Commencement Week 2019

Senior School

Senior School Commencement

Shady Side Academy celebrated the 125 members of the Class of 2019 at Senior School Commencement Exercises on May 31, 2019. Bagpiper George Balderose led the processional, playing The March of the King of Laois. The Chamber Choir sang You Are The New Day, SSA Interim President Amy Nixon presented the Posner Award for Meritorious Faculty Performance to Chad Fularz, and Alumni Council President Mollie Hanna Lang '99 welcomed graduates to the ranks of SSA alumni. Senior Andrew Sveda announced the class gift of a comissioned piece of artwork on the six pillars near the fabrication space and corridor of the new Glimcher Tech and Design Hub. The remaining $9,000 raised by the class was gifted to the budget of Lillian Grate, the Academy's director of equity, inclusion and community relations, to further her important work. Hanwen (Hank) Lin gave the Senior Speech on curiosity, creativity and the gift that celebrates the human spirit (video below). School Head Sophie Lau addressed the graduates, and Lisa Schroeder, incoming president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, gave the graduation address (video below). After a musical interlude of Moon River by the Jazz Combo, graduates received their diplomas.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 and their families!

Class of 2019 College Decisions

Commencement Photos

Seniors Say Thank You

Senior Speech by Hanwen (Hank) Lin

Commencement Address by Lisa Schroeder

Legacy Family Photos

2019 Student Award Winners

Students Recognized on Senior Awards and Underform Awards Days - May 17 & 24, 2019

Harvard Club Award (English)

Arusha Nirvan

Irvine Prize (English)
Sanjna Narayan

Instructors’ Award (English)
Lucie Green

Bill Avner Creative Writing Prize
Oliver Henry, Eliyah Roberts, Ariel Rockman, Aidan Shilling

English Department Achievement Award
Krystyna Rytel

German Prizes
Megan Hrach

Nicholas Brastins Barnes Memorial World Language Prize
Charles Sherk

George Byron Waldrop Latin Prize
Adam Bozzone

Josiah L. Goldsmith Prize (French)
Elise Lehman

Peacock Chinese Prize
Jonathan Hung

Spanish Award
Nicholas Lauer

Peter John Gray Language Prize
Zhuoxin Ma

M.A. Cancelliere Economics Prize
Samuel Kaplan

Joseph P. Pavlovich Mathematics Achievement Prize
Yunsong Liu

Ted Leaman Prize in Mathematics
Nathan Jyachosky, Isabella Faiello

Leaman/Botti Math & Science Prize
Brooke Dickey

Mathematics and Science Award
Yuchen Liang

David R. Weill III Science Award
Zewei Wu

Bausch and Lomb Award (Science)
Maya Groff

Merle M. Alexander Prize (Science)
Nicole Jani

Miller Award (Science)
Adam Bozzone, Emmie Lau, Yunsong Liu

George Baton Scheetz History Prize
Andrew Sveda

Robert D. Abercrombie Prize in American History
Giridhar Viswanathan

Sauers Prize in History
Hongji Lu

Thornton Oakley Award (Creative Art)
Rachele Whitehead

Visual Arts Instructors’ Award
Sanjna Narayan

William C. Nealon Award
Lilith Scheele

National School Orchestra Award
Mark Appleman, Amanda Zeng

National School Choral Award
Riya Agrawal, Nicholas Sawicki

John Philip Sousa Band Award
Lev Ivanov, Jonathan Vuchinich

Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
Caitlin Mulvihill, Koji Shimada

E. Bruce Hill Jr. Memorial Prize
Ariel Rockman

Gargoyle Club Award
Maxwell Minard

Gargoyle Society Award
Lucie Green

Special Gargoyle Award
Oliver Chetlin, Caitlin Mulvihill

Todd Drelles Memorial Prize
Koji Shimada

Roy Arthur Hunt Sr. Computer Science Award
Yunsong Liu

Twelve Season Varsity Letter
Emmie Lau, Abigail Todd

Dartmouth Award
Skyy Moore, Abigail Todd

All-Round Cup
Nicholas Lauer

Raphael M. Sotak Honors
Form VI – Mark Appleman, Alex Bellinotti, Ella Benec, Amanda Bunje, Aaron Glass, Thomas Spiker
Form V – Nicole Caputo, Albert Hoe, Julia Lazzaris, William Roberson, Eliyah Roberts, Adeline Todd
Form IV – Alexander Biglan, Sophia Levin, Charlotte McDaniel, Aubrey Suttelle, Jack Thornton, Xinru Yang
Form III – Ariella Avigad, Jaidan Fahrny, Jack Hathaway, Gloria Mancilla-Balog, Wilson Todd, Sophia White

McCollum Jones Boarder Prizes
Matthew Cottiero, Croft House; Amanda Bunje, Morewood House

2018 Parkin Fellow Awards
Akshay Amesur, Djibril Branche, Ariana Goitz, Shreya Gulati, Sonya Hammer, Nicholas Lauer, Sanjna Narayan, Hannah Price, Giri Viswanathan

Stephen Michael Shenkan Memorial Award
Catherine Sparvero

Yale Award
Maya Groff

Centennial Class Award
Caitlin Mulvihill

Aurelian Award
Nicholas Lauer

Walter Martin Lester Memorial Award
Jeramaya Gramby

Joseph Bole Hare Steffey Memorial Award
Andrew Sveda

Edward Ernest Ebbert Memorial Award
Emmie Lau

Lowell Innes Award
Brooklynne Lowry

President’s Prize
Ronan O'Connor

John C. Buchanan Prize
Adam Bozzone

John Daniel Baum Prize
Nicholas Lauer

Raymond F. Arnheim Memorial Award
Charles Sherk, Andrew Sveda

Richard S. and Kenneth L. Simon Award
Catherine Jewart

The Class of 2000 Award
Trinity Murphy

John Baglier Class of 1997 Scholarship Award
Emmie Lau

Alfred C. Dickey Memorial Prize
Adam Bozzone

Middle School

Middle School Closing Exercises

The Class of 2023 was officially promoted to the Senior School on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at Middle School Closing Exercises. The 77 eighth grade students processed into the McKnight Hockey Center to Pomp and Circumstance, played by the Middle School Concert Band, followed by band performances of The Star Spangled Banner and Colonel Bogey March. After a welcome from Interim Academy President Amy Nixon, a number of awards were presented by Interim Middle School Head Brian Johnston to students and faculty, including the Vasko Award to sixth grade English teacher Pamela Onest. The Eighth Grade Chorus performed Seasons of Love, and the Eighth Grade String Ensemble performed Over the Rainbow. The Form II Class Gift Committee donated funds to the school's efforts to purchase more outside play equipment. Form II student speaker Elizabeth Kamin shared her insight on "how to survive middle school" (video below). Senior School Head Sophie Lau officially welcomed the class to the Senior School, and then the graduates received their certificates.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 and their families!

Closing Exercises Photos

Form II Speaker Elizabeth Kamin

2019 Student Award Winners

Students Recognized at Closing Exercises - June 5, 2019

Willard E. Mead English Award
Monica Singh

Charles P. Shriver Mathematics Award
David M. Mnuskin

Robert B. Stiffler Athletic Award
Girls – Emily Q. Michaelsen
Boys – James S. Bernier

Betsy H. Watkins Form II Improvement Award
Daniela M. Strauss

E. Bruce Hill Memorial Award
Benjamin J. Rohr

David A. Mancosh Award
Elaine Y. GombosForm II Art Award
Ella Gardner

Form II Computer Literacy Award
Ian Z. Kamenov

Form II Latin Award
Elizabeth G. Kamin

Form II Socratic Seminar Award
Thomas M. Certo

Form II Mathematics Achievement Award
Algebra I – Hannah Song
Geometry – Miyu Yamane

Form II Music Awards
Chorus – Elaine Y. Gombos, Benjamin J. Rohr
String Ensemble – Ella Gardner
Band – Miyu Yamane
Jazz Band – Grant Cummings
 
Form II Environmental Science Award

Emily Q. Michaelsen

Form II Physics 1 Science Award
Miyu Yamane

Form II Social Studies Award
Delaney P. Mulderig

Form II Spanish Award
Elaine Y. Gombos

Form II Spanish 2 Award
Nichole N. Poltinnikov

Form II Chinese Award
Alexander G. Lynn

Form II Fall Drama Awards
Actress – Elaine Y. Gombos
Actor – David E. Glass

Form II Winter Musical Awards
Actress – Chelsea T. Kaufmann
Actor – Benjamin J. Rohr

Form II Dramatics Club Achievement Award
Elizabeth G. Kamin

Students Recognized at Academic Awards - June 3, 2019

Grade 6 and Form I (Grade 7) Academic Awards

Art
Grade 6 – Christo Kennedy, Jordan Roupe
Form I – Caden Green

English
Grade 6 – Anya Jain
Form I –Alexa Karet

Language
Form I Chinese – Sara Laman
Form I Latin – Sadie Navid
Form I Spanish – Elliott Scheri

Math
Improvement, Grade 6 – Annabel O'Brien
Improvement in Pre-Algebra, Form I – Tyrone Gilliard Jr. 
Achievement, Grade 6 – Jordan Roupe
Achievement in Pre-Algebra, Form I – Caden Green
Achievement in Algebra, Form I – Harihar Viswanathan

Music
Grade 6 Band – Anna Apetrei-Pandrea
Grade 6 Jazz Band – Rishil Saxena
Grade 6 String Ensemble – Jasper Chapman
Grade 6 Chorus – Navya Arora, William Ghaznavi
Form I Band – Samuel Benning
Form I Jazz Band – Caden Green
Form I String Ensemble – Sadie Navid
Form I Chorus – Marley Grandizio, Amir Awais

Science
Grade 6 – Shaurya Gulati
Form I – Harihar Viswanathan

Social Studies
Geography, Grade 6 – Tommy Kann
Young Historian, Grade 6 – Shane Trabulsi
Outstanding Historian, Form I – Pedro da Silva

Other Awards and Honors

Grade 6 Academic Award
Ava Terezis

Betty C. Labun Citizenship Award
Jeffrey Brunner

Blanche C. Wick Mathematics Award
Shaurya Gulati

Audrey Ashworth 6th Grade Improvement Award
Harrison Kelson

Erwin W. Cole Award
Sara Laman

Form I Improvement Award
Lizzie Uhlman

David McNaugher Marsh Memorial Award
Sadie Navid

A number of students also were recognized for their performances on the AMC8 Mathematics Contest (7 students), Pennsylvania Math League Contest (18 students), Youth Learners Chinese Test (12 students), National Spanish Exam (59 students), and National Latin Exam (19 students).

Junior School

Junior School Closing Exercises & Moving-Up day

Students in grades PK-5 celebrated the end of the year and fifth grade graduation at Junior School Closing Exercises and Moving-Up Day on June 4, 2019. The 30 members of the Class of 2026 processed to Pomp & Circumstance, and Interim Academy President Amy Nixon welcomed everyone. The Instrumental Ensemble played Sorry and the Vocal Ensemble sang A Million Dreams. The Parents' Association celebrated the retirement of Janice Brozek, Ruth Ann Modic and Diane Oshnock. School Head Ellen McConnell Sanderson addressed the graduates before they received their certificates, and Interim Middle School Head Brian Johnston welcomed them to the Middle School. Students sang the all-school song On the Loose and watched a highlight video of the 2018-2019 school year. Fifth graders passed their medallions down to the fourth graders, signaling new leadership at the Junior School, and the student body sang The Moving-Up Song. As the ceremony ended, the graduates walked out past the Junior School faculty, receiving lots of hugs along the way. A reception for graduates was held on the primary playground.

Congratulations to the Class of 2026 and their families!

Closing Exercises & Moving-Up Day Photos

Year-End Video

Fifth Grade Night of Wonder Photos

Country Day School

COUNTRY DAY School Closing Exercises

Students in grades PK-5 celebrated the end of the school year and fifth grade graduation at Country Day School Closing Exercises on June 3, 2019. The 14 members of the Class of 2026 processed into the chapel, as the ceremony opened with the songs Morning Has Broken and the alma mater and a welcome by Interim Academy President Amy Nixon. After a  reading by Rev. Alex Shuttleworth, Head of School Dr. Jennifer Asmonga introduced the Honorable Karen Dunn Kelly, deputy secretary of commerce, who gave the graduation address. Fifth graders received their graduation certificates from Dr. Asmonga and Assistant Head of School Michael Commendatore. The entire student body joined in singing the school song, and Interim Middle School Head Brian Johnston welcomed fifth graders to the Middle School. The ceremony closed with the song The Garden Song. A reception was held outside following the ceremony.

Congratulations to the Class of 2026 and their families!

Closing Exercises Photos

Spring Show Photos

Faculty & Staff Awards & Honors

Faculty & Staff Awards and Honors

A number of awards are presented annually during Commencement Week and Closing Days to recognize excellence, dedication and service by SSA faculty and staff.

The Posner Award for Meritorious Faculty Performance

Thanks to the generosity of the late Henry Posner Jr. ’37 and the Posner family, the Academy has extended the Posner Award for Meritorious Faculty Performance to 28 faculty members since 2004. The purpose of the Posner Award is “to recognize, inspire and reward those faculty members at Shady Side Academy who, through their special ‘gift of teaching’ and mentoring, have affected, in a highly special way, the learning, development and lives of one or more individual students. This award, presuming as it does a high quality of teaching in all Shady Side faculty, recognizes and honors a teacher of transcendent influence, one whose impact on a particular student or group of students has been uniquely beneficial and enduring.”

Amy Nixon and Chad FularzChad Fularz, Senior School Math Teacher
Chad Fularz has taught mathematics at the Senior School since 1998. He served as the Form VI dean from 2011-2016 and is currently the chair of the Math Department.

Described by a former student as “patient, positive and a huge supporter of his students,” Fularz is often credited for building student’s confidence and self-worth. One parent stated, “My son genuinely respects and likes Mr. Fularz as a person because he is compassionate, knowledgeable and clearly respects his students.”

Another former student said, “Mr. Fularz epitomizes a measured and kind teaching attitude in the difficult subject of mathematics. I’m positive that he has tremendously influenced many students through his supportive nature, both in and out of the classroom, just as he as influenced me. Thank you, Mr. Fularz.”

Amy Nixon and Janice BrozekJanice Brozek, Junior School Kindergarten Teacher
Janice Brozek taught at the Junior School for 23 years and is now embarking on a well-earned retirement. Known for her attentiveness, kindness and encouraging nature, Brozek is credited for helping students delight in learning at an early age. 

 “Mrs. Brozek is keenly observant of each child. She pays close attention to how a child is progressing in class, both academically and socially. By knowing each child so well individually, she is able to motivate and challenge a child when such guidance is needed the most and in the way that is most effective for that child,” stated one parent.

One parent stated, “Mrs. Brozek has nurtured and encouraged my son, and as a result, he is confident and excited about learning. He likes school because he has a supportive and caring teacher.”

Michael J. Farrell Chair for Support of Faculty Compensation and Professional Growth

This endowed chair funds seven annual awards for outstanding faculty. This year’s Exceptional Interactions With Students Awards went to Junior School First Grade Teacher Christina Rowan and Senior School History Department Chair Kyle Smith. Going Above and Beyond Awards went to Middle School Spanish Teacher Andrea Cespedes and Junior School Spanish Teacher Tiffanee Peterson. Innovative Educator Awards went to Middle School Chinese Teacher Mandy Fong, Country Day School Third Grade Teacher Laura Greif and Senior School Science Teacher Dr. Devon Renock.

Class of ’61 Faculty Award for Excellence

This award, established in 2011 in honor of the Class of 1961’s 50th reunion, recognizes an exemplary and dedicated Senior School teacher in his or her first or second year who shows the promise of an extended career and has made significant contributions to students and colleagues. This year's winner was Senior School College Counselor Lucas Frankel.

Kenneth M. Raymond Vasko Memorial Award

This award is presented annually to a Middle School teacher who has made a lasting impression upon his or her students by helping to develop their characters as well as their minds. This year's winner was Middle School English Teacher Pamela Onest.

Ruth and F. Walter Jones Service Prize

This prize is awarded to a member of the SSA community who, by willing and selfless service, has contributed to the quality of the Academy and enriched it by example. This year's winner was Senior School Admissions Assistant Vanessa Cannon.

President’s Award for Distinguished Staff Service

This is awarded to an individual who has exemplified the heights of excellence on a day-to-day basis through their actions, job performance, work ethic and positive relationships with colleagues. This year’s winner was Senior School Facilities member Thomas Szymkiewicz.

25 Years of Service

Five faculty/staff members were recognized for their 25 years of service to the Academy:

Phyllis Guering
Junior School Librarian

Anthony Goodwin
Senior School Visual Arts Teacher

Katie Mihm '83
Director of Enrollment Management

Susan Short
Middle School Mathematics Teacher

David Szlachetka
Senior School Computer Science Teacher

Retiring Faculty/Staff

Nine faculty/staff members retired in 2019 after a combined 247 years of service to the Academy:

Janice Brozek
Junior School Kindergarten Teacher, 1996-2019 (23 years)

Mary Krauland 
Senior School Dean of Studies, 1979-2019 (40 years)

Cindy Mino
Manager of Compensation and Benefits, 1996-2019 (23 years)

Edwin Mitesser
Bus Driver, 1992-2019 (27 years)

Ruth Ann Modic
Junior School Instrumental Music Teacher, 1990-2019 (29 years)

Diane Oshnock
Junior School Administrative Assistant to the Head of School, 2002-2019 (17 years)

Francesco Veneziano
Campus Security Guard, 1998-2019 (21 years)

Eric Zentgraf
Ground Superintendent, 1996-2019 (23 years)

Michele Zentgraf
Senior School Assistant to the Deans, 1987-2019 (32 years)