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2022–2023 Awards Celebration

Thursday, June 1—The Winsor community came together inside the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater for the 2022—2023 Awards Celebration, hitting heartfelt, emotional, and funny notes as Upper School and Lower School students were recognized for their achievements in athletics, academics, community, and leadership.

Although these awards were given to mostly individual students, in her welcome remarks, Head of Upper School Kimberly Ramos stressed the collective community spirit that circulates through Winsor halls and classrooms. 

“These awards are important not only for the winners, but also for all of us at Winsor. They represent something for students to aspire to, and also something for us to be proud of, collectively. While many of today’s awards recognize individual achievement, perhaps one of the best parts of a Winsor education is the way in which we work together as a community to encourage, to challenge, and to inspire one another,” said Ramos. “You each have much to be proud of. There were many moments I was able to witness you helping one another: cheering each other on when you needed encouragement, congratulating one another for accomplishments, collaborating with your peers to share programs and ideas for our community.”

Head of School Sarah Pelmas presented athletic awards to 15 students but not before she heralded some of the “extraordinary achievements” from the Athletic department this year including five league championships, two second place finishes in New England, three Eastern Independent League (EIL) players and four EIL coaches this year, as well as one Gatorade player of the year for Massachusetts for the second year in a row. 

“None of that happens without every single member of the team, and every fan, and every coach throughout the program,” said Pelmas. “Every accomplishment that we are proud of is only possible because of the strength of the team. I have seen you cheer each other on, give a quick hug to a struggling teammate, scream yourselves hoarse for your own team or for your friend’s team, make posters, celebrate seniors, make that last-ditch effort, and just love what you were doing no matter the outcome. Thank you for the joy you have given all of us—your coaches and teammates, your friends and fans, and your families. It has been such a joy to watch you play.” 

Pelmas also furnished 19 students with academic and community awards, as well as presenting the Virginia Wing Outstanding Teacher Award to science faculty member Mark Brooks Hedstrom. 

The Student Equity Board was presented with the Class of 2002 Award which recognizes a student club or committee that has enhanced the environment of Winsor through its commitment to community, teamwork, and innovation. 

“Congratulations to each award winner, to each teacher, advisor and coach who played a role in the development of these scholars, artists, and athletes, and to all of our parents who nurtured their children’s interests and talents. I know I speak for all the faculty and staff when I say how proud we are of every single student, all of whose accomplishments are reflected in these awards today,” said Pelmas. 

The Class of 2023 chose a dynamic duo—retiring History faculty Libby Parsley and English faculty Susanna Ryan—to give the senior speech, which began in a mocking fashion, and had everyone on stage and in the audience laughing and wondering who exactly was in on the joke. 

In her remarks about why the seniors chose Ryan and Parsley, Lydia Morris-Kliment ’23 called them an “iconic duo.” “Everyone at Winsor looks up to them (literally, they’re very tall), they are always together, coordinating spirit week outfits, though I think there is some friendly competition,” said Morris-Klement. 

Both Parsley and Ryan went back and forth with advice draped in sarcasm. 

“What I want to tell you might sound counterintuitive at first, but bear with me . . . we talk a lot at Winsor, and in the United States, about individualism — being self-determining, finding one’s own particular bliss, being oneself — but I’m here to say that much of the time, in the real world, what will serve you most is conformity. Go with the crowd! FIT IN.   Sheep get a bad rap, but they find security in the herd. There is safety in being part of the mob,” said Ryan. 

“Yeah—patriarchy, smatriarchy. Marching and protests . . . It's exhausting just to think about. Stay home. Sit on your couch and watch TV. Let someone else worry about it,” joked Parsley, who later confirmed she and her colleague are indeed proud feminists.  

These remarks were just a comedic appetizer before Ryan and Parsley delivered a more apropos sendoff message of seeking out meaningful connections, finding your people, and building community. 

“Look for people who surprise you, yes, and also allow yourself to be surprised. The most wonderful friends might end up being people you would never imagine—people who don’t immediately seem like they have anything in common with you. Seek out people who don’t see the world as you do—they will show you aspects of life you wouldn’t have found on your own and push you to examine who you are and what you think,” said Ryan. 

“Seek out connections and contribute to your community. Listening to yourself is important, and so is feeling a bigger sense of belonging and of purpose—serving a community is one way to find that,” said Parsley. 

Head of Lower School Sharon Jones-Phinney closed out the Awards Celebration by echoing the remarks from Parsley and Ryan. 

“I heard you say, and I am paraphrasing of course, that we should find our people, good people, people who can help us be good to ourselves and will suspend judgment—and lead with curiosity and kindness and empathy. And love us for who we are, not just in the positive and upbeat moments, but also in the hard and even ugly moments. These are important qualities to have in friends, and I am sure that many of you have found some of your people at Winsor this year who love deeply and befriend unconditionally. Winsor seems to be a magical place for that, and I appreciate you both, Ms. Ryan and Ms. Parsley, for reminding us of that,” said Jones-Phinney. 

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