Derby Academy celebrated the academic, athletic, and artistic excellence and social responsibility of outstanding Grade 8 students at Last Chapel on Tuesday, June 11.
Head of School Joseph Perry welcomed guests to Larson Hall, reflecting on the 2018-2019 academic year, as well as the theme of compassion he emphasized at the beginning of the school year:
“To the Class of 2019, ‘thank you.’ You have shown compassion for each other, you have modeled compassion for your pals, other underclassmen, and your community. I now challenge each and every one of you, to bring your Derby foundation to each one of your new schools and continue to spread what you have experienced here at Derby to others. At times it may be difficult to have the confidence to always move forward, but please know your Derby experience will serve you well in the future.
You must continue to improve your minds, so keep them open. Learn how you can help make a difference in this world. Always continue to improve your own hearts. Spread your compassion and your desire to help others to your new school and your new peers. Put yourself in somebody else's shoes and make them feel good – this will truly make a difference in people's lives.
I commend and congratulate all of you all on a wonderful year and career at Derby. Whether it’s been in the classroom, the playing fields, or in the arts, you have all excelled. I feel honored to have been with all of you for the past four years along your journey.”
Book awards were given to Grade 7 students who had achieved an A- or higher in all major courses with a B+ or higher in Advanced Math. Grade 7 student Kevin Farmer was announced as the recipient of the Edward R. Foley Citizenship Prize. Named in honor of former Headmaster Edward R. Foley, this prize is awarded to a seventh-grade student “who has exhibited the principle of respect, acceptance and kindness towards others, consistent with the School’s two centuries old motto to ‘Improve Both Mind and Heart.’”
Additionally, the following awards were presented this year:
Elvira Butterworth Prize for History
This prize is given to an eighth grade student who has demonstrated their genuine interest and love of history through enthusiasm and promise as a student.
Presented to Charlotte Wolford
Susan Feins ’85 Prize for Excellence in Science
Given in memory of former eighth grader, Susan Feins, and is awarded to a current eighth grader in recognition of consistent effort, curiosity, and high level of proficiency in science.
Presented to Trew Strong
Francis Ranieri Mathematics Award
This prize is presented to an eighth grader in recognition of special aptitude for, and a high level of proficiency and interest, in mathematics.
Presented to Rahina Abubakar
Wheelwright Family Prize in English
The prize is given to an eighth grader for excellence in writing.
Presented to Jessica Fisher
Michael J. Connelly Latin Prize
This prize is presented to the eighth-grade student who, in the opinion of the instructor, displays a depth of understanding and a passion for Latin studies. The recipient may not actually be the student with the highest grade in the class but is one who through a distinctive level of effort, enthusiasm, and excellence has climbed “AD ASTRA PER ASPERA,” through adversity to the stars. This student has gained a deep appreciation for the language and culture of ancient Rome and knows that Latin is still alive and well.
Presented to Tanner Burnett
The Martignetti Prize in Modern Languages
This prize for Modern World Languages is awarded to the eighth-grade student of French or Spanish whose passion for the language has led to consistently superior achievement. A high level of academic maturity is evident in his/her growing appreciation for the learning process. Throughout the course of study, this student has distinguished herself/himself by sincere effort and enthusiasm for the culture as well as the language. She/he can expect to continue to be rewarded for her/his mastery of communication skills in a global society.
Presented to AJ Cashman and Henry Synnestvedt
Coyle-Driscoll Art Prize
The prize is awarded to an eighth grader for creativity, innovation, self-expression, experimentation, or technical proficiency in singular or multiple artistic mediums.
Presented to Jackson Landy
Zildjian Music Award
Established by the Zildjian family in 1997, this award is given to an Upper School student who has demonstrated the love of music through exceptional effort, enthusiasm, and positive attitude.
Presented to John Bernatavicius
E. Brooks Robbins Coaches Award
Awarded to a Derby coach to acknowledge his or her hard work, dedication, time, and effort working with students and athletes.
Presented to longtime hockey coach Ted Anastos P’13,’15,’19
Susan Feins Award
Awarded to an eighth-grade girl who recognizes courage and determination in girls’ athletics.
Presented to Eliza Sadhwani
Grade 8 Spirit Awards
Presented to Leighton Kelly and Jessica Fisher
Spirit Team Recognition
Presented to Amelia Compson, and Eliza Farley, and AJ Cashman and Calder Perry
AJ Cashman and Jessica Fisher,the two academically top-ranked Grade 8 students, were announced as the Derby Day Parade Marshalls, and will lead the procession on graduation day.
Sophia Fawcett ’18 announced the Grade 8 class gift of creating an outdoor classroom space and improving access to Broad Cove.
Eliza Sadhwanidelivered the Grade 8 Address, reflecting on her classmates, her time at Derby, as well as the important lessons of facing one’s fears, welcoming change, and finding motivation to overcome challenges.
“Fear has been a lifelong challenge, always telling me ‘I can’t,’” she said. “Fear has held me in its grip so many times in my life that I finally decided to hold it in my grasp and use it to motivate me instead… Challenge and fear, there will always be something new to scare or test us. However, positive thinking, hard work, perseverance and self-discovery can help us overcome them… Challenges can actually push us and help us to achieve our goals.”
Sadhwani continued, adding “For most of us, Derby is a safe harbor, a place we felt happy and where we have overcome most of our lives' challenges. And now, it’s time for us to go. The unknown of high school and the future are so exciting, but, of course, with that excitement comes fear. We do not need to fear change. We do not need to fear challenges. We do not need to fear the unknown...I encourage not only my graduating class, but also all of you to remember this to help you succeed in the next chapter of your life. Persevere, be creative, think positively, step out your comfort zone, do something that you fear and lean on the people who care about you, because that is the class of 2019 recipe for success.”
Head of Primary and Lower School Scot Chandler and Upper School art faculty member Mary Ellen Olson delivered the faculty address, reflecting on the personal and academic growth they have witnessed in each of the graduates, as well as the virtues of Derby they have witnessed in the graduating class’ athletic, artistic, and academic prowess.
Mr. Chandler and Ms. Olson recalled a STEM project the students began in the fifth grade: planting daffodils around campus and carefully wrapping the bulbs with a note describing their hopes and dreams for the future. “Well, here you are today, looking poised and grown up,” Ms. Olson said. “So hopeful for the future ahead!”
After sharing some humorous anecdotes and fond memories, the two speakers concluded with sharing some words of wisdom to the graduating class:
“Wherever the future takes you, home will always be the place where you feel supported. Think back to the daffodils you planted that have multiplied each year and have given us a splash of color on an early spring day. Daffodils are dependable and self-sufficient. They can easily out-live the person who planted them. Like you, daffodils are strong and support each other through the wind and rain. They’re a symbol of hope and new beginnings. Mr. Chandler and I hope you will continue to spread your color in the world. Take all of your life skills and use them to your advantage. Go after everything you’ve dreamed of...We will miss all of you!”
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2019!