During Spartanburg Day School's commencement exercises Friday morning, 45 students processed in as seniors and out as graduates of the Class of 2018.
The ceremony was held in the Senior Courtyard, which was filled with friends, family, faculty and staff and many supporters.
Head of School Rachel Deems proclaimed it a day to celebrate all that the class has accomplished and will accomplish as students begin their next chapter as freshmen at colleges and universities across the nation and abroad.
"These next destinations will include the experiences of new people and challenging opportunities, all leading you toward that life well lived with our mission fulfilled in you," she said, asking them to look around at the crowd of people who "love you, believe in you, want the best for you and who will always welcome you back to this place."
Alumnus Bill Hamilton '79 served as this year's keynote speaker. Hamilton's contributions to SDS as a student, an athlete, an alumnus, a parent of two alumni sons, an active volunteer and a supporter span more than 40 years. Hamilton is a 1983 graduate of Wofford College and has worked as the Vice President of Operations at Cannon Roofing since 2006.
"Remember Spartanburg Day School," Hamilton told the graduates. "Stay involved and make it a better place... Do the right thing. Remember who you are and from where you came."
Valedictorian Anna Stone credited her years at SDS for discovering her "true self." Since joining the Upper School three years ago as a Ben Stone Scholar (a prestigious academic scholarship named for her uncle), Anna said that for the first time in her academic career, she felt challenged and pushed to be more.
"[Spartanburg Day School] gave me the opportunity to truly understand academic challenge," she said. "This place allowed me to flourish in the classroom because I was, for the first time, challenged not only by an academic standard but by a work ethic that was expected daily... This environment gave me the chance to be an engaged student, and I learned that I like learning and that I'm actually sorta good at it"
Ten graduates are "lifers" at SDS, having spent every academic year since 4K as Griffins. The lifers are: Kathleen Babb, Kaleb Cobb, Julia Cooper, Sarah Griffin,Jonathon Henderson, Mary-Edens McAbee, Lauren Oakes, Charles Overcarsh, Cole Sanchez, Lily Webster and Eva Wellmon.
Middle School science teacher Carmen Cooper was awarded the 2018 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 the day's keynote speaker, Bill Hamilton '79. The award is presented to an 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 that award was presented to Mary Owens Davidson.
Maisie MacMullan, who served as student body president this year, 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 2018!