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Class of 2024 Graduates!
Greg Waxberg

The Class of 2024 completed their Pingry journey and received their diplomas during the School’s 163rd Commencement Exercises, held on Parsons Field on June 9, in the company of families, Pingry trustees, administrators, faculty and staff, and other friends.

With the 80th anniversary of D-Day in mind, senior faculty member Miller Bugliari ’52 used his Invocation to share that a Pingry alumnus was among the soldiers and wore his Pingry football jersey under his uniform for good luck. “That alumnus was one of the lucky ones who went on to lead a full and meaningful life . . . My wish for each of you is that you will have that kind of bravery and commitment as you face whatever life has in store for you.”

Class President Sebastian Talarek spoke about leaning into the Pingry community to face challenges. “Let us make sure our relationships don’t crumble. We are all committed to seeing each other succeed. I urge you to reach out and maintain, or even strengthen, your community bonds.”

Student Body President Jada Watson posed the question, “What is success?” “To me, success can best be seen through two topics: embracing imperfections, and community. In life, when you’re able to embrace your imperfections, it allows you to be free from the idea that you always have to be perfect . . . For many of you, Pingry has been more than just a place to learn—it’s been a community that has supported you and challenged you.”

Valedictorian Verna Mae Lange also spoke about the meaning of a community with diverse perspectives. “I ask my classmates to think freely, to intentionally seek challenges to their beliefs, to be uncomfortable, to have impossible conversations, to disagree and doubt themselves and stand alone within a group . . . look beyond those like yourself.”

Valedictorian Francesca Zarbin praised the importance of choosing mentors, especially those with whom you can interact, not just learning from influential people. “Behind every great person is a great teacher, not a celebrity . . . our teachers are the truest mentors . . . I’m not passively observing my mentor—rather, I’m interacting with them.”

Board of Trustees Chair Ian Shrank ’71 presented The Cyril and Beatrice Baldwin Pingry Family Citizen of the Year Award to Visual Arts Department Chair Miles Boyd. This award is given to members of the Pingry family who, in rendering meritorious service to the community, have demonstrated those qualities of responsible citizenship that Pingry aspires to instill in all of those associated with the School. Mr. Boyd has served as Chair for all of his 30 years at Pingry, taught photography and other Upper School art courses, was one of the people responsible for the existence and design of the Hostetter Arts Center, brought renowned guest artists to campus, and was heavily involved in many exhibits in the gallery, among other accomplishments.

Upper School Director Dr. Reid Cottingham paid tribute to the 16 seniors who entered Pingry in Kindergarten and are members of the “13-Year Club,” also known as “Lifers.” She then presented Evan Xie with the Magistri Laudandi Award, for being the student who champions the greater good and cares the most about helping all succeed, and Jada Watson with The Class of 1902 Emblem Award, for having the greatest amount of school spirit.

Addressing the graduates, Mr. Shrank commented on the idea of independence, which comes with responsibility and deciding “what you’re going to do and what you’re going to refuse to do—who you’re going to be as an adult . . . it’s always your decision, regardless of any pressures. You always have a choice . . . Pingry and its Honor Code mandate that you ask yourself [whether you have been a good person].”

After the presentation of diplomas, Head of School Tim Lear emphasized that the award of an action is “the doing—taking action simply because it’s the right thing to do, not because of recognition that might possibly come your way.” He illustrated an example: Pingry made a gift to help restore the university library at Leuven in Belgium. Specifically, Pingry was one of the American schools and businesses that generously donated money to help rebuild the library in the 1920s, after German forces bombed it during World War I. “This story is a wonderful example of how our community rises to the occasion to help others. It also serves as a perfect example of the Honor Code in action . . . Somehow, we just did it, and we did so without expecting anything in return . . . How often will you stop to consider how you might mentor or help others, and will you do so without expecting anything in return?”

Pingry congratulates every member of Pingry’s Class of 2024 on their graduation, and on all of their accomplishments. The School has a richer legacy because of their talents and contributions, and wishes them luck as they begin a new chapter of their lives.

The students will be continuing their academic careers at 70 colleges and universities:
College Matriculations for the Class of 2024

Contact: Greg Waxberg ’96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review