Commencement Week 2018

Senior School

Senior School Commencement

Shady Side Academy celebrated the 131 members of the Class of 2018 at Senior School Commencement Exercises on June 8, 2018. Bagpiper George Balderose led the processional, playing The March of the King of Laois. The Chamber Choir sang You Are The New Day, and Rev. Thomas E. Johnson Jr. '73 gave the invocation. SSA President Tom Cangiano presented the Posner Award for Meritorious Faculty Performance to music teacher Stan Nevola, and Alumni Council President Roland Criswell '95 welcomed graduates to the ranks of SSA alumni. Senior Robby Sveda announced the class gift of new tables and chairs for the library and a sign for the new café planned for Memorial Hall. Henry Friedlander gave the Senior Speech, reflecting on the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new passions (video below). School Head Sophie Lau addressed the graduates, and Bill Strickland Jr., president and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, gave the graduation address (video below). After a musical interlude of Rivers and Roads by the Jazz Combo, graduates received their diplomas.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018 and their families!

Class of 2018 College Decisions

Commencement Photos

Seniors Say Thank You

Senior Speech by Henry Friedlander

Legacy Family Photos

Commencement Address by Bill Strickland Jr.

2018 Prize Winners

Students Honored on Prize Day - June 7, 2018

Harvard Club Award (English)

Ariel Rockman

Irvine Prize (English)
Emmie Lau

Instructors’ Award (English)
Charlotte Everett

Bill Avner Creative Writing Prize
Henry Friedlander, Emily Weiss

English Department Achievement Award
Matthew Savin

German Prizes
German 1 – Adelaide Schiller
German 2 – George Grune
German 3 – Johnny Lu
German 4/5 – Kevin Liu

Nicholas Brastins Barnes Memorial World Language Prize
Fuad Youssef

George Byron Waldrop Latin Prize
Maxwell Kurke

Josiah L. Goldsmith Prize (French)
Margaret Gerlach

First-Year French Prize
Catherine Sparvero

Chinese Prize
Jonathan Hung

Peacock Chinese Prize
Abigail Todd

Beginning Spanish Prize
Jack Thornton, Jason Wu

Advanced Spanish Prize
Jennifer Jaffe

Peter John Gray Language Prize
Arusha Nirvan, Cameron Casey

M.A. Cancelliere Economics Prize
Jennifer Jaffe

Joseph P. Pavlovich Mathematics Achievement Prize
Marie Kim

Ted Leaman Prize in Mathematics
Jack Naughton, Brooklynne Lowry

Leaman/Botti Math & Science Prize
Skyy Moore

RPI Certificate (Math and Science)
Adam Bozzone

David R. Weill III Science Awards
Alyssa Colen, Emma Filchock, Hannah Romoff, Jack Thorton, Jason Vasko, Jason Wu, Raymond Zheng

Science Department Prize
Charles Brunner

Bausch and Lomb Award (Science)
Nicholas Lauer

Merle M. Alexander Prize (Science)
Shaila Fye

Miller Award (Science)
Heather Grune

George Baton Scheetz History Prize
Fuad Youssef

Robert D. Abercrombie Prize in American History
Adam Bozzone

Sauers Prize in History
Julia Zoratto

Thornton Oakley Award (Creative Art)
Kenneth Gray

Visual Arts Instructors’ Award
Eliana Gagnon

William C. Nealon Award
Cloris Cai

National School Orchestra Award
Kevin Liu

National School Choral Award
Antoni Yotov

John Philip Sousa Band Award
Francis Fuhrer

Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
Ashvin Dhawan

E. Bruce Hill Jr. Memorial Prize
Isabel Calihan

Gargoyle Club Award
Andrew Sveda

Gargoyle Society Award
Felicia Devorris

Special Gargoyle Award
Julia Zoratto

Todd Drelles Memorial Prize
Emily Weiss

Roy Arthur Hunt Sr. Computer Science Award
Fuad Youssef

Dartmouth Award

Eliza Worrall

All-Round Cup
Jeanne Lauer

Ralph M. Sotak Honors
Form VI – Margaret Gerlach, Heather Grune, Joshua Morrow, Ezekyel Roberts, Shwetha Shinju
Form V – Brendan McLaughlin, Erin Simard, Josephine Szlachetka, Abigail Todd, Gabriella White
Form IV – Alyssa Bockman, Charles Brunner, Luisa Frahm, David Liang, Sanjna Narayan
Form III – Alyssa Colen, Watts Coulter, Zhuoxin Ma, Catherine Sparvero, Nicholas Zana, Raymond Zheng

Charlene G. Blair Service Learning Prize
Rachel Winterhalter

McCollum Jones Boarder Prizes
Jackson Clark, Croft House
Leila Skinner, Morewood House

2017 Parkin Fellow Awards
Sophia Del Sole, Shaila Fye, Jeanne Lauer, Shivam Patel, Shwetha Shinju, Leila Skinner, Christian Taylor

Stephen Michael Shenkan Memorial Award
Sean Kelley

Yale Award
Emmie Lau

Centennial Class Award
Robert Sveda

Aurelian Award
Henry Friedlander

Walter Martin Lester Memorial Award
Eliza Worrall

Joseph Bole Hare Steffey Memorial Award
Nicholas Becker

Edward Ernest Ebbert Memorial Award
Jeanne Lauer

Lowell Innes Award
Chester Todd

President’s Prize
Charlotte Everett

John C. Buchanan Prize
Fuad Youssef

John Daniel Baum Prize
Charlotte Everett

Raymond F. Arnheim Memorial Award
Madeleine Condron

Richard S. and Kenneth L. Simon Award
Rebecca Huss

Alfred C. Dickey Memorial Prizes
Xinran Wang, Raymond Zheng

Princeton Alumni Awards
Form V – Connor Leemhuis
Form IV – Arusha Nirvan
Form III – Xinran Wang, Raymond Zheng

Middle School

Middle School Closing Exercises

The Class of 2022 was officially promoted to the Senior School on Thursday, June 7, 2018, at Middle School Closing Exercises. The 79 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 Celtic Air and Dance. After a welcome from President Tom Cangiano, a number of awards were presented by Middle School Head Amy Nixon to students and faculty, including the Raymond Vasco Award to sixth grade social studies teacher Molly Braver '94. The Eighth Grade Chorus performed Home, and the Eighth Grade String Ensemble performed The Avengers. The Form II Class Gift Committee presented the school with funds for a new gaga ball pit. Form II student speaker Braden Crow reflected on the Middle School experience and how coming to SSA impacted his life (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 2022 and their families!

Closing Exercises Photos

Form II Speaker Braden Crow

2018 Prize Winners

Students Recognized at Closing Exercises - June 7, 2018

E. Bruce Hill Award

Ava C. Kronman

David A. Mancosh Award
Cecelia R. Messner

Betsy Watkins Form II Improvement Award
Breonna J. Greene

Form II Art Award
Breonna J. Greene

Form II Computer Literacy Award
Delaynie Y. McMillan

Willard E. Mead English Award
Sydney M. Demchak

Form II Latin Award
Braden M. Crow

Form II Mathematics Achievement Award
Algebra I – Lochlan L. McGinnis
Algebra II – Anker B. Zhao
Geometry – Prayag C. Vemulapalli

Charles P. Shriver Mathematics Award
Meredith A. Rath

Form II Music Awards
Chorus – Sydney M. Demchak, Benjamin Runnette
String Ensemble – Hector B. Lampert-Bates
Band – Eli T. Naughton
Jazz Band – Andrew C. Marous

Form II Environmental Science Award

Dylan J. Green

Form II Physics 1 Science Award
Delaynie Y. McMillan

Form II Social Studies Award
Nico J. Zazzera

Form II Spanish Award
Lauren N. Jochims

Form II Spanish 2 Award
Lars M. Barkman, Samuel L. Farner

Form II Chinese Award
Thompson S. Lau

Robert B. Stiffler Athletic Award

Girls – Cecelia R. Messner
Boys – Thompson S. Lau

Fall Drama Awards
Actress – Ariya P. Tayal
Actor – Braden M. Crow

Winter Musical Awards
Actress – Marnie McCormick
Actor – Benjamin J. Rohr

Dramatics Club Achievement Award
Isabel A. Brunner

Students Recognized at Academic Awards - June 6, 2018

Grade 6 and Form I (Grade 7) Academic Awards

Grade 6 – Sadie Navid
Form I – Emma Gardner

Improvement, Grade 6 – Maxwell Kaizer
Improvement in Pre-Algebra, Form I – Louis Patterson
Achievement, Grade 6 – Caden Green
Achievement in Pre-Algebra, Form I – Charles Stafford
Achievement in Algebra, Form I – Miyu Yamane

Form I Chinese – Alexander Lynn
Form I Latin – Emma Gardner
Form I Spanish – Tiba Bakuri

Grade 6 – Harihar Viswanathan
Form I – Elaine Gombos

Social Studies
Geography, Grade 6 – Harihar Viswanathan, Andrew McKim, Madeira Semins, Chelsea Hartman, Elana Sobol, Jackson Suski
Young Historian, Grade 6 – Deven Nahata
Outstanding Historian, Form I – Benjamin Rohr

Grade 6 Band – Otis Liu
Grade 6 Jazz Band – Joseph Krokosky
Grade 6 String Ensemble – Sadie Navid
Grade 6 Chorus – Amir Awais, Marley Grandizo
Form I Band – Grant Cummings
Form I Jazz Band – Miyu Yamane
Form I String Ensemble – Emma Gardner
Form I Chorus – Charles Stafford, Nichole Poltinnikov

Grade 6 – Elliott Scheri, Lily Beth Kuhn
Form I – Grant Anderson

Community Service
Form II – Emma Lammert, Hailey Flaherty

Other Awards and Honors

Betty C. Labun Citizenship Award
Sara Laman

Audrey Ashworth 6th Grade Improvement Award
Leo Rickard

Erwin W. Cole Award
Elaine Gombos

Form I Improvement Award
Tiba Bakuri

David McNaugher Marsh Memorial Award
Benjamin Rohr

6th Grade Academic Award
Harihar Viswanathan

Blanche C. Wick Mathematics Award
Harihar Viswanathan

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 5, 2018. The 27 members of the Class of 2025 processed to Pomp & Circumstance, and President Tom Cangiano welcomed everyone. Cangiano presented the Posner Award for Meritorious Faculty Performance to first grade teacher Carol Hendershot, and the Parents' Association presented her with a special retirement gift. Fifth graders played West Boulevard Rock on their instruments and sang Daisy Dreams before presenting the precepts, or life lessons, they learned from their favorite books as part of the Night of Wonderful Themes project. School Head Ellen McConnell Sanderson addressed the graduates before they received their certificates, and incoming 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 2017-2018 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 in the library.

Congratulations to the Class of 2025 and their families!

Closing Exercises & Moving-Up Day Photos

End of Year Video

Fifth Grade Night of Wonderful Themes 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 4, 2018. The 14 members of the Class of 2025 processed into the chapel, as the ceremony opened with the songs Lift Your Voice and Sing God's Praises and America the Beautiful. After a pair of readings by students, Rev. Alex Shuttleworth and faculty member David Geyer addressed the graduates and students. Fifth graders received their graduation certificates from School Head Sharon Smith and fifth grade teacher Michael Commendatore and sang The Difference. Then the entire student body joined in singing the school song, and the ceremony closed with the song Precious Friends. A reception was held outside following the ceremony.

Congratulations to the Class of 2025 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.”

Tom Cangiano and Carol HendershotCarol Hendershot, Junior School First Grade Teacher
Carol Hendershot has seen plenty of changes in her 29 years at SSA and now embarks on a well-earned retirement. Change is sometimes hard for teachers who have been at a school a long time, but never for Mrs. Hendershot. Always willing to try new things, she is constantly evaluating her teaching and adapting her practice to ensure students are engaged in learning. Her classroom interactions with students are highly respectful, reflecting warmth, caring and sensitivity. The result is an environment where all students feel valued and comfortable taking intellectual risks. Her faculty colleagues speak of her with the utmost respect and praise, saying that it has been a privilege to work alongside her and learn from her. As one colleague put it, "Carol always saw the good in every student. She brought out their best qualities and helped them polish their rough edges ... first grade will forever hold her spirit."

Stan Nevola and Tom CangianoStanley Nevola, Senior School Music Teacher
Gifted, passionate, inspiring. These are all words used by members of the SSA community who nominated Stan Nevola for the Posner Award. These nominations describe a teacher and mentor who pushes and challenges his students, but does so with patience and kindness that never falter. They speak of his dedication to music, to students, to the Academy and to lifelong learning. They speak of his generosity, especially with his time and expertise, both of which he will share with any student who wants to explore, expand or enhance his or her musical skill and individuality. They speak of his genuine concern and caring for every student who crosses his path. These qualities, and so much more, have caused him to have a life-changing influence on many of our Shady Side students.

Michel J. Farrell Chair for Support of Faculty Compensation and Professional Growth in Honor of Thomas N. Southard, President (2001-2010)

This endowed chair funds seven annual awards for outstanding faculty. This year’s Exceptional Interactions With Students Awards went to Middle School English teacher Camille MacRae and Senior School English teacher Jeff Miller. Going Above and Beyond Awards went to Middle School music teacher and admission director Jeff Gross, Country Day School first grade teacher Valerie Rice and Senior School math teacher Ryan Logue. Innovative Educator Awards went to Junior School art teacher Ashley Irwin and Senior School science teacher Leah Powers.

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 English teacher Jacki Weaver.

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 social studies teacher Molly Braver.

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 Development Assistant Betty Herrington.

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 Facilities staff member Joe Perry.

25 Years of Service Award
An award recognizing 25 years of service to the Academy went to Facilities staff member Frank Burger.

Retiring Faculty

Three members of the SSA faculty retired in 2018 after teaching for a combined 92 years:

Richard Gable
Senior School Science Teacher, 1974-2018
In addition to teaching chemistry, Richard Gable also served as associate head of school, dean of students, director of the advisory program, director of residential life, dean of faculty, director of professional development and registrar at the Senior School.

Carol Hendershot
Junior School First Grade Teacher, 1989-2018
Carol Hendershot taught third grade for four years before moving to first grade, where she has taught for the last 25 years at the Junior School.

Sharon Smith
Country Day School Head, 1999-2018
Sharon Smith joined Country Day School as a pre-kindergarten teacher and also served as director of admission and associate head of school before becoming head of school in 2012.

New Faculty Emeriti

Seven former faculty members were granted membership into the Society of Faculty Emeriti in 2018:

Karen Clarke
Junior School Music Teacher, 1968-2011

William Diehl
Senior School Science Teacher, 1971-2011

Angela Irvine
Senior School English Teacher, 1972-2015

William McCabe
Middle School Social Studies Teacher, 1974-2014

Frank McCarthy
Senior School Math Teacher, 1977-2012

Dr. Michael O'Neil
Middle School Social Studies Teacher, 1976-2014

Dr. John Sutula
Senior School Math and Philosophy Teacher, 1979-2014