On May 30, the day following Commencement, rising sophomores, juniors and seniors gathered on the Glade and processed into the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center by class to mark the transition to the new school year at Investiture.
“I’m excited for next year for a few reasons," Head of School Peter Becker said in his remarks. "One, I think our seniors finished well. They set a great example for you all. They led well throughout the year, not just the Prefects but the whole class, and now the ball is in your court. You all get to lead the creation of the school next year as we welcome more than 100 students into our community, as we do every year."
"Looking at next year, I do want you to think about what role you will play," Becker said to the students. "Today, we will announce different leadership roles. Those are important and good, but all of you play a very important role in this ‘little world of the school,’ as Mr. Gunn said, in practicing hospitality, welcoming the new students into the school. I’m excited for next year because I believe that each of you individually, and all of you collectively, will do that really, really well.”
Presentation of Leaders
Rachel Hedden, Assistant Director of Admissions, Head Girls Lacrosse Coach and next year’s Tour Guide Program Coordinator, introduced the eight students who were selected to serve as the Red and Gray Head Tour Guides for the 2023-23 school year. They are: Christian Wood ’23, Sierra Cortes ’23, Jenny Shen ’23, Audrey Richards ’23, Ryan Crowshaw ’23, Bea Flynn ’24, Mike Markowski ’23, and Maya Sellinger ’23.
Lauren Lord, Assistant Dean of Students, introduced the Class Representatives, whose mission is to serve their class by actively paying attention to each member of the class and helping to create a sense of community. The Sophomore Class Representatives for the next school year are Kate Richards ’25 and Grace Harlow ’25, and the Junior Class Representatives are Jay Lee '24 and Layla Copen '24.
On behalf of the Alumni & Development Office, Marlon Fisher ’01, Associate Director of the 1850 Fund, introduced the Gunn Society Leadership Team for 2022-23. “Gunn Society works as ambassadors of the school to connect with alumni and current students of the Gunn community. This includes representing the study body at alumni events, reaching out to alumni, and raising awareness about the importance of the 1850 Fund, and what it means to be an alumnus or alumna of the school, which you will all become at some point in the future,” Fisher said.
The Freshman Class Liaisons are Caroline Marich '24 and Joe Shaker ’24. The Sophomore Class Representatives are Poppy Kellogg ’25 and Melanie Villegas ’25. The Junior Class Representatives are Erin Whitney ’24 and Logan Pasquariello ’24. The Senior Class Representatives are Natalia Zappone ’23 and Alexandra Burkhart ’23. The Communications and Recruitment Manager is Jo Wimler ’24. The Gunn Society Secretary is Thea Howe ’23, Co-Vice Presidents are Yoyolet Zhang '24 and Emma Eschweiler ’24, and Co-Presidents are Aria Trotta ’23 and Grace McManus ’23.
Cassie Ruscz, Director of Residential Life, Spanish teacher and Prefect Advisor, introduced the 2022-23 Prefects: Viv Boucher ’23, Emily Chiappa ’23, Hunter Fonseca ’23, Maeren Hay ’23, Alex Johnson ’23, Will Marich ’23, Chris Wang ’23, and Head Prefect Ashleen Hay ’23. Ruscz invited the Prefects to join her on stage as she read the school’s Mission Statement, administered the Oath of Office to the Student Body, and presented each new Prefect with their Prefect pins.
Hopeful and intentional about the year to come
Dean of Students Ashley LeBlanc also addressed the community at Investiture, remarking that one of her favorite assignments as a teacher was an essay that asked students to describe their happy place. The assignment was inspired by her reading of This Boy's Life: A Memoir, by Tobias Wolfe, who, as a young adult, struggled not only to find his happy place but his place in the world.
"For me, my happy place is the barn, or a horse barn to be more specific, a place where cleaning a stall allows space for my mind to wander and taking a trail ride in the back field has my heart singing," LeBlanc said Her horse, Phynn, is a warmblood-thoroughbred cross who adores people and has befriended many of the faculty children who have come out to the stable in Washington to visit him.
"If Phynn was a full thoroughbred, he would have a tattoo on his upper lip that would start with a letter, like all thoroughbreds registered with the Jockey Club, the governing body in the United States. This letter is the designation of the year the horse was born. You see, thoroughbreds are unique in that they all have the same birthday, January 1. No matter if they are actually born on March 4 or September 21, they will all be registered as being born on New Year's Day," LeBlanc explained. "When reflecting on this, I, too, have to think that we, as a school, are very similar to the thoroughbreds with our graduation years. No matter if you were born in January or December, reclassified or accelerated, we all turned a school year older this weekend."
Commencement weekend is also time for celebration and the entire community was present in that moment together, to send the Class of 2022 off in style and then compete in the Clash of Colors by grade, “showcasing our pride and excitement for the coming school year,” LeBlanc said, noting that the students had already put the words of Head Prefect Eddie Raynill ’22 and Head Prefect-Elect Ashleen Hay ’23, in their respective addresses at Commencement, into action, “by recognizing the inevitability of time and the preciousness of our experiences together. And so while we formally acknowledge that the year has passed today during our Investiture ceremony, we remain grateful for our experiences this year, and also hopeful and intentional about the year to come. You have a lot to be proud of and we are excited to see you return to the school next fall.”