During a Commencement Weekend soaked in sunshine and pride, Episcopal High School celebrated the 123 members of the Class of 2019 and said a bittersweet farewell.
“We will be forever grateful for the remarkable leadership example that this Class of 2019 has set for all who follow,” said Head of School Charley Stillwell in his address at Saturday’s Commencement ceremony. “These seniors never wavered in the pride they took in making Episcopal the best place it could be.”
Seniors began their celebration on Thursday when they closed out their EHS academic work with the traditional “defense” of their senior externship. Students made formal presentations to faculty about their monthlong professional experiences at companies, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies across the Washington area.
On Friday family, friends, and faculty gathered in Callaway Chapel for the Baccalaureate Service. Two Class of 2019 parents helped lead the service and set the tone for the weekend. The Rev. Dr. Kevin E. Donalson Sr., father of Kyndall Donalson ’19 and senior pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Herndon, Va., delivered the Invocation, asking God’s help and blessing for the seniors. “As they prepare to take the next step in their lives, be with them,” he said. “Let them take the things they have learned here at Episcopal and be better young men and young women.”
The Rev. Essentino A. Lewis, Jr., father of Sidney Lewis ’19 and pastor of Clifton Park Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Md., delivered the Baccalaureate address. He told the seniors that in a weekend focused on their individual success, they should not forget life’s larger purpose. “Be clear that tomorrow is about more than you and this place,” he said. “Episcopal High School has prepared you to make a mark on the world. And because you’ve had this opportunity, you are responsible to make it. This world needs you.”
At Friday evening’s Valedictory, the first of more than 60 awards
for the Class of 2019 were announced, with honors bestowed for leadership, character, and distinction in academics, athletics, and the arts. Valedictorian Katherine Schwartz ’19, chosen by her classmates to deliver the night’s address, urged them to recognize that the value of their EHS education is far more than the knowledge learned and skills developed.
In remarks marked by her humility and humor, she said: “When we seniors exit the front drive tomorrow with diplomas in hand — knock on wood — we’ll leave this place with not just an expanded knowledge and vocabulary, but improved emotional intelligence and genuine connections that will do just as much for us as our physical diplomas.”
Saturday morning’s celebrations began with the beloved Rose Ceremony tradition at the entrance to the Chapel, where rising seniors give a rose and a hug to their graduating friends. Next, the Episcopal community gathered at Hoxton Circle for the conferring of degrees. Each senior crossed the stage in front of Hoxton House, receiving from Stilwell a handshake and their diplomas as they closed one chapter of their lives and opened another.
“The future is upon us,” Head Monitor John Moses ’19 told his classmates, “so let’s make the most of it.”
a highlights video
of all the weekend activities. LISTEN AND WATCH
all four Commencement Weekend events at LocalLive. Registration and viewing are free at the links below. You can order downloadable copies of these recordings for $9.99 each, with the Rose Ceremony only $4.99, or all four events for $25.99. Click any of the links below for ordering information:
Photos of all the events will be posted on the Maroon and Black Flickr page shortly.