The Class of 2018 concludes Commencement with a celebratory tossing of their caps at the Brooklyn Museum on June 1. More photos below.
“Throughout our years at Bay Ridge Prep we learned independence, to be responsible and conscientious, and also learned to embrace forgiveness.”
Those were the words of Jordan Allbrooks, a member of the Bay Ridge Prep Class of 2018, who spoke at the school’s 20th Annual Commencement. The ceremony, held on Friday, June 1, at the Brooklyn Museum, featured several speakers who each reflected on moments the class shared together while calling on this generation to be a force for change and unity.
Class of 2018 graduates Alexander Maiorana, Konstantinos Mitsolides and Emily Stoddard credited the atmosphere of Bay Ridge Prep with putting them and their classmates in a position for further growth and development.
“Bay Ridge Prep has touched each student here in a unique and meaningful way,” Mairoana said. “The school allowed us to reach with both hands for opportunities to learn and grow.”
Mitsolides added, “Because of my experience here, I know that I have many opportunities for success in the future and so do all of my classmates that are graduating with me today.”
Speaking about when she first entered the school in third grade, Stoddard recalled that, “learning was fun again, my curiosity was rewarded, and I began my true education, based on love of learning, stretching my mind, and shaping my own ideas.”
With their K-12 education complete, the Class of 2018’s attention now turns to life as college students and adults charged with making decisions that can be pivotal to their lives and the lives of those around them.Addressing his classmates, Dylan Friedman reminded them, “if we remain authentic, and do not let outsiders negatively dictate our morals and beliefs, I feel that we are fantastic individuals who are capable of doing great things in our lives.”
Flannery Brown, who remembered a senior year assignment asking her to consider the concept of nothing, spoke about medical mission trips she took with her family to Ethiopia where she met children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, living in tiny homes and with none of the amenities most Americans take for granted. It made her realize the beauty of not being tied to possessions and materials in order to find happiness and also made her realize that each person starts their life knowing nothing and learning through curiosity.
“Having nothing gives people character. It makes you thankful for the little things and encourages you to lean on those around you instead of trying to find comfort in other things,” she said. “As a challenge to my fellow classmates, be life giving no matter what you have, and let the next four years set the stage for a lifetime of excitement, kindness, and willingness to really turn that original ‘nothing’ you started out with into your own real, genuine, and inspiring ‘something.’”
The valedictorians of the Class of 2018. More photos and view the full gallery below.
Before they turned their tassels and tossed their caps, the graduates and guests also heard from Heads of School and Bay Ridge Prep co-founders Dr. Michael Dealy and Dr. Charles Fasano.Dr. Dealy noted that the Class of 2018 were just some of the “wonderful citizens” found in the community of Bay Ridge Prep.
“With tolerance and caring, they are all very different, unique in their own way, who have not only co-existed but thrived together,” Dr. Dealy said. “Maybe the rest of the world should take a powerful lesson from this diverse group of young pioneers in their journey to tomorrow.”
Dr. Fasano urged the graduates to take the responsibility of asking themselves how they are serving the broader community.
“We are all part of something bigger - a family, community, country, world,” Dr. Fasano said. “You may ask yourself, what can I do at my age that will make an impact? I ask you to reflect on what has happened this year in our country, where a group of high school students have pushed the issue of gun control further than many famous, powerful adults. They may not have been successful yet, but they have built a foundation and I believe this effort will eventually be successful. At the very least, it has been inspiring. But looking to help the broader community does not have to be on such a grand scale. Being a kind, compassionate person, creating environments that promote creativity, understanding and acceptance can have a major impact on the people lucky enough to be part of that environment.”
One last class photo on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum. More photos below.
Honors announced at Commencement included the naming of Valedictorians Flannery Brown, Georgina Iljazoski, Alexander Maiorana and Griffin Wolf. Salutatorians included Jordan Allbrooks, Dylan Friedman, Dmitry Kaganovsky, Konstantinos Mitsolides and Emily Stoddard. The valedictorians and salutatorians, in addition to having the highest GPAs in the class, completed numerous AP, honors and, in some cases, college-level courses during their high school career.
Medals of Academic Distinction were given to Gennaro Bosamonte, John Ciantro, William Drury, Amanda Dweck, Alexander Galasinao, Kate Gangi, Aaron Iljazoski and Alexander Pellitteri, Alexander Privman and Kristen Williams-Libert.
Students who have been with the school since Kindergarten. More photos below.
Five students - John Ciantro, Alexander Galasiano, Alexander Maiorana, Alexander Pellitteri and Nathan Vaysberg - were also recognized with the Charter Club Award, a distinction given to graduates who have been in Bay Ridge Prep from Kindergarten all the way through the completion of Upper School.
Moments after Commencement ends, graduates begin their farewells to one another.
MORE PHOTOS: Full Commencement Photo Gallery
MORE PHOTOS: Senior Family Dinner 2018
MORE PHOTOS: Senior Prom 2018
Founded in 1998, Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, K-12 college preparatory school offering exceptional courses and intimate class sizes in a socially-mature and positive environment.