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MSA Class of 2017 Graduates


On Saturday, May 27, 2017 Miller School of Albemarle graduated its 139th class. The week’s end festivities began with a school-wide awards ceremony on Friday morning celebrating accomplishments, achievements and granting thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for college.

Friday evening the MSA Baccalaureate dinner and student run service was held, the weather being fine made the evening a pleasant one. After a lovely meal provided by Sage Dining Services, the students and their families, faculty, and staff gathered under the outdoor tent erected for the weekend events and together joined their voices in wishing the best for our graduating seniors. (Photos may be found here)

Passages from traditional texts were read by six of the Miller student body, Nate Cantu, Liliana Kelley-Wagner, Ansley Hanson, Loick Derquenne, Grace Tian, and Jordano Bakalian, and music students led by Mr. Chris Celella performed a lovely set of traditional songs. Finally, English teacher Mr. Jay Kauffmann, who had been selected by the senior class to speak at this year’s Baccalaureate, took the stage. His moving reminiscence of his own teen years, and the impact that the sudden death of his father had on his and his family’s lives brought back around full circle to the question he had been asked by a student weeks before; why was he here teaching at MSA when he could be doing something, or anything else? The simple answer being, what better way to interact with humanity.

At 9 a.m. the next morning, Saturday May 27th, 2017, seniors began to gather at the Bistro, chatting excitedly, taking photos, starting to shed tears. Mrs. Crosby and Mr. Fickley placed corsages and boutonnieres on wrists and lapels respectively. Ties were still being tied, hair adjusted, dress shoes still being looked for as the short time left before the last group picture together was about to be taken. The twelve girls and thirty boys lined up on the north steps of Old Main as have the many graduating classes before them. Girls in their white dresses, boys in their khaki pants and navy blazers, this is one Miller’s traditions, one of many to play out this graduation day.

At 10:00 a.m. the faculty and staff of Miller School of Albemarle were led by Mr. Mark Krebs, Chair of the MSA Board of Trustees, Mr. Rick France, Headmaster, Mr. Peter Hufnagel, Dean of Faculty, Dr. Jason Nabi, Dean of Academics, and processed into the tent, followed alphabetically by the senior class.

Mr. Krebs gave the Invocation and Mr. France expressed his best wishes for the futures of the graduating class in his Welcome Remarks. Salutatorian Penghui Zhong then gave a touching memory filled speech that made everyone smile, while Valedictorian Bowen Fu spoke eloquently on the progression of the senior class from young, scared kids from four or five years previous, through to the present as young adults ready to move on to what new beginnings the future holds next.

Between speeches the audience enjoyed a performance of the Boyz II Men song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by seniors Piper Hawley-Hayes, Thomas Mariutti, Alexandra McGowan, and Mark Park.

Next came the reading of the Citations, written about and for each senior by their advisor, each citation is as unique as each of our graduating seniors is exceptional. It gives us one more chance to express that we see each individual for who they are, and that we believe in them as they set forth on their next endeavor.

Finally, the time came to award diplomas, as each Miller School of Albemarle senior came forward, with smiles, with tears, and with anticipation for the future, the gathered crowd expressed their best hopes and wishes for them all. And the Miller School of Albemarle Class of 2017 was graduated, the finest of our traditions, the completion of the education of fifty-two unique individuals, ready for what life holds for them next.

Traditions, they are a constant and sacred thing. They help tie us together, as a people, as a family, as a community. As these young women and men stood shoulder to shoulder together, perhaps for the last time as a group, and a photograph was taken preserving the moment, we hope that Miller School of Albemarle will also be preserved collectively in their hearts, for they will always have a home here on the hill. Congratulations to the Class of 2017. (Photos may be found here)


Maha Marwan R Alkhateeb

Jackson Fletcher Barrett

Will Matthew Bickers

Lane Lindsay Bonner, IV

Christopher Edward Breving

Secret Taylor Marie Bryant

Deja Dean Canter

Yusen Cao

Hannah Ayanna Coles

Maxwell James Collins

AdibD’Amiano Solis

Bowen Fu

Laurent Gervais

Chrsitian Jerry GhawaliAbu Sa’ad

Paul Molloy Groeschel-Johnson

Truman Archer Guercio

Piper Lawrence Hawley-Hayes

Amanda Grace Histand

Katelynn Ashley Howard

Haojun Jin

Jasmine Elese Johnson

Sefet Kastrat

Joshua Christian Leak

Chi Bok Lee

Jamal Andres Litzenberger Brunetti

Ian Scott MacLean

Thomas Mustafa Mariutti

Ali Marofi

Alexandra Grace  McGowan

Pedro Monteiro Martins

Abagayle Frances Morrill

Tanner Austin Morris

Owen Christopher Nimmo

Jonghyuk Park

Marcus Andrew Respeto

Yasmine Nicole Tyler

William James Wagner

John Shannon Williams

Jackson Thomas Woodworth

Ziwei Xu

Doh Gyun Yu

Xiang Yu

Penghui Zhong




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