and gain new values. But remember the values you learned at EHS: to lead lives of significance in service to others."
In total, 182 seniors will attend more than 73 colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad, where they have earned almost $20 million in scholarships and grants.