Saturday, June 6, was a joyous day for the Storm King School community. After more than two months of staying at home and successfully completing their spring semesters online, the 52 seniors in the graduating Class of 2020, along with their families and friends, anxiously gathered around their computer screens just before 10 am for the most important event of the school year–Storm King’s 152nd Commencement. This year, the ceremony was conducted in a virtual format and watched by Storm King Families located across the United States and around the world. Later in the day, some of the graduates also had a chance to celebrate at a socially distanced Commencement Car Parade held on campus.
The 25 boys and 27 girls from seven states and 14 countries who make up the Class of 2020 watched intently as the faculty and administrators, who they hadn’t seen in person for months, took them through this important rite of passage on video and helped them celebrate all they accomplished during their collective years at Storm King. The pre-recorded event was designed to stay true to the School’s traditional commencement ceremony and featured most of the scenes that have been a part of graduation for decades.
The virtual ceremony began with the chiming of the bell in the Stephen P. Duggan Bell Tower and the sound of Storm King’s Dean of Faculty Mr. Freeman on bagpipes, followed by a series welcome greetings by students representing the different languages spoken in the senior class. After a moving rendition of “America the Beautiful” by members of the SKS Choir, Headmaster Jonathan Lamb appeared in his classic regalia to convey his opening words.
“We all know this has been a school year like no other we have experienced. But, in its own way, it has been another tremendous year for Storm King thanks to the hard work of the faculty, staff, and all of our students,” began Mr. Lamb. He went on to outline some of the accomplishments of the class, including 28 HVAL Championships, 23 bids to the New England (NEPSAC) tournaments, the first NEPSAC Championship in Girls Volleyball, countless academic, creative, and artist accomplishments, and more than 4,500 hours of service volunteered in the local community. He also praised the class for having one of the best college placement records in the history of the School.
Following the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” performed by graduating senior Amelia Douches, Mr. Lamb introduced Storm King’s 152nd commencement speaker Dr. Kerryane Monahan ’92. As a Storm King Alumnae, a leader in science education, a committed philanthropist, and an avid outdoorswoman, Mr. Lamb welcomed Dr. Monahan as “a true daughter of Storm King.”
Dr. Monahan spoke to the students about her valued time as a student at Storm King, shared her passions for science and education, for conservation and the outdoors, and among other important messages, she encouraged the Class of 2020 to develop a vision for their life’s adventure with no constraints on their dreams. “May you change the world in ways we cannot yet imagine, but in the end, we couldn’t imagine living without,” she advised in her compelling closing words.
At the conclusion of Dr. Monahan’s speech, graduating senior Morgan Papera performed “How Far I Will Go,” followed by the presentation of the 2020 Commencement Awards by Dean of Academics Dr. Tim Lance and the traditional class promotions by Mr. Lamb. Finally, the name of each graduate of the Class of 2020 was announced along with their photo, thus officially completing their high school careers and concluding their lives on the Mountain. The presentation ended with another beautiful rendition of the alma mater by the Storm King Choir.
Later that same day, emotions were high among the graduates who participated in a Commencement Car Parade held on campus. For them, it was their first visit back to SKS since the School switched to online learning in March. Faculty and staff dressed in their regalia dotted the school grounds to wave and congratulate the graduates as they drove by with family members in colorfully decorated cars. Mr. Freeman met the procession at Cottage with his bagpipes and serenaded the parade as they moved up the road through campus, waving, cheering, and honking their horns along the way. Graduates received their diplomas from Headmaster Lamb through their car windows and had their tassels flipped by Mr. Lewis using a long-handled clip.
Once again, we wish to congratulate the Storm King Class of 2020 and welcome them to the SKS Alumni Community! Many thanks go out to all the faculty, staff, students, and parents who made our virtual 152nd Commencement possible and a memorable experience for our graduates.
The Storm King Scholars
The Storm King Scholar Award is granted to those students who have consistently achieved at the highest academic levels and who have contributed significantly to other areas of campus life.
Pierce Pramuka, Kenna Stone
The Riley Cup
The Riley Cup is given in recognition of former headmaster Philip Riley “to honor in perpetuity an outstanding member of the staff and an outstanding student who have contributed to the School’s community ethos in practical and creative ways.
Mr. John Carruthers, Morgan Papera
The Spy Rock Cup
The SpyRock Cup is awarded annually to that senior whose performance and contribution to our school have fostered its best interests and traditions.
The Headmaster’s Cup
the Headmaster’s Cup is a gift of Mrs. Anson Barker, whose husband was for 19 years the headmaster of The Storm King School. Since 1938, the Headmaster’s Cup, inscribed for “cheerfulness of spirit and enthusiasm,” is awarded annually to that senior whose love for this school is profound.
The Storm King Cup
The Storm King Cup is an enduring Storm King tradition and the highest award given at the School. This award is chosen by a vote of the faculty, staff, and students. Since 1915, it has been won “by students who have distinguished themselves by their personal qualities and their accomplishments; what other positive traits they have manifested, they have shared the traits of idealism, quiet courage and a vision of the School as it could be.