In traditional caps and gowns, the Fclass of 2012 participated in commencement ceremonies at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Sunday. The ceremony celebrated the academic, athletic, and community service successes of our graduating seniors.
While the school’s commencement tradition hasn’t changed much in 79 years, the class of 2012, known for its strong bond and kind heartedness, added its own personality to the mix. The whole class spontaneously erupted into appreciative applause as the faculty assembled for a portrait moments before the ceremony began.
Eli Weinstein’s valedictory allowed several members of the class wear his valedictory medal. Eli shrugged his shoulders, happy to share.
“I just love my classmates,” he said.
Later, during his valedictory speech, the Harvard-bound Weinstein encouraged his classmates to use the next four years “browsing,” rather than gravitating to one idea or conviction too soon.
The senior class president, Jack Purvis, who will attend UC Berkeley in the fall, awarded math teacher and track coach Mr. Nick Ponticello with the Class of 2012 award (Mr. Ponticello was so stunned he had to be nudged forward by a colleague to accept it). Purvis was visibly moved when he announced the class gift: the purchase of new sycamores to replace the dying trees that have graced the senior patio for decades. This gift is certainly a legacy that all alumni can appreciate.
One unique characteristic of this class is that everyone who received honors seemed shocked to hear his or her name called. The awards go beyond academic accomplishment and represent the values of cherished faculty. A case in point was the Class of 2010 Tom Fry Award, which is given to a student who represents values of beloved coach and teacher Tom Fry, whose untimely death in 2009 still leaves a gap in many hearts. The honor went to class vice-president and three-season athlete Katrina Boyd (bound for the University of Virginia), who still couldn’t believe she’d won, even after she received her plaque.
The two highest honors are the Robert A. Benton Memorial Award and the Founder’s Trophy, both also named for cherished faculty. The Benton award is a perpetual trophy that is given to the graduate who exhibits outstanding sensitivity and creativity in intellectual pursuits. The award is named for Robert A. Benton, who was a well-loved teacher at Flintridge Preparatory School. The award was presented to Valedictorian Eli Weinstein.
The Founder’s Trophy, in memory of Doane Lowery, recognizes the student who best represents the ideals of the institution. They are: academic skills and dedication, the ability to be a team member as well as a leader, and the willingness to contribute to the well-being of his or her fellow students and to the community. The award was presented to Salutatorian Nikhita Poole, who will attend Caltech in the fall.