Chatham Hall’s Class of 2021 graduated on May 22 in an outdoor ceremony on Pruden Lawn. Holding an on-campus, in-person graduation had been a goal for the entire School from the first day of a year noticeably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the Commencement ceremony, the Class of 2021, faculty and staff, and invited family and friends celebrated a Baccalaureate service in St. Mary’s Chapel. Dean of Athletics Laura Clay delivered the Baccalaureate address while Sadie Hassman ’21 delivered the student address.
“One of the biggest changes came, of course, with the Coronavirus that arrived in March 2020,” said Hassman of the myriad changes and challenges the Class of 2021 faced during their time at Chatham Hall.
“As the number of COVID cases rapidly rose in America, students were not allowed to return from Spring Break and suddenly the Chatham Hall community was no longer contained within the security of the three gates and brick walls. We had to ask ourselves: ‘Who are we without the confines of this campus? And can we remain close-knit if we are scattered around the world?’
“The answer to those questions became obvious over the course of hundreds of Zoom screens and email chains. We are not defined by the bricks and steel that make up this beautiful campus. We are not location-based. Instead, we are a community of students, faculty, parents, and administrators that transcends boundaries, borders, and barriers. We are a community with wheels and with wings, a community shaped by common experiences and defined by common goals, rooted in love and respect.”
Also at Baccalaureate, Parent’s Advisory Committee President Jenny Denny was honored with the Peter and Dee Dee McKay Award.
Following a welcome and remarks by Rector Connell, the graduation ceremony included inducting several new members of the Cum Laude Society for superior academic achievement in an independent secondary school, including graduating seniors Hyunyi Kim, Stella Liu, Vanessa RenHan, Anna Song, Hannah Summerlin, and Gwen Werth. Senior Camille Neal-Harris was awarded a Global Scholar certificate and the Honor Council Award, while seniors Zoey Horn ‘22 was recognized with a Global Entrepreneurship certificate and Kala Saliu ‘21 was recognized with the Purple and Golden Rule Citation. The Lillian Evans Lineberger New Girl Award, which recognizes a New Girl who is an excellent student, outstanding citizen, and superb influence in the School, was presented to both Madelyn Boltz ‘22 and Caroline Keating ’24.
Department Awards also recognized senior student achievements, including:
- Art Department Award – Anna Song
- The Adora Prevost Ragsdale Dance Award – Gabi Preudhomme
- The Sherwood Dramatic Award – Gwen Werth
- Music Department Award – Sadie Hassman
- Class of 2012 Athletic Award – Emma Denny ’21 and Louise Strawn
- The Anne Dickinson Beal English Department Award – Gwen Werth
- The Catherine Ingram Spurzem Award for Creating Writing – Gwen Werth
- History Department Award – Phoenix Chen
- The Dixie Hargrave Whitehead Mathematics Department Award – Daisy Ye
- Religion Department Award – Hannah Faison
- Science Department Award – Anna Song
- World Languages: Chinese Award – Emma Denny
- World Languages: French Award – Mary Semerling
- World Languages: Latin Award – Daphne Chen
- World Languages: Spanish Award – Quiana Rodriguez
The Trustees’ Scholarship Medal, awarded to the senor whose cumulative grade point average at Chatham Hall is the highest in the graduating class, honored Stella Liu and Anna Song.
The Rector’s Medal, awarded to the senior girl(s) who, in the judgement of the rector and recognition of the faculty, best represents the ideals of Chatham Hall in the contribution she has made to the life of the School throughout her years at Chatham Hall, honored both Quiana Rodriguez and Mary Semerling.
To close the graduation ceremony, all assembled sang the Chatham Hall Alma Mater for the first and only time in the 2020-2021 school year.
To see videos and photos from Commencement and other end of year events, please visit www.chathamhall.org/graduation
and the School's SmugMug account
Congratulations, Class of 2021!
Yufei “Phoenix” Chen
Zhiyi “Daphne” Chen
Yien “Stella” Liu
Jiayi “Jessy” Lu
Chunxi “Vanessa” RenHan
Zhaohan “Anna” Song
Louise Cornelia Strawn
Xiangyi “Daisy” Ye
Sijia “Michelle” Zhang