The Peck School Celebrates 2012 Commencement Ceremony
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 • 1:41pm
The Peck School graduated thirty-nine eighth grade students on June 15, 2012, amidst much cheering, camaraderie, and deep sense of accomplishment.
The Class of 2012 welcomed back to campus Mr. J. Walker Kirby, Jr. (Peck ’08, The Lawrenceville School ’12), son of Karen and Jeff Kirby of New Vernon, as their Alumni Commencement Speaker. Mr. Kirby graduated cum laude from Lawrenceville, and will attend Harvard University in the fall.
Miss Isabel Gibbons, daughter of Meredith and Jeffrey Gibbons of Bernardsville, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2012, reading an essay she wrote according to the international “This I Believe” project, which engages people worldwide to describe the values that guide their daily lives. She likened how she was taught values at Peck to applying sunscreen—a supportive, nurturing, and protective process; all to make students ready for challenges later in life.
“The graduating eighth grader in us knows to take a moment to apply some sunscreen, to weigh immediate gratification versus a moment of common sense,” she said. Miss Gibbons will attend St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire in the fall.
Miss Kathryn Coyne, Student Council President and daughter of Christine and Robert Coyne of Denville, presented the Class Gift to the School—the commissioning of a mural to be painted in the Athletic Center foyer outside of the Manzo Gymnasium.
“We hope this serves as a representation of our ‘Peck Pride’ for generations of students to come,” she said. Miss Coyne will attend Pingry in the fall.
Before diplomas were conferred by Headmaster John Kowalik and Board President Henry Klehm III, several students were recognized for academic honors and special awards. They are:
Honor Roll: Luke Bedell of Chatham (Honor Roll and High Scholarship), Devin Blanchard of Morristown, Abigail Bodner of Morristown, Harrison Byers of Far Hills (Honor Roll and High Scholarship), Amanda Cosentino of Basking Ridge (Honor Roll and High Scholarship), Shoshana Geller of Chester, Philip Hettinger of Mendham, Jackson Hoit of Summit, Mark Kowalik of Morristown (Honor Roll and High Scholarship), Riley Nees of Chatham, Lauren Nyamekye of Succasunna, Gabriella Parlapiano of South Orange, Malcolm Sutherland-Foggio of Florham Park, Samuel Vazir of Chatham, Sheila Vazir of Chatham (Honor Roll and High Scholarship), and Liam Villano of Convent Station.
High Honor Roll and High Scholarship: Krysta Bennia of Newark, Jonathan Coffey of Summit, Kathryn Coyne of Denville, Ethan Czerniecki of Bernardsville, Isabel Gibbons of Bernardsville, Brad Hong of Morristown, Jacqueline Jakimowicz of Mendham, Rita Keazer of Newark, Salvatore LoBiondo III of Montville, Adam Magistro of Randolph, Elizabeth Merrigan of Morristown, Amira Miyaji of Chester, and Thomas Westerhold of Madison.
For Special Service to the Kindergarten, in acting as mentors and “buddies” for Peck’s youngest students: Luke Bedell of Chatham, Devin Blanchard of Morristown, Amanda Cosentino of Basking Ridge, Anthony Farinacci of Brookside, Shoshana Geller of Chester, Matthew Giaquinto of Summit, Isabel Gibbons of Bernardsville, George Grell of Short Hills, Jacqueline Jakimowicz of Mendham, Hunter Kronk of Morris Township, Salvatore LoBiondo III of Montville, Elizabeth Merrigan of Morristown, Amira Miyaji of Chester, Lauren Nyamekye of Succasunna, and Julia Schmuckler of New Vernon.
Miss Elizabeth Merrigan, daughter of Kyung and Huu Merrigan of Morristown, was awarded the John L. Hopkins Memorial Award for outstanding performance in English composition. She also received the Eighth Grade Art Prize for her outstanding artistic talent and genuine love of art. Miss Merrigan will attend Newark Academy in the fall.
Mr. Harrison Byers, son of Karen and Jason Byers of Far Hills, received the the Caspersen Family Mathematics Award in recognition of his effort, intuition, and creative talents in exploring mathematical concepts and understanding analytical procedures. Mr. Byers will attend Phillips Exeter Academy.
Mr. Thomas Westerhold, son of Lori and John Westerhold of Madison, received the Caspersen Family Mathematics Award, as well as the Eighth Grade Art Prize. Mr. Westerhold will attend Pingry in the fall.
Mr. Adam Magistro, son of Elizabeth Attias and Philip Magistro of Randolph, was awarded the History Prize for his scholarly achievements in history and genuine enthusiasm for the study of the past. He was also awarded the Malcolm E. McAlpin Science Award for his high curiosity, scientific reasoning, and commitment to excellence in science. Mr. Magistro will attend Newark Academy in the fall.
Miss Shoshana Geller, daughter of Shari and Jay Geller of Chester, received the Peck School Technology Award for her talent, innovation, and creativity with technology and her efforts to promote the respectful use of technology by all. Miss Geller will attend Blair Academy in the fall.
Miss Kathryn Coyne received the Foreign Language Prize in French in honor of her interest, enthusiasm, and academic performance in the study of French. Additionally, she was awarded the Rudolph H. Deetjen Jr. Award. This award was renamed in honor of Peck’s beloved former Headmaster “Rudy” Deetjen who, during his 17-year tenure, highlighted the School’s commitment to character education and consideration of others. The award is presented to a graduating student who, as selected by his or her peers, best demonstrates consideration of others and Peck’s Core Values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Loyalty, Perseverance, and Empathy. Miss Coyne was also awarded the Harriet Stratemeyer Adams Award for Highest Scholarship, an acknowledgement of that student who retains the highest scholarship average for the year including final exams. She completed her eighth grade year carrying an outstanding 96.92 GPA.
Miss Jacquie Jakimowicz, daughter of Krystyna and John Kakimowicz of Mendham, received the Foreign Language Prize in French for her outstanding performance, enthusiasm, and interest in the study of French. Miss Jakimowicz will attend Pingry in the fall.
Both Miss Coyne and Miss Jakimowicz also received the school’s most valued and distinguished award, The Peck Loyalty Prize. The award is given by the Trustees in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Lorraine T. Peck—leaders of the school for 27 years. It is given to the student(s) who, in the estimation of the faculty, best exemplify “consideration of others” and consistently demonstrate the qualities of Leadership, Loyalty to the School, and all other attributes that make for successful academic, athletic, and personal relationships.
Miss Amira Miyaji, daughter of Sihem Ben Saad and Wendell Miyaji of Chester, was awarded the Foreign Language Prize in Latin for her high achievements, interest, and enthusiasm for the study of Latin. Miss Miyaji will attend Lawrenceville in the fall.
Miss Rita Keazer, daughter of Lottie Keazer of Newark, was awarded the Foreign Language Prize in Spanish for her high achievements, interest, and enthusiasm for the study of Spanish. She also received the Alys H. Olney Music Award for her sincere interest in music and love of performance. Miss Keazer will attend St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire in the fall.
Miss Devin Blanchard, daughter of Michele and William Blanchard of Morristown, received the Norman R. Lemcke Jr. Memorial Drama Award for her talent, commitment, and sense of creativity in the dramatic arts. Miss Blanchard will attend Morristown-Beard in the fall.
Mr. Philip Hettinger, son of Diane and Richard Hettinger of Mendham, received the Norman R. Lemcke Jr. Memorial Drama Award for his creativity, talent, and commitment to the dramatic arts. Mr. Hettinger will attend Mendham High School in the fall.
Miss Kirby Comizio, daughter of Keeneh and Robert Comizio of Basking Ridge, was awarded the F. C. Reynolds Sportsmanship Award, in recognition of her outstanding sense of leadership, fair play, and good sportsmanship. Miss Comizio will attend Oak Knoll in the fall.
Mr. Liam Villano, son of Kim and David Villano of Convent Station, was awarded the F. C. Reynolds Sportsmanship Award for his leadership, fair play, and good sportsmanship. He will attend Delbarton in the fall.
Following the awards and recognitions, Mr. Vic Taylor, Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development, delivered his address to the Class of 2012, remarking on the Class’ spirit and connection to each other. “I believe that everyone has a spark of the divine within them, and I know that within each of you that spark burns bright...you will make the people around you better simply because of who you are,” he said. “You have been my teachers as much as I’ve been yours, and I’m a better person for having known you. For that, I am grateful.”
Diplomas were then conferred by Headmaster John J. Kowalik and Board of Trustees President Henry Klehm III.
Afterwards, in a heartwarming acknowledgement of one particular student in the Class of 2012, Mr. Kowalik recognized Mr. Malcolm Sutherland-Foggio, son of Julie Sutherland and Robert Foggio of Florham Park, as someone who unfailingly embodies and promotes Peck School values, and serves as an inspiration to those around him. Mr. Sutherland-Foggio is the founder of the pediatric cancer research foundation, Make Some Noise. The thirty-nine new graduates rallied around their classmate, standing and applauding in hearty agreement.
Congratulations, Peck Class of 2012!
Founded in 1893, The Peck School is an independent co-educational day school of approximately 300 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. The 14-acre campus is located on South Street in Morristown.