Celebrating the Class of 2022

Tuesday, June 7, 2022—Winsor celebrated 62 graduates of the Class of 2022 in person and via livestream. The 128th Commencement was held under a soaring tent in the courtyard while the entire school gathered with families and guests to celebrate the seniors and commemorate their achievements. 

Faculty, staff, and students processed into the tent to a 1970s medley performed by the Advanced Rock On music class under the direction of Head of Performing Arts Felicia Brady-Lopez. In fact, it is the very medley the Class of 2022 Rock On class performed during their eighth grade concert. Advanced Rock On includes: Aimy Huynh ’24, Beatrix Picotte ’24, Caitlin Wang ’25, Mina Feldman ’25, Niko Matsuzaka ’24, Prudence Sullivan ’24, Sofia Robinson ’24, and Talya Le ‘24

The ceremony opened with a sea of white as the senior class, each holding a single red rose, processed into the tent and took their seats. Head of School Sarah Pelmas began the ceremony with remarks on the achievements of the senior class and some well deserved accolades to people who made this year possible including:

  • Nurse Sue, whom she described as “absolutely heroic” as she worked alongside the COVID testing team of Operations Manager Brooke Elmore, Athletics Administrative Assistant Tiffany Young, Assistant Director of Athletics Katrina Hable, Head Athletic Trainer Adam Newell, and Chief Operating Officer Karen Geromini, with support from Facilities Staff Kevin Lynch and Janatorial Staff Merdock Cadogan. 
  • She also thanked Director of Facilities & Construction John Crompton and his versatile and generous facilities team, who “made this campus beautiful, welcoming, and a wonderful second home.”
  • Acknowledging this year’s schedule shifts, she mentioned the scheduling masterminds of Institutional Researcher Denise Labieniec and Head of Upper School Kimberly Ramos for the late start on Wednesdays and longer classroom blocks that allowed for more time together as a community and a slightly slower pace.
  • Gratitude was also extended to Chef Heather and her dining room staff, “I think we all realized how much better life is when we are well fed and when there are snacks available.”

Leila Glotzer Martin ’22 was invited to the stage to deliver the class reading. Selections from Oriah Mountain Dreamer's poem “The Invitation” had the gathered audience pondering, “I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it” and “I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day.”

The Graduation Choir led by Choral Director Andrew Marshall came to the stage to sing “Blessing” by Katie Moran Bart, after which Ms. Pelmas dropped into the crowd of teary seniors to pass out boxes of tissues. The Graduation Choir includes: Sophia Lichterfeld ’24, Ava Kee ’23, Sophia Gerogiannis ’23, Christina Monroe ’23, Anissa Patel ’23, Lucie Rynne ’24, Meredith Tangney ’23, Caroline Bae ’24, Natasha Dalziel ’24, Kate Drachman ’25, Liana Min ’26, Nidhi Mallavarapu ’25, Amber Renthal ’25, Chloe Chao ’23, Elyse Hychong ’26, Rebecca Riccio ’23, Natalie Cooper ’24, Sofia Grabiel Butler ’24, Paige Whalen ’24, Alicia Wu ’24, and Jeremiah Hickman-Maynard ’23.

Allison Kaneb Pellegrino ’89, P’21, ’22, president of the Winsor Corporation, offered an emotional and heartfelt congratulations to the graduates, sharing her own wisdom and reflections. Conveying a deep sense of belonging, she called the alum community “a warm blanket spread far and wide to catch you wherever you land.”

Advanced Rock On and Mr. Marshall then led students in singing “In My Life” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney before Ms. Pelmas’ address. 

In her speech for the graduates, Ms. Pelmas used a historical backdrop as a lens to view current events, noting parallels like diversity in politics, equity in education and athletics, the challenges of political scandals, and the hostilities between Russia and the west, which are so different today, and yet also familiar over the course of the last 50 years. She added, “Together, seniors, you have shared so many ups and downs that perhaps you are a bit seasick from it all. And together, you have made friendships that will last forever. You have shared the silliest and the most serious of moments. And you have shown the rest of the school what love and caring looks like, not only in how you treat each other, but in how you treat everyone else…Whatever comes your way from here, you are already, without question, a spectacular success. And we are proud of you.”

Franchesca Vilmenay ’22, was chosen by her classmates to be the speaker at Commencement. To the current students she offered some advice, “Winsor has taught me that we are never alone on this ferris wheel ride, even at the top of the highest roller coasters there will always be someone sitting next to you, whose hand you can hold.” She went on to ask her “lovely” classmates, “Before you walk up these steps, receive that red diploma, and stand on the precipice of your future…reflect on this question. How will you measure the years?”

Music featured prominently in the ceremony with Mr. Marshall leading the whole tent in singing “Jerusalem” by C. Hubert Parry, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson—both accompanied by Ms. Brady-Lopez on piano. The Senior Small Chorus performed “Home” by Phillip Phillips and the entire tent sang “Lamp of Learning” by Gretchen Howes Waldo, Class of 1902.

Senior Class President, MaryKate Hart ’22, took the stage to introduce Commencement speaker Tiffany R. Warren ’92. “She has received numerous honors and awards, which I must say, would be too many to list,” Hart said of the Emmy® nominee and first Executive Vice President and Chief of Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Sony Music Group. “But, I believe her most challenging and certainly the most significant accomplishment, was graduating from the Winsor School, and I’m sure she’ll agree.”

Ms. Warren talked about finding her nerve at Winsor, starting with an in-class assignment to draw what she wanted to be when she grew up. After a field trip to the Boston Ballet left her “livid” and “upset,” she told the gathered audience, “I wasn’t quite ready for what I saw or what I didn’t see. I did not see someone who looked like me” on stage. Channeling that disappointment into her Winsor art class, she painted a black ballerina on stage and wrote “Boston Ballet, Join Today!” as the headline. “I drew my first diversity recruitment ad and unknowingly created a blueprint, a map to continue to find my nerve for the rest of my life,” she explained.

Sharing stories and wisdom from her teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, Ms. Warren illustrated how “nerve” changes over time and can inform decision making both personally and professionally. At the end of her speech, Ms. Warren quizzed the seniors in a call and response: “In your teens you are finding your…” asked Ms. Warren, “nerve!” replied the seniors. And so it continued.

“In your 20s you have all the…nerve.
In your 30s you have some…nerve.
In your 40s you have one…nerve. 
In your 50s you are fresh out of…nerves to give.”

The students passed their quiz with flying colors and 100% participation. “When the time comes when you are fresh out of nerves, please remember that it’s the journey not the destination. Don’t rush. Savour. Believe. Pray. Repeat,” said Ms. Warren, who received a standing ovation from the entire tent. 

“Thank you Winsor for helping me find my nerve and thank you to the Class of 2022 for helping me spend some of my nerve with you today. I look forward to following each of you, cheering you on as you have the nerve to change the world.” 

Ms. Pelmas invited Class VIII Dean Jennifer Graham and Head of Upper School Kim Ramos to the stage to confer senior diplomas, with each student receiving much applause and cheering.

“I present to you the Class of 2022,” said Ms. Pelmas to conclude the ceremony. As the event ended, people filtered out for refreshments on the Lubin-O’Donnell Center patio.

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