CENTREVILLE — The Gunston School celebrated its 111th commencement June 11, honoring the class of 2022 with a waterfront ceremony overlooking the Corsica River, as family and friends looked on. The procession began with bagpiper Robert Wallace, followed by school faculty and staff, and then the graduating seniors.
Head of School John Lewis introduced commencement speaker, Kristen Greenaway, President of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels. Under her leadership, CBMM has seen a healthy increase in attendance through the presentation of increasingly innovative exhibitions, and expanded education and shipyard programming, as well as being awarded a grant of $5M from the State of Maryland to build a new Maryland Dove for Historic St. Mary’s City Commission. Additionally, Greenaway was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Maritime Historical Society in April of 2022.
“As each of you moves forward into the next phases of your life,” Greenaway said, “you will encounter incredible opportunities to explore and chart your own pathways. Some of you may have clear and focused journeys, while others may catch a strong breeze and head for new waters. Look for opportunity in whatever form it presents itself to you. And as you do that, I have three pieces of advice for you to carry forward: Have courage to take risks and make decisions; Be mindful, useful, kind, and show empathy for others; and Build the world you want to live in.”
Lewis and Gunston’s Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Board Joe Janney, P ’21 presented each graduate with their diploma, individually handcrafted by faculty member Michael Kaylor on an antique letterpress.
This year’s senior class had a successful college admission season and worked hard to earn $7.8 million dollars in merit scholarships. The graduates honors were presented to them the day before on June 10 during the school’s Green & White ceremony, which featured the valedictorian address, personalized comments about every senior, academic department awards, special named awards, and recognition from the greater community, as well as the much-anticipated announcement of the Green & White Cup.
Lewis began the previous day’s awards ceremony with thank you’s and one very special one in particular to the parents out in the crowd. “You’ve been extraordinary partners with us through some of the most difficult years in recent memory. This is a group of young people who possess a high level of responsibility, character, and independence. Their future is bright, and they wouldn’t be here without you.”
And to the class of 2022 Lewis said, “As a class, you’ve amassed as impressive an academic, extracurricular, social service, and athletic resume of any class in the history of Gunston — that’s not hyperbole — and you’ve done so with grace, fortitude, and fun. You’ve also pulled together impressively as a community of classmates, and thanks to you, I finish this year deeply optimistic, because class of 2022 — I know that your learning and leadership has just begun.”
This year’s valedictorian honor, the Samuel A. Middleton Award was bestowed upon two very deserving students, Abigail Miller and Magdalena Miller, of Easton.
“It goes without saying that Abbey and Maggie’s academic records are exceptional, having earned perfect grade 4.0 point averages across perhaps the most rigorous course loads ever taken at Gunston, including 11 AP courses where they have already been honored as AP Scholars with Distinction, and a math curriculum that includes AP AB/BC Calculus, AP Statistics, and a multivariable calculus course,” Lewis noted. Outside of the classroom, they are student-athlete-artists, having been on the Varsity Lacrosse and sailing teams, the Champions of the 2022 Eastern Shore Mathematics Competition Champions, National Spanish Exam Medalists, and honorees of the Congressional Art competition. They were both inducted into the National Honor Society, and they are both National Merit Scholarship Finalists, which means that of the 1.5 million American high school seniors who took the PSAT, they were in the top 7,500 — the top 1/5th of 1 percent.
Abbey will be studying mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester and Maggie will be studying chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Our mom always tells us, ‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.’ It’s easy to see the truth of the matter once it’s over, but you have to stay focused on what is in front of you. That is why I look forward to seeing where life takes all of you in the next four years, and congratulations once again to the class of 2022,” said Maggie.
Presented by Assistant Head of School Christie Grabis, the prestigious Gunston Award, which began in 1969 and is “unique in that it’s chosen by the vote of the entire school community,” was presented to Lucy Bamford of Chestertown who is headed to Ursinus College in the fall. “Leader, scholar, athlete. This student completed 26 total credits, nine honors classes, six AP classes, participated in 12 seasons of varsity level athletics, and held leadership roles in student government, national honor society, diversity leadership, yearbook, and on our Green & White teams. A member of the National Honor Society, this student models the qualities of scholarship, leadership, service, and character both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Grabis.