43 Seniors Graduate as SDS Class of 2020

During Spartanburg Day School's commencement exercises Friday morning, 43 students processed in as seniors and out as graduates of the Class of 2020. 

The ceremony was held on the school's front lawn, which was filled with groups of friends, family, faculty and supporters.

Head of School Rachel Deems welcomed the crowd to the 57th commencement ceremony of Spartanburg Day School.

"You have waited for graduation day longer than any other class in the history of our school," Deems said. "Perhaps all that you have experienced and endured in this year of pandemic and turmoil will lead you not to take a moment of the import of this day for granted. This is a day to celebrate and be proud of all that you have accomplished, and yours is an impressive list of accomplishments and service to others. Today is a commencement, a beginning. Today ends one chapter, and the end of this ceremony turns the page – truly a commencement for a lifetime of opportunity."

Upper School English Teacher David Roark served as this year's keynote speaker. He spoke of the community seniors have been and will be a part of.

"Today, you say goodbye to the Spartanburg Day School community," Roark said. "But even as you go off to join new communities, I hope you know you will always be a part of this place. And I hope that your time here has taught you the value of community and the responsibilities that go along with sustaining a healthy community. We live in an uncertain and anxious time. A time when the struggles that some in our community face have been laid bare for all to see. You graduates have been privileged to live and learn in a healthy, loving community. You know how a strong community is the best way to help each other deal with the struggles of life, and I hope that you will work to make the communities you will join stronger and healthier. A place where we can all struggle together, equally, as we perform in the concert of our lives."

Valedictorian Ellie Toler reflected on her time at SDS, as well as events happening in the world. Toler said she's looking toward the future. 

"The Spartanburg Day School Class of 2020 is made up of 43 talented, creative, empathetic and incredibly intelligent human beings," she said. "So, as you move forward, let's promise each other that we, the 43 members of the Class of 2020, will each try to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I think that 43 solutions from this special class is a much needed contribution to the world right now.'"

Lower School First Grade Teacher Joy Dunfee was awarded the 2019 Larrabee Endowed Chair Award, an award presented annually at graduation to recognize good teaching and honoring a faculty member who incorporates innovation and creativity in the classroom. 

The Caggiano Memorial Alumni Award was presented to former Spartanburg Day School coach, teacher and headmaster Gary Clark. The award is presented to an alumnus – or in this year, an honorary alumnus – who has distinguished his or herself on a national or international level or for one who has made a significant contribution to the life of the Day School.

The Gary Clark Headmaster's Award is annually presented to a senior who, through graciousness, good manners, courtesy and through a genuine concern for others, has had a positive impact on the Spartanburg Day School community. This year the award was given to two students: Emma Hay and Nicholas Rawlinson.

Ellie Toler was awarded the Groblewski Cup, an award recognizing a member of the graduating class for outstanding leadership.

Congratulations to the Spartanburg Day School Class of 2020!