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The Class of 2018 chose "The Dream Team" as their motto, and indeed their graduation weekend was marvelous—in spite of record-breaking temperatures and Sunday's sudden thunderstorms.
Graduation weekend began with the traditional Leaving Tree ceremony in Trinity Courtyard, where seniors added personalized metal leaves to the tree wall sculpture under the breezeway. Friends and family joined them at the ceremony for a delicious catered lunch prepared by EHS Food Service.
Saturday brought the Baccalaureate service to Benitez Chapel. Performing Arts Chair Garmon Ashby, Instrumental Director Charles Estes, Pianist Holly Butler, and the EHS Chorale and String Ensemble provided the celebrants with glorious music throughout the ceremony. Baccalaureate speaker The Rev. Eileen O'Brien, campus missioner for Houston Canterbury at the University of Houston, emphasized the potential rewards and opportunities available to the graduates in the years ahead. Rev. O'Brien encouraged the students to serve others and be wise as they stand "on the threshold of promise."
Senior Awards were announced afterwards at the Senior Banquet:
Valedictorian – Blake Ogle
Salutatorian – Sophie Allan
Outstanding Male Student – Ryan Fulghum
Outstanding Female Student – Hanna Nyberg
Citizenship – Jillian Branch
Head of School Award – Anna St. Denis and Antonio Cruz
Spirit Award – Kelsey Womack
Jess Borg Award – Calvin Zipper
On Sunday, rain resulted in moving Commencement indoors to the new Alkek Gym in the Hildebrand Athletic Center. Jillian Branch gave the Commencement Speech, mixing facts with humor to remark on the class's record-breaking year of SPC championships, service hours, academic achievements, arts accomplishments—and lifelong friendships.
The full house of family members and supporters cheered for graduates as they walked across the stage to receive diplomas from Board of Trustees Executive Chair Randa Duncan Williams as well as warm wishes from Head of School Ned Smith, Assistant Head of School Nancy Eisenberg, Dean of Students Kim Randolph and Senior Class Dean Jessica Adams.
The festivities closed with a benediction from Dean of Spiritual Life The Rev. Beth Holden, a presentation of the Class of 2018 from Ned Smith, and a traditional tossing of the caps by the 174 enthusiastic graduates.