Forty-four members of The Hun Middle School Class of 2023 filed out of the dining hall behind Deborah Watts, the performing arts chair, whose bagpipe majestically marked the start of Middle School Closing Exercises on June 5th.
The girls in shades of white dresses and the boys in handsome suits followed in single file through the colorful flanks of sixth and seventh graders to their seats below the enormous oak trees on the lawn behind Russell Hall. The eighth graders sat to the right of the stage smiling across at the faculty and sixth and seventh graders facing the left side of the stage.
The crowd remained standing as Middle School Head Ken Weinstein beckoned Ryan Donahue ’23 on stage to lead the pledge to the flag. The Middle School choral group, under the direction of Isabel Wittman and Joel Michalchuk, performed Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” Headmaster Jonathan Brougham offered heartfelt greetings to all and commended the eighth grade class for its growth, kindness, and leadership.
“I think your preparation for high school is just dazzling,” said Mr. Brougham. “You’ve learned to read more effectively, write more effectively, persuade, communicate, collaborate, create, all the things that will serve you well in high school and later life. You are more than ready.”
Awards were presented at the Middle School Awards Assembly the day before, but the twelve most prestigious awards were revealed and individually presented by faculty at the closing exercises. Anthony Cannuli presented the English Prize to Victoria Petrov ’23. Ryan Brown, an Upper School math teacher, and Megan Skelly awarded the Mathematics Prize to Jason Wang ’23 and Leilani Lopez ’23, respectively. Katherine Ainsworth presented the Science Prize to Kerem Koyluoglu ’23. Joan Nuse delivered the Geography Prize to Thomas Irvine ’23. Kahlee Metzger presented the Spanish Prize to Oluwatooni Olaleye ’23. Evan Kleber awarded the French Prize to Jenna Eldessouky ’23. Thomas Talboy presented the Latin Prize to Riya Miglani ’23. Ms. Watts delivered the Performing Arts Prize to Daniel Cibbarelli 23. And, Sean Hildreth presented the Visual Arts Prize to Brianna Le ’23.
Mr. Weinstein returned to the podium to introduce the Faculty Prize and Special Awards. The Roberta King Award went to Alexis Samano ’23 for having the most consistent effort and progress, personally and academically, during her career at The Hun School.
The Spirit Award went to Ryan Burroughs ’23 and Dafina Nanja Fassu ‘23 for consistently exhibiting the most positive attitude, good relationships with peers, and support for the Middle School community.
Chelsea Clarke ’23 was honored as Valedictorian for having the highest grade point average over her two years at Hun. Finally, the Faculty Prize was awarded to Sophia Burton ’23 for high academic achievement and most exemplifying the characteristics of integrity, reliability, sportsmanship, character, and leadership.
Mr. Weinstein went on to introduce the student speaker, Rowan John ’23. The eighth-grader encapsulated his class’s past three years of development before focusing on his most important takeaways from Middle School. The first was learning how to live by the Hun motto, Quaerite Scientiam et Honorum, which translates to: Seek Knowledge and Honor. The second was to uphold kindness and treat everyone with respect.
“Whether it’s on a sports team or in class or hanging out in Global Commons, Hun Middle Schoolers know to prioritize these qualities so it becomes a part of who they are,” said Rowan. “I’m sure we can all agree that if each of us do these things that we will be well prepared for life, and the world will be a better and kinder place too.”
After the applause had died down, Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Brougham presented certificates of graduation to the class. Upper School Head Ryan Hews declared them officially members of The Hun School Upper School Class of 2023 after tasking them with three important goals.
“Teach your new classmates that the most important value to relish as a community is kindness…” said Mr. Hews. “Use your creativity, engagement and energy in your classes to inspire your teachers to even more joyful and vigorous teaching… Use your spirit and athletic and artistic talents to lead the school to new successes and make your experience as involved and meaningful as you can.”
In closing remarks, Mr. Weinstein praised the eighth graders for setting “a tone in the School this year of maturity, community, school spirit and substance.” He recognized the innumerable talents of the middle school student body. Before asking the eighth graders to applaud their parents and supporters and recognizing the faculty for its inspirational teaching and guidance, Mr. Weinstein extolled teamwork in his final address to the class.
“You are the chorus, a team, not a collection of stars,” said Mr. Weinstein. “Resist the temptation to reach excellence by competing and instead reach excellence and success by collaborating through teaming and through being inclusive of everyone.”
Members of the Middle School Class of 2019 are:
William Pacifico Alena, Ryan Michael Burroughs, Sophia Magdalena Burton, Eric Lee Chen, Daniel Quinn Cibbarelli, Chelsea Renee Clarke, John Hinman Denny, Krish Pankaj Deshpande, Zeynab Anna Diarra, Ryan Danger Donahue, Cameron Quinn Donovan, Jenna Eldessouky, Andrew Ken-ichi Hamuro, Riley Kane Hayes, Anna Elizabeth Hoban, Hayley Faith Irvine, Thomas Christopher Irvine, Rowan George John, Kerem Pele Koyluoglu, Rithvik Kumar Kuchana, Brianna Kylie Le, Leilani Lopez-Ayerbe, Luciana Magallanes, Riya Miglani, Tylr Reese Neely, Dafina Marthe Njanja Fassu, Jordan Moise Njanja Fassu, Oluwatooni Michelle Olaleye, Victoria Alexis Petrov, Charlotte Anne Petty, Scott Frederick Richmond, David Quintin Ross, Anya Emily Ruszala, Alexis Ann Samano, David Russell Shaw, Lleyton Gregory Shaw, Rohan Pai Sheth, Sophia Linda Telegadis, Gene Carlton Waddy, Timothy John Walsh, Jason Qixin Wang, Jayden Tayte Wu, Megan Wu, William Zihang Zeng
Middle School Awards
The following awards were given out during the Middle School Awards Assembly on June 4th:
Angelina Wang '25, Lauren Fleisher '24, Sophia Burton '23
Nicolas Lorrichio '25, Sophia Cannuli '24, Rowan John '23
Odin Cooper '25, Isabelle Carter '24, William Zeng '23
Brett Stelmach '25, Sophia Cannuli '24, Anya Ruzsela '23
Devin Seth ’24, James Langford ’24
Kerem Koyluoglu '23, William Alena '23
Andrew Yates '25, Gabriella Rollins '24
AJ Robbins ’25, Austin Rollins '25
Victoria Petrov '23, Jason Wang '23
Tessa Falcone ’24
Love of Learning
Odin Cooper '25, James Langford '24
Brianna Riviello '25, Jack Lenkowsky '25, Hudson Ridall '24, James Langford '24, Defne Koyluoglu '24, Michael D'Aulerio '25, Gabrielle Rollins '24, Sophia Cannuli '24, Katlin Borgstrom '24, Riley Hayes '23, Rowan John '23, William Zeng '23, Sophia Burton '23, Oluwatooni Olaleye '23, Kerem Koyluoglu '23, Alexis Samano '23, Tylr Neely '23, Ryan Burroughs ’23.
Tylr Neely ’23, William Zeng ’23
Sophia Burton ’23