On Saturday, June 1, 2019, at 10:00 am, The Storm King School held its 151st Commencement on the lawn in front of the Stephen P. Duggan Bell Tower for the School’s 61 graduating seniors. It was only the second time since 1960 that the School graduated a class larger than 60 students. A speech given by Senator Robert G.Torricelli ’70 highlighted this year’s ceremony as 23 young men and 38 young women from five continents, 17 countries, and four states were awarded their diplomas. Families and friends from all over the world were greeted with glorious weather as they gathered to watch this diverse and talented group of new graduates transition to the next phase of their lives and become alumni of the School.


Headmaster Jonathan Lamb speaking to the crowd at SKS' 151st Commencement


After 10 chimes of the bell and the sound of bagpipes, the processional of faculty led by Headmaster Jonathan Lamb, Dean of Academics Dr. Tim Lance, and Senator Torricelli entered the venue followed by the smiling Class of 2019. True to Storm King tradition, students representing the 17 nations making up the senior class greeted the audience in their native languages, followed by a moving rendition of “America the Beautiful” by the SKS Chorus.


Graduate, Jayden Figueroa ’19, receiving his diploma


After all were seated, Mr. Lamb welcomed the seniors and their families and reviewed the accomplishments of the graduating class: “Today is about us acknowledging you and your accomplishments. Ninety-two percent of the Storm King Class of 2019 participated in at least one varsity sport, and 70% of the class played on a conference championship team, winning a total of 34 Hudson Valley Athletic League (HVAL) Championships over the past four years. During that same period, senior class members played on teams that have received 23 New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) Post-Season Tournament bids, won two NEPSAC Championships, along with two HVAL Sportsmanship Cups and two NEPSAC Regional Sportsmanship Cups,” said Mr. Lamb.


Presentation of SKS' 2019 graduates


In addition, Mr. Lamb explained that the senior class was also very involved in the arts and serving the local community, with 34 seniors who have been involved in 56 performances in theater, dance, music, or film, and the class as a whole completing over 6,500 hours of community service over the past four years. In addition, he commended the seniors for logging more than 20,000 miles on trails in Black Rock Forest while running cross country, mountain biking, hiking, and participating in other outdoor activities. He also praised the members of the National Honor Society for helping to raise a combined total of $11,000 for Black Rock Forest, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the American Cancer Society over the past four years.


Igor Zelenko ’19 receiving his diploma


“When I think of this class and all that you have achieved, I wish to point out that the diploma you will be handed today is not just about your academic achievements,” continued Mr. Lamb. “I have said many times that our role as a school is not just to get you ready for college. Storm King and college are part of a vector, a path, to the rest of your lives...As a class that is part of the generation that must solve so many problems, let me tell you that I believe solutions are possible and I believe in your ability to accomplish those solutions.”

Following the next song “I Was Here” performed by the Storm King Choir, Mr. Lamb introduced Storm King’s 151st commencement speaker: alumnus and Senator Robert G. Torricelli ‘70. During his address, Senator Torricelli encouraged the class “not to worry” about the future and assured them that success is within their reach. He also stressed the importance of moral character and having the courage to stand up for what is right.


Senator Robert G.Torricelli ‘70 speaking to the graduates


“There has never been a better time to be alive; never more opportunity, never a better chance to take your times, your country, your generation, and shape it into what you would have it be,” explained Senator Torricelli. “Be people of courage. Not the common kind, the uncommon kind–committed simply to what you believe in your own heart is right. I know you have many commitments in your lives. You will create families and children of your own. You will pursue careers, you’ll have friends, you will commit yourselves to institutions, but remember that in the course of your lives, you carry one other obligation. That is service to your country, whatever it may be, and to your people, whoever they may be. Community and collective action are the great missing elements in this country, in our time. You are now armed with something that so many people, of so many generations, in so many places in the world, never had. You have an education, you have knowledge, you have the keys to the kingdom and the future,” explained Senator Torricelli.


Assistant Headmaster for Student and Residential Life, Alan Lewis, flipping graduate Alonso Gonzalez Reynaud's tassel


At the conclusion of Senator Torricelli’s speech, the Storm King Choir performed “For Good,” followed by the presentation of the 2019 Commencement Awards by Dean of Academics Dr. Tim Lance, Vice Chairman of the Storm King Board of Trustees Ms. Michele DeFreece P’14, Headmaster Lamb, and Senator Torricelli. After the awards, Mr. Lamb asked the underclassman in the audience to stand for their official promotion to their next class year. Following the class promotions, diplomas were presented to the senior class by Ms. DeFreece, and the seniors were congratulated by Dr. Lance, Mr. Lamb, and Senator Torricelli. As the new graduates exited the stage, Assistant Headmaster for Student and Residential Life Alan Lewis carried out the important duty of flipping the tassels on their caps from right to left, thus officially completing their high school careers and concluding their lives on the Mountain.


2019 graduates thanking the SKS faculty


Emotions were high among the graduates as all rose to sing the Storm King Alma Mater before the processional exited the lawn to conclude the 151st commencement at The Storm King School. Following the ceremony, the graduates and their families gathered on the athletic field to toss their caps and mingle with faculty members to say their farewells.


Tiana Vazquez ’19




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.

Kolby Braxton ‘19
Maya Buranbayev ‘19
Max Chen ‘19
Caitlin Jones ‘19

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”:

Anne Fulton
Paul Cohen-Addad ‘19


The Spy Rock Cup is awarded annually to that senior whose performance and contributions to our school have fostered its best interests and traditions.

Zoe Stene ‘19


The Headmaster’s Cup is a gift of Mrs. Anson Barker, whose husband was the headmaster of The Storm King School for 19 years. Since 1938, the Headmaster’s Cup, inscribed “for cheerfulness of spirit and enthusiasm,” is annually awarded to that senior whose love for the School is profound.

Riccardo Semenza ‘19


The Storm King Cup is the highest commencement award and an enduring tradition at the School whose recipient 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.”

Tiana Vazquez ‘19