“How will you be galvanized by this?” he asked them. “Be yourselves. You have all that it takes inside of you. Make a difference. Follow your passions. Live with purpose. You have shown that you have everything it takes to live lives of impact and purpose, and that is what we ask.”
“Stand up for what you believe,” he encouraged them. “Find your voice and use it often. Dare to be all you can be. Err in the direction of kindness. Live with life. Be courageous.”
Ninth Grader Maren Frey of New Canaan delivered the Class Salutation in which she welcomed those in attendance, acknowledging the unique circumstance in which the program was taking place – socially distanced in a semi-circle of automobiles around a podium on one of the school’s athletic fields. “We are a class that has been brought together in ways none of us could have ever imagined,” she said. “All of you are like a family to me. Every day, I look forward to seeing your smiling faces …. And while there are a lot of uncertainties in this world right now, I am certain of one thing and that is that we will always be there for each other.”
Ben Herdeg of New Canaan presented the Class Reflection. “We’re defined by so much more than our unexpectedly different spring,” he said. “Each person in this grade brings something different to the table—whether that’s humor, compassion, spirit, or confidence; it’s equally valued and visible to anyone. All our traits work so well together that we’ve grown closer and become better people because of it.”
Class of 2020 graduate Gracie Agulay of Stamford received the Gamble Award, which is presented to the student who exemplifies, to the highest measure, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In honoring Gracie, Mr. Cooper shared that she was described by her Upper School peers as “By far one of the kindest ninth graders I know;” “Kind, considerate, and someone whose laugh makes me laugh;” “The epitome of leading by example;” and “Not the loudest voice in the crowd, but sometimes the most important one to listen to.”
Rett Zeigler of Rowayton received the Johansen Award, which is presented to the member of the graduating class who most exemplifies the qualities of care and concern for others, compassion and a sense of community. In describing Rett’s outgoing and inclusive nature, Mr. Cooper shared that an Upper School peer said of him: “He always high fives everyone on the bus, kindergarten all the way up to ninth grade. He's a great leader and is a positive influence for everyone. He makes NCCS feel more like a community and family. I know that he has inspired me to be a better person.” Another noted that Rett was “Someone who always made an effort to talk to people he did not know and make them feel like a part of the community.”
The Class of 2020 will attend the following secondary schools:
Brunswick School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfield Academy, Fairfield College Preparatory School, Greens Farms Academy, Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Country Day School, Hotchkiss School, Millbrook School, Miss Porter's School, New Canaan High School, Ohana Institute, Phillips Academy Andover, Rye Country Day, St. George's School, St. Luke's School, St. Paul's School, Sun Valley Community School, The Taft School, Westhill High School and Westminster School.
The Class of 2020 includes:
Gracie Agulay of Stamford, Jackson Alpaugh of Darien, Kate Barnard of Rowayton, Fiona Burton of Stamford, Garrett Cannon of New Canaan, Sasha Coughlin of New Canaan, Matthew Edwards of Darien, Jasper Engle of New Canaan, Daisy Fichthorn of Darien, Thatcher Findlay of New Canaan, Maren Frey of New Canaan, Charlie Gaynor of Bedford, Alanna Gribin of Stamford, Ben Herdeg of New Canaan, Brayden Hogue of Westport, Calvin Jacob of New Canaan, Christian Jacob of New Canaan, Payton Koch of New Canaan, Lilly Krongard of New Canaan, Katie LeBaron of New Canaan, Annika Mannix of Wilton, Megan Mitchell of Darien, Darla Moody of Pound Ridge, TJ Moody of Pound Ridge, Huett Nelson of Rowayton, Mimi Sue Novack of Darien, Abby O'Brien of Stamford, Riya Punjabi of Stamford, Tyler Rosolen of Norwalk, Mac Ryan of Pound Ridge, Cece Salvatore of New Canaan, Henry Scott of New Canaan, Luke Sosnow of Darien, Jamie Staniar of Darien, Ryland Strine of New Canaan, Cassie Warren of New Canaan and Rett Zeigler of Rowayton.