Faculty Prize: Kara Kettelkamp `11
Posted June 9, 2011
The highest honor bestowed on graduating senior is the Faculty Prize. Each year during Commencement, The Hun School of Princeton recognizes a student, who in the opinion of the faculty, demonstrates exemplary character during their time at the School. This year, Kara Kettelkamp ’11 was awarded the Faculty Prize in recognition of her many contributions to The Hun School. A thoughtful and conscientious young lady, Kara is respected by her peers as well as the faculty. Her accomplishments as a scholar, athlete, leader, and community activist were performed with great dedication and proficiency, but even more than personal accolades is the quality of Kara’s care for friends, teammates, classmates, and her family.
Kara addressed her classmates as the senior speaker about how The Hun School transformed and changed each member of the senior class. She spoke about the relationships between friends, and faculty, and explained a process she termed, “Hunification.” She said, “It is a bond and a connection to the people you are surrounded by right now. You become Hunified when the power of this small School finally grabs you, and draws you in. When you have become part of this captivating, nurturing and dedicated community, you have been Hunified.”
Kara links her own growth to the pleasure she took working in various groups at the School. She said, “Everything I do, I do because I like it, and I like the people. I love the sense of community here. I love how the students and teachers mix with one another and how there isn’t a division. You can be friends with your teachers while still respecting them and learning from them.”
Kara’s involvement with faculty and classmates connected her to all aspects of School life. An honors student, Kara was selected for the School’s Cum Laude Society in her junior year. In the same year, she received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award. She sat on the School’s honor council, was a peer leader to seven freshmen students, was a part of the student executive board for the community service club, and co-captained the varsity field hockey team. In all the activities in which she participated, Kara’s most distinguishing characteristics were her selflessness and care for others.
Lynn McNulty was Kara’s academic advisor over the past four years, coached her on the field hockey team, was her freshman history teacher, and worked closely with her in the community service club. She said, “Kara Kettelkamp is just amazing. She is absolutely genuine in the way she engages with others, and the activities she chooses to do. Her care for others is authentic. She is a great young woman, who values her friends and her family, and is always willing to help others. She is self-motivated – as a student, an athlete, and a leader. She steps into roles where she is needed and goes beyond any expectations.”
Mrs. McNulty recalled how Kara was asked to transition from defensive specialist on the field hockey team to starting goalie in her senior season. The position was unfamiliar and came with a learning curve, but Kara was determined to help the team, rising to meet the new challenge.
Nowhere is Kara’s caring spirit more evident than her contributions to community service. Kara has helped organize events and donations to local charitable organizations such as HomeFront and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. She enjoys spending time with patients of Enable – a non-profit agency that supports individuals with disabilities. Kara was an eleven-year member of Montgomery Girl Scout Troop, where she earned the Girl Scouts Gold Award for her work organizing a service club with students at The Lewis School. She spent the last two years volunteering at Corner House – an organization that promotes drug and alcohol-free living through prevention education. She has been part of both the Teen Advisory Group and the Corner House Student Board and is proud of the work she did to help educate elementary children about the dangers of alcohol and drug use. And on Sundays, Kara attends services at Nassau Presbyterian Church, where she is a deacon. “It’s the hospitality branch of the church,” she said modestly. “I help usher people to their seats, lead prayer groups occasionally, and bring flowers to sick people.”
“She takes great initiative,” explained Mrs. McNulty. “She is always saying, ‘What can I do? How can I help?’ and she will help in any way she can – always with a smile.”
The Hun School of Princeton recognized Kara for all of her qualities of character. In the fall, Kara will attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Senior Commencement Speech By: Kara Kettelkamp `11
“Seven a.m. waking up in the morning, gotta be fresh, gotta go down stairs, gotta have my bowl gotta have cereal, seeing everything the time is going. Ticking on and on everybody’s rushing, gotta get down to the bus stop, gotta catch my bus… I see my friends. Kickin’ in the front seat sittin’ in the back seat, gotta make my mind up which seat can I take? It’s Friday.” It’s also graduation day. This is our last Friday together as a class here at Hun. It’s Friday, we’ve looked forward to countless weekends, and to continue with the words of Rebecca Black: “we, we, we, so excited.”
Take a moment right now and think about, or even look around and find, your best friend at this School. Maybe you met him seven years ago in one of the two hallways that make up the Middle School. Or, maybe you met her on that first day of pre-season freshman year. Regardless, you’ve made some pretty good memories together, haven’t you? During the school-day, this is the person you talk to if you’ve had an absolutely horrible day. This is also the first person you run to when you’ve found out that you’re starting in the big game tomorrow. Before you leave with your parents to make that long awaited car ride or plane ride to college, this is the last person you will say goodbye to, because this is the first person you will miss. Next year, the person you are thinking about will not be passing through the same hallways as you and will not be going to the same full school assemblies as you. You will not be able to bump into him at your neighboring lockers and vent to him about how much you despise math class. You will not be able to pull up a chair next to her in the library intending to study, realizing fifty minutes later that you’ve gotten nothing done. This is one of the many changes that we are all going to encounter next year.
However, if we think back on our four years together, we have already experienced numerous changes. Do you remember when there used to be trays in the cafeteria? What about the old Quyen’s in the back corner of the SAC? There’s an entire newly renovated building on the lower part of campus. And did we ever really find out what happened to those brown tables in the big stairwell, our main hang out area freshman year? Many things have changed here in the past four years, but I think each of us, individually, has changed even more. The summer before my freshman year, a sophomore, who did not go to Hun, warned me about something. She warned me against becoming “Hunified.” In the context, the made-up adjective meant, “turned preppy on account of attending The Hun School.” She claimed that people changed when they went to Hun. Although I originally wrote this off as pointless, seeing as she did not actually attend the School, in the past few weeks I have thought a lot about the word. Indeed, we have all been “Hunified,” but not in the way I first defined it. The change one endures when Hunified happens over a period of time and it is permanent. And the change is always the same. It is a bond, and a connection to the people you are surrounded by right now. You become Hunified when the power of this small school finally grabs you, and draws you in. When you have become part of this captivating, nurturing, and dedicated community, you have been Hunified. Now, I cannot say for sure, but I am guessing that “Hunification” never goes away. Judging by the love and the commitment to the School from the alumni, themselves having been previously Hunified, we can see the permanent change. But we’re all used to change, right? It’s been our close companion the last four years, and after the next four months, we will experience even more of it.
So where did this whole process start? My guess would be during the first week of September in 2007 right in front of Russell Hall. The flags around the grassy circle acted as barriers, attempting to contain the one-hundred-plus nervous freshmen. As we stood clutching our duffel bags, we awkwardly looked around at the people who would become our classmates and our friends. We spent the next couple days memorizing the names and faces in our peer groups, being forced to get to know each other through countless icebreakers. We played basketball together, we ate together, and on the last night we danced together. And after that, we spent four years doing exactly the same things. We played sports together, we ate lunches together, and like last week at prom, we danced together. Each of us holds memories of this School that we will have forever. We cannot let these memories and experiences fade into just stories we tell in the future; they must become a foundation for the lives ahead of us. Our high school years have been ones of growth, teaching us to become more independent and self-sufficient. So it seems rather obvious, that the memories we have created should help us to start our lives away from home. Use everything you have learned, inside, but even more so outside of the classroom, to make your current dreams and future dreams come true. Let the memories you have made in this community be highly out-weighed by those you make in the future. But, never forget where you started and the foundation of The Hun School. Never forget all the changes we experienced together, and the transformations we all underwent during our high school years. And never forget that best friend of yours who is sitting here with you today. Because this person, without a doubt, has changed you for the better. Congratulations Class of 2011, we’ve made some really great friends and some unforgettable memories. Now, on this last Friday of high school, let’s finally graduate.