Highlights from Gould’s Class of 2019 Commencement
Gould Academy presented diplomas to 62 seniors at its 183rd commencement exercises on a beautiful Saturday over the Memorial Day weekend.
Led by bagpiper and Gould alumna Hillary Hough Anderson ’07, speakers, faculty, and graduating seniors made their way from the steps of Hanscom Hall across Alumni Field, where several hundred family and friends gathered under the tent to celebrate the Class of 2019.
2019 Commencement Speakers
The Rev. Holly Hoffmann, a former Gould English teacher, gave the invocation, and Phyllis Gardiner P’09, president of the Gould Academy Board of Trustees, introduced the keynote speaker, Olympic mogul skier Troy Murphy, Gould Class of 2010.
Troy Murphy ’10, Olympic Mogul Skier
A Bethel native, Murphy is the son of Matt and Nancy Murphy. He was a member of the US Ski Team for five years, competing in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.
As he moved through his address, Murphy slowly transformed himself into his alter ego, Mainer Donny Pelletier. First suspenders, then the signature sunglasses, the John Deere hat, and finally the two-liter bottle of Moxie. But instead of skiing down White Heat or some other run as he typically does in his series of viral videos, he had several pieces of advice for the graduates.
“There’s no secret ingredient; you’ve already figured it out. It’s a healthy dose of passion mixed with a never-ending hunger to learn.”
-Troy Murphy ’10
“A lot of things went into my early success,” Murphy said, “but the biggest one was passion. If you love what you’re doing you’re going to want to learn as much about that as possible. And what have you been doing for the past four years? You’ve been learning. There’s no secret ingredient; you’ve already figured it out. It’s a healthy dose of passion mixed with a never-ending hunger to learn.”
He emphasized that learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. “The different areas of your life are not compartmentalized,” he said. “And that means that something you learned in one area you can and should apply to other areas. That’s where real creativity and real growth can actually happen.”
But success can bring with it unwanted consequences, he said, more stress, more responsibility, burn out.
“Traveling around the world’s a blast, but you can’t find a bottle of Moxie to save your life.”
– Donny Pelletier
“So the last thing I want to talk to you about is having fun and not taking things too seriously,” he added, his accent turning distinctly Maine now.
“Look, I was on the U.S. Ski Team for five years, Bub. Me, not that Troy Murphy guy, he said. “And while that is quite the life, it ain’t always fun. Traveling around the world’s a blast, but you can’t find a bottle of Moxie to save your life.” At which point he pulled a two-liter bottle from the podium to much applause, the transformation to Donny now complete.
“And when you’ve been working on some run you’ve been trying to complete for four years, maybe even longer than that, and you get to one of them World Cup competitions to try to do that run and you make it across the finish line, all excited like, I friggin’ did it, dude. And the judges look at you like, ‘Nope, Bub. That weren’t it.’ That’s pretty frustrating let me tell ya.”
He summarized his advice: “Take risks, be passionate, keep learning, and have fun.” But the fifth lesson, he said: “Never go full Donny. Never.”
Setting the Moxie and other props aside, he closed his talk on a serious note, with a memory of the day he rode the bus from his first ever Olympic competition run, where he qualified in fourth, back to the athletes’ village before marching with Team USA in the opening ceremonies.
“If you can tell me when I’ll have a better day than that, please tell me, because that was pretty surreal.”
But, sitting on that bus, was also the first chance he’d had to check his phone, he said, and the outcry of support was just unbelievable. As he scrolled through the messages, he remembers seeing a photo of Gould students here in the dining hall, cheering him on.
“To think that eight years earlier I was sitting there,” he said, “biting my nails, wondering if I was making the right decision, to eight years later accomplishing those goals and still having Gould students support me. So congrats on all you’ve accomplished here,” he told the seniors. “I can’t wait to see where you guys are in eight years. I’ll be supporting you.”
David Temkin ’19, Class-Elected Speaker
Class Speaker David Temkin followed, sharing his top ten moments at Gould, starting with the sense of freedom he felt when he arrived on campus for the first time — no parents, no rules. Or so he thought. That elation was quickly tempered by his orientation trip. “Welcome to Gould. Now, go climb Mt. Washington.”
“Being a Husky has taught me that 6,000 miles isn’t that much. No matter where we end up in the world, we’re never more than a text message or a boarding pass away.”
– David Temkin ’19
He contrasted his middle school field trip to Boston to walk Boston’s Freedom Trail, to his 9th grade trip to China to walk the Great Wall and “hang out with the terracotta warriors” in Xi’an. “Nothing beats peer-pressuring your friends into eating scorpions,” he said.
He remembered small annoyances coming into perspective, and how he used to complain about things like running out of hot water in the showers or a hard day of coursework, until he went to Tanzania as a sophomore. “Imagine finishing a fun night of dancing to African pop music,” he said, “and not being able to go back to the dorm where you are staying. You ask the security guard why, and he tells you, ‘Hyenas in the dorm.’ True story.”
“Family is forever,” he told his classmates. “The people sitting around you today are more than friends. We’ve eaten together, studied together, seen the world together. Gould isn’t Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Our family isn’t perfect, but it’s hard to imagine wishing for a better one. The world is a huge place, but Gould has made it a lot smaller. Being a Husky has taught me that 6,000 miles isn’t that much. No matter where we end up in the world, we’re never more than a text message or a boarding pass away.”
Minjeong “Zoe” Kim ’19, Valedictorian
Valedictorian Minjeong “Zoe” Kim then let the audience in on a secret. “Gould Academy,” she said, “is not as competitive as you think. While students at other boarding schools might stay up until midnight every day to finish up their work, or stress about their rank in the school, as they do in South Korea, at Gould you are encouraged to find your own value and find your place in this Gould community.”
She described her first camping trip and how, as a city girl, she didn’t know what firewood was for, or how to build a fire. But on her second, longer trip, she found her place, making dinner for the group every night. They became, she said, a “tight team of purpose.”
“Gould encourages all of us to find ourselves. And it is here that we have each found our best selves.”
–Valedictorian Minjeong “Zoe” Kim ’19
“What is unique and special about Gould,” Kim said, “is that it doesn’t make you view your peers as rivals or enemies, rather it makes us view each other as essential members of this community. Competition is not as important as the courage to turn our ideas into actions,” she added. “Making intangible ideas into tangible actions is what makes the difference in our lives and in our world.”
She reminded her classmates that they did compete at Gould — with themselves and with nature.
“Gould is the most courageous place,” she said, “with the most courageous people. It brings out courage in you and encourages you to express it throughout the world. Gould encourages all of us to find ourselves. And it is here that we have each found our best selves.”
Kim received the Scholarship Shield, awarded to the senior with the highest academic average.
Student Awards for the Class of 2019
The following members of the Gould Academy Class of 2019 also received awards at Commencement:
Members of this year’s senior class elected to the Cum Laude Society: Minjeong “Zoe” Kim, Qiao “Cindy” Li, Seung Heon “Dave” Song, Sooyeon “Stella” Kim, Lilo Libby Bean, Lavinia Clarke, Joshua Galluzzo, Zheyuan “Frank” Liu, Lily Weafer, Madeline Williams, Jiaqi “Peter” Zhang, Mingxu “Harry” Zhu, Rayan El Amine.
Seniors acknowledged for their distinguished academic performance, achieving a cumulative average of 90 or above over their careers at Gould: Robert Banks, Lilo Bean, Ryan Beckerman, Lavinia Clarke, Katharine Dade, Rayan El Amine, Xingzicheng “Bobby” Fang, Joshua Galluzzo, Marguerite Iaria, Minjeong “Zoe” Kim, Sooyeon “Stella” Kim, Qiao “Cindy” Li, Jingwen “Lexi” Li, Zheyuan”Frank” Liu, Sophia Sczurko, Mia Shifrin, Seung Heon “Dave” Song, Samuel Tweedale, Yuki Ueda, Xu “Tony” Wang, Lily Weafer, Koki Wiley, Madeline Williams, Aerin Young, Jiaqi “Peyer” Zhang, Mingxu “Harry” Zhu.
Academic Book Prizes were presented to the following students: English Award and Innovator’s Award: Joshua Galluzzo; Mathematics and Mandarin: Zoe Kim; Science: Dave Song; History: Julian Newquist; French: Sam Tweedale; Computer Science: Parker Seeley; Spanish: Caraline Gray; Theatre: Michael Wheeler; Technical Theater: Cassidy Webster; Art: Cindy Li; Art Department Purchase Award: Kirsten Soucy.
Kirsten Soucy also received the Gayle A. Foster Award for her outstanding work in photography.
The Rhode Island School of Design President’s Award, recognizing an accomplished artist in the senior class, went to Emily Mao, and the Ralph Gould Music Award was given to senior Peter Zhang.
Sophie Sczurko received the Francis “Hi” Berry Award, and Eddie Kaftan received the Joe Roderick Award for outstanding competitive spirit through example and overall competence in athletics.
Caraline Gray received the William P. Clough III award, which recognizes an on-snow athlete who has demonstrated outstanding character, attitude, and leadership.
Mia Shifrin received the Gould Academy Alumni Association Award, which recognizes the son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter of an alumnus or alumna whose attitude, involvement and contributions typify the ideals of Gould’s alumni and its Alumni Association.
The Senior Point Award, given to Maddie Williams whose Senior Point project for a bag ban ordinance in Bethel best exemplified the three values at the heart of any Gould endeavor, “the energy to try, willingness to risk, and capacity to tolerate.” She also received a Mainely Character Scholarship and the MELMAC Principals Scholarship as a “senior who has made a difference in the lives of others and that of his or her community and is a solid school citizen involved in extracurricular activities; a student who has exhibited a commitment to public service; and an individual with the potential to make a difference in the world.”
The Jan and Lorenzo Baker Award, bestowed upon a member of the senior class who best exemplifies the qualities that the Bakers fostered: personal courage, an adventurous and creative approach and a clear vision of themselves and their world, went to Mia Shifrin.
Anna Clare Miller received the Ouwinga Citizenship Award as the senior who embraces the spirit in which both the Ouwingas live their lives through acts of selflessness and thoughtful humanitarianism.
The Linwood “Lindy” Lowell Award, an honor voted upon by the graduating class, is given annually to the member of the senior class whose friendly personality and helpful nature have brightened the lives of fellow students. The Class of 2019 chose to award the honor to Annie Cerminaro.
Luke Hayward and Nicole Berry received the Elwood F. Ireland Award, a faculty voted award given to the boy and girl of the senior class who exemplify service, leadership, and character.
Sophie Sczurko received the Headmaster’s Bowl, presented annually to the senior who has exhibited the highest standards of scholarship, character, service to the school and participation in activities of the school. She also received the Annie Daley Courchesne Award, which celebrates the spirit of student involvement in social, political and environmental causes.
Phyllis Gardiner recognized Associate Head of School Pat Donovan, who is retiring after 39 years of service at Gould. At the request of the Class of 2019, Donovan remained on stage for the awarding of diplomas to the graduating seniors, and giving out, as she said, “the most consecutive hugs” she ever has.