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Providence Day’s Class of 2024 held their 50th Commencement on this beautiful, sunny final day in May. Smiles and happy tears of proud mothers, fathers, family members, friends, and classmates watched as the 167 members of the senior class began their processional walk down the aisle in the Mosack Athletic Center (MAC).

Beginning the morning, senior Morgan Boonshaft delivered the invocation saying, “Never be so kind, you forget to be clever. Never be so clever, you forget to be kind. Let us remember that true wisdom lies in balancing compassion and intelligence, and vice-versa, as we navigate the complexities of the world lying ahead.”

collage of Commencement 2024 photos of grads with friends and families

Head of School Dr. Glyn Cowlishaw then addressed the standing room only crowd, acknowledging many outstanding facts about the Class of 2024. Eighty-nine percent of the seniors were offered merit scholarships or academic honors, and the earned scholarship amount was just over $20 million.

Of particular note are Jacob Chen receiving a U.S. Presidential Scholar Award – the third in PD’s history; Cassie Miller being named Providence Day’s 17th Morehead-Cain Scholar; Brook Ephrem and Senay Hailu, our school’s first 2 Questbridge Scholars; and Garrett Holt and Diego Keller, who earned full-ride scholarships to the University of Southern California and University of Texas, respectively.

Out of the 167 soon to be graduates, 82 different schools in 30 states will represent PD, as well as internationally in England and Wales. Global Studies Diplomas were awarded to 17 students, 64 lifers – have attended PD since at least first-grade, and seven legacies.

He ended with two very different yet very apropos quotes from two noteworthy Brits. The first was from Winston Churchill: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

And closing with “If there is anything that you want, if there is anything I can do, just call on me, and I’ll send it along with love from me to you!” by The Beatles.

Commencement speaker Howard Levine challenged the Class of 2024 “to make the most of [opportunities]. Try new things. Go to an artistic performance or a sporting event you’ve never attended. Sit next to people who don’t look like you, or who come from a different culture. Take classes in philosophy, study a different religion, or learn about something that fascinates you, yet has absolutely nothing to do with your major.

Taking advantage of these opportunities will not just make you a more well-rounded person. It will actually help you focus on the things that matter to you – that bring you joy or fulfillment. And it will show you how to apply your talents to live a life that is meaningful and rewarding.”

Through money raised selling AutoBell gift cards and thank you note cards, the senior class gift was then presented. With the MAC featuring prominently in the lives of these seniors as a place to hang out after school, gather with friends, and watch the Senior Sunrise, a brick walkway will be laid leading from the front to the side of the MAC in honor of Head of School Eric Hedinger. Click here to see a rendering.

Awards included valedictorian Jacob Chen, also a recipient of a 2024 U.S. Presidential Scholar Award; salutatorian Shravan Selvavel; Head of School Award given to Pavan Thakkar – which he has won each year since ninth grade; and King Constantine Medal winner Francesca "Frankie" Castellucci.

Saundra Robbins was named The Downing/Williams Endowed Chair of Teaching Excellence recipient for the 2024-25 academic year. Mrs. Robbins, a beloved Lower School physical education teacher and much more, has been at PD for over 30 years, touching the lives of each graduate.

The honor was established in 2018 with the philanthropic support of Nancy and Bruce Downing, parents of Yates ‘12, Charlotte ‘14, Tommy ‘17, and Michael ‘19. Endowed Chairs are synonymous with exceptional faculty and teaching excellence. The chair is awarded to a full-time faculty member who will hold this high distinction for one academic year. The recipient receives a stipend and professional development award.

Valedictorian Jacob Chen was the last to speak before the handing out of diplomas, leaving his class with an Eckhart Tolle quote: “‘The more you focus on time—past or future—the more you miss the Now, which is the most precious thing there is.’ Therefore, forget about the time machines and celebrate the now. Celebrate teachers, coaches, friends, and family now. And most importantly, celebrate each other for representing the most legendary class in Providence Day history. And that I can be one hundred percent certain about. So congratulations to the Class of 2024, and thank you.”

As a school and community, we would like to give a big shout-out to our Head of Upper School, Eric Hedinger. This was his final Providence Day commencement celebration. He will be heading a few hours southeast of PD to be the Head of School at Augusta Preparatory Day School in Martinez, Georgia. He began his teaching career as an English teacher and soccer coach at Providence Day School in 1996. Eric, we wish you nothing but the best!

Congratulations to the Class of 2024! Please see our Commencement page for more information and to view photo galleries and videos. And remember, once a Charger, always a Charger!