Graduation opened with a procession of the class led by Hun Performing Arts Department Chair Deborah Watts playing bagpipes. The Middle School Harmony Group then sang Homeward Bound by Marta Keen Thompson for the crowd of teachers, families, and friends.
"You are a group of young people who bring joy to the entire campus...You treat each other as good friends," Headmaster Jonathan Brougham told the graduating class in his remarks. "You have developed the habits not only of fine students, but of kind and respectful people. And you are ready for the Upper School!"
Student speaker Renee Nearing ’21, quoted Nelson Mandela, saying “education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.”
“The Hun Middle School gives us that weapon,” said Renee. “(And) they do it in a way that is so subtle, so beautiful, and so unique.” She and her classmates learned valuable lessons, she said, during good times and not-so-good times, when procrastination, or an errant word to another student, got the best of them.
“We reflected upon our mistakes, apologized, learned from them, and tried to avoid making those mistakes again,” she said.
Middle School Head Ken Weinstein’s advice to the students included the story of Scooter Gennett, the Cincinnati Reds baseball player who had one of the greatest major leagues performances in history on June 6, when he became one of just 17 players to hit four homeruns in a single game.
“Gennett entered the game in a 1-for-20 hitting slump,” said Mr. Weinstein, explaining that even in when you think you’ve failed, you can emerge to do great things. “Believe in yourself, that’s my advice to you today. Listen to people who raise you up.”
Several awards were given at the ceremony, including: Valedictory Awards to Seth Jeter and Hui Rong Xu, for the highest G.P.A.; and the Faculty Prize to William Hu, to the student with high academic achievement who most exemplifies the characteristics of integrity, reliability, sportsmanship, character and leadership. The Roberta King Award, for the student who demonstrates the most consistent effort and progress, personally and academically, went to Maya Connell. And the Spirit Awards, for the students who consistently exhibit the most positive attitude, good relationships with peers, and support for the Middle School community, were given to Anna Hyson and Rocco Mathews.
Academic prizes for excellence in subject areas were given to: Jianxin Yang, math; Courtney Joseph, English; Sophia Lin, geography; Mei von Kaenel, science; Adam Levinsky, Latin; Akhil Nagulappali, Spanish; Ashleigh Patasnick, French; Junle Chen, performing arts; and Lena Nahas, visual arts.