The Gunston School celebrated many students and retiring faculty members during its annual Green & White Awards Ceremony on Friday, June 11, featuring the valedictorian address, personalized comments about every senior, and announced academic department awards, special named awards, and recognition from the greater community, as well as the much-anticipated announcement of the Green & White Cup.
Twice each year, Gunston declares a “Green & White field day” as students, faculty and staff divide into two teams and compete in activities that range from canoe races to math competitions, creative writing challenges, and more. The team accumulating the most points from both days wins the Green & White Cup.
Student body president Olivia Hershey (pictured right) welcomed seniors and their parents who attended the event in person, and the rest of the student body who watched the livestream at home.
Head of School John Lewis began the ceremony, “Today, we reflect upon the year, hand out some well deserved awards, and celebrate the talented class of 2021.” He continued “I do think it's worth taking a moment and reflecting on what it has taken some of our international students and especially seniors to remain engaged with our program online for the whole year. And they really have, they deserve a lot of credit and I wish they were here with us today.”
After some brief remarks about each graduating senior, Mr. Lewis announced “the Samuel A. Middleton Award, named in honor of one of our two founders, is Gunston’s valedictorian award. Today’s winner of the Middleton award has taken one of the most rigorous course loads in the senior class, she’s earned high marks in multiple AP classes, including mine, and maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Meanwhile, in her free time, she’s been the president of her class since sophomore year, she’s a four year rower and captain, a champion figure skater and teacher of skating, she’s won multiple national Spanish exam awards and was involved in numerous clubs. [...] Lydia Periconi is planning on studying to become a vet[erinarian], and let me tell you, this goal will be reached without question.”
Valedictorian Lydia Periconi, who is headed to Penn State Schreyer Honors College to study veterinary and biomedical science addressed her peers;
“We have reached the pot of gold that we have worked so hard to find, and we may now reflect on everything we’ve accomplished. After all, no pot of gold can exist without a rainbow to guide the seekers of success. Our rainbow, the rainbow of the class of 2021 begins as all do, with the color red. To me, the color represents passion, love, anger and frustration and what better quality to describe our relationship with academics over the past four years. We’ve found our passions, our inspirations and we’ve learned how to challenge ourselves in the face of frustration in order to become stronger. [...] Orange, the color of courage and confidence, in our rainbow, symbolizes our growth as leaders. We all started out as meek little freshmen looking up to the students around us to see how to survive being a high schooler, but now look at us. Club leaders, student government officers, Green and White captains, sports teams captains, national honor society members, I could go on. We’ve gracefully settled into our roles as leaders of the school and I wholeheartedly believe that Gunston has given us the necessary tools to continue to be leaders in every aspect of our lives. The Class of 2021 is filled with big ideas and huge ambitions, and I’m so excited to see where life takes us.”
Periconi went on to explain what the remaining colors of the rainbow represent: yellow is the quest for optimism during the pandemic; green is the special moments made together as a class; blue is the color of loyalty and trust, channeling those qualities through athletics; and finally, purple is made up of the support of family and friends, who were essential to every graduate’s success.
Former athletic director Anita Gruss herself was on hand to present the Anita Gruss Athletic Award to Sydney Nittle and Kylee Rushton in addition to recognizing the follow 12 Star Athletes: Max Brady, Kayla Flood, James Fordi, Olivia Hershey, Ranger Hightower, Sydney Nittle, Campbell Parkhurst, Lydia Periconi, and Kylee Rushton.
From left, Kylee Rushton, Sydney Nittle, Lydia Periconi, Jack Pigman, Max Brady, James Fordi, Kayla Flood, Olivia Hersehy, and Ranger Hightower.
Presented by Assistant Head of School Christie Grabis, the prestigious Gunston Award, which began in 1969, is “unique in that it’s chosen by the vote of the entire school community. [...] Each year, I like to describe the recipient in light of our school’s moral code, the Responsibilities of the Community. Respect: this student demonstrates deference and high regard to all he encounters. His open manner and humor help everyone feel comfortable in his presence. Every single day during morning screening this year, our team was greeted with a genuine smile and well wishes to have a good day. Responsibility for personal and academic excellence: our teachers and our coaches have watched this student develop into a confident scholar athlete who self advocates effectively.
He knows himself, he knows himself well and he seeks assistance when it's needed. As a result of his hard work, the student has earned academic honors every quarter, a member of the National Honor Society, the student models the quality of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Awareness and appreciation of differences: wherever and whenever you see this student, you find a mix of others, usually from a multitude of grades and all home towns. He’s a trusted friend that lights up a room with his presence and he makes everyone feel valued. Honesty in speech and in action: personal and academic integrity are core values that guide the student’s behavior. The needle of his moral compass always points true north. Promotion and practice of camaraderie: being selected by the vote of the entire school community is a testament to the student’s understanding and practice of friendship. It is truly my honor to present the 2021 Gunston Award to Jack Pigman.” (pictured left)
Athletic Director Jon Mellinger congratulated this year’s captains: White Team Captains Sydney Nittle and Campbell Parkhurst, and Green Team Captains Bella Adams and Max Brady before announcing that the White Team won this year’s cup.
The ceremony ended with a tribute to the retiring three “Gunston Greats” with a combined 57 years of service to the school. Ben Dize retires after more than 50 years of teaching, with the last 22 years spent at the Gunston School, teaching generations of students various intricate artistic techniques from lithography to wood carving, instilling in them a love of creative expression. Weixing Shepardson, dubbed both the toughest and most loved mathematics teacher at Gunston, retires after 19 years at Gunston. Becky Schmier, a dedicated and kind face within the administration team, made a significant impact on the lives of the entire Gunston community during her tenure as business manager of 16 years.
Isabella Webster Adams (Captain of Green Team), Zachary Richard Anderson (Moore Award for Improvement), Avy Rose Aubin (Sandra Slacum Spears English Award, State of Maryland Merit Scholastic Award), Brianna Ranae Barrett-Kennedy, Hannah Eve Beckman, Lily Marie Berntsen, Kenneth Charles Bonuccelli, Helen Abigail Boone (Science Award), Maxmillian Xavier Brady (Captain of Green Team), Suah Choi, Yongah Choi, Lydia Marie Davis, Kayla Irene Nicole Flood, James Philip Fordi, Glynis Paige Gardner, Reagan Olivia Gessford (U.S. Naval Academy Prep School, Class Representative), Olivia Louisa Hershey (Environmental Stewardship, Student Government President), Samuel Ranger Hightower, Carter Watts Janney, Erika Uta Lee, Hyunseok Lee, Emma Katherine McClary, Orion Timothy McCluskey (Senior Paradigm, Diversity Leader Award, 2021 Van Hollen Public Service Award), Erin Ann McDonald, Aidan Thomas Myers, Sydney Gail Lorraine Nittle (Anita Gruss Athletic Award, U.S. Naval Academy Appointment, Class Representative, Captain of White Team), Ethan Nathaniel Nuessle (Computer Science Award, Mathematics Award), Joseph Brennan O'Connor, Adison Dryden Parish, Campbell Hawkins Parkhurst (Capt. John P. Vest History Award, Captain of White Team), Lydia Grace Periconi (Valedictorian, State of Maryland Merit Scholastic Award, Spanish Award, Science Award, Senior Class President), Jack Ryan Pigman (The Gunston Award), Connor Kevin Reichardt, Marion Somervell Riddle (Faculty Award), Sean Patrick Riley (Class Treasurer), Kylee Whitman Rushton (Anita Gruss Athletics Award), Emily Catherine Ryon, Joshua Seth Sanford (Engineering Award), Owen Edward Santora, Severin Suhaili Schut (Theatre Award), Henry Bennett Sheets IV, Charles Robert Shifrin (Faculty Award), Henry William Shifrin (Art Award, Leadership Award, Class Vice President), Christian James Walker, Colin James Ward, Lillian Taylor Ward (Hila C. Ferguson Literature Award, Marguerite Thomas Community Service Award, Class Secretary), Phebe Lace Wood (Music Award), Hannah Margaret Worth (Senior Paradigm, Art Award), and Yi Zhang.
Sofia Angarita, Junior Symposium, Marie W. Whittico Award
Carl Melander, Immersion Award
Daniel Dang, English Language Acquisition
Summer Salos, Megan V. Batdorf Award
Kallena Kemp, Clare Poussard Award
Lucy Bamford, Paul M. Long Award
SGA Officers for 2021-2022
President: Sofia Angarita
Vice President: Damian Rene
Secretary: Maren Kneeland
Senior Class Officers for 2021-2022
President: Lucy Bamford
Vice President: Ben Cunningham
Representatives: Josh Campbell, Ainsleigh Pocock
Junior Class Officers for 2021-2022
Vice President: Autumn Watson
Secretary: Catherine Hansen
Treasurer: Julia Buchanan
Representatives: Ava Melvin, Isabelle Requena
Sophomore Class Officers for 2021-2022
President: Zoe Buzzelli
Vice President: Joanna Riley
Secretary: Jessica Hammond
Treasurer: Ava Runz
Representatives: Ben Cook, Isabella Taylor
Green & White Captains 2021-2022
GREEN: Lucy Bamford, Colin Lang
WHITE: Paige Holmes, Jude Smith