By Juliette Gaggini ’20
As 72 seniors and 14 postgraduates prepare for commencement on May 28, the school has been reflecting on the senior class and all that will change when they graduate. The Highlander decided to reach out to some seniors, underclassmen and faculty about this year’s graduating class.
Senior Class Dean, Mr. Gorman, was sad to see the school year coming to a close as his work with this year’s senior class is done. As he reflected back on his experience working with the class this year, Mr. Gorman said, “This is my first year working with the seniors and it’s been a super hands-on year. Seeing them as kids their first few years here at The Gunnery has been great to see but this last year they really held the school together acting as role models both on and off campus.”
Although all the seniors have seen both themselves and the community change during their time here, those who experienced the most change are the four-year seniors. When asked about his time over the past four years here, Tucker Paron ‘19 said, “I’ve definitely seen the school change for the better. The new teachers that have been brought in have been really good and the athletics have been improving. Overall I’ve had a really positive experience… I’ve loved it.”
Over the span of four years, the students create long-lasting bonds with faculty. When four-year senior, Jean Fang ‘19, thought back to what she will miss most about the Gunnery community, she said, “I really think I’m going to miss the faculty kids a lot. I love the faculty kids because I have spent four years here and I have become close with a lot of faculty. I will definitely come back to visit next year.”
The four-year seniors have created lifelong friendships and have made some of their best memories at The Gunnery. When reflecting back to her favorite memory during her time here, Ali Noeding ‘19, said, “My favorite memory over the years has probably been when about 50 girls from Bourne dorm went down to Steep Rock and went swimming during exam week.”
Along with four-year seniors, we also have a couple five-year seniors this year, which are students who repeated a year here, usually for athletics. When five-year senior Rob Taylor ‘19 was asked about what will miss most about The Gunnery community, he said, “What am I going to miss most about The Gunnery? Probably Mr. Small, Mrs. Small, Mr. Trundy and Mr. Martin. I’ll also miss all the new friendships I’ve been able to make this year that I didn’t expect to make.”
As the grade size grows exponentially from freshman to senior year, there are also many one-, two-, and three-year seniors. Anne Beatty ‘19, three-year senior, transferred from another school her sophomore year. In reflecting on her time here at The Gunnery, she said,“I enjoy that the school does their best to make it a fun environment and everyone can do their own thing and it’s a very relaxed environment.”
This year we had a higher number of postgraduates than usual with an array of talents and interests. They were quick to bond with the rest of the senior class and helped in leading the school as role models and older kids to be looked up to. When reflecting back on his PG year, Case Kantgias ‘19 said, “I had a great PG year and I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people here, especially my new friends, such as Mason Beecher and Ryan Trom, and the academics and athletics were great.”
Mr. Badger – teacher, coach and dorm parent to a lot of the senior class during their time here – said, “It’s been interesting to see the class change over the four years, coming in as 13 and 14 year olds and leaving as adults and completely different people from the moment they first came on campus.” Mr. Badger is also proud of the positive changes that senior student leaders have made. He said, “The Prefects made a great change this year in terms of trying to open up more free time for seniors, which carries a lot of responsibility and hopefully the seniors next year can continue that on for other classes.”
Mrs. Croft has also seen a lot of growth over the years, especially with the girls on her sports teams and with the girls in her dorm. Ms. Croft is delighted to have witness the character building within the class, and said, “I’ve seen the girls be more confident in what they do and figure out who they are and I think they have begun to make better decisions over the years.”
Ms. Nongera, field hockey coach, echoed Mrs. Croft’s sentiments. She said, “Especially with field hockey I can really see their development as athletes coming from freshman year having no experience to senior year being on varsity, like Rain Ji and Joey Lin, and it has been really fun to watch everyone gain confidence in their sport.”
The underclassmen are sad to see the seniors leave as well, as they have had a big impact on the shaping of the school this year. Sophomore Anjavie Thompson ‘21 lives in Van Sinderen with the senior girls and will miss the excitement and support they provided the underclassmen with. “All the girls are like my older sisters and whenever I have a problem they’re all there for me and make sure everything is okay which I really love and appreciate,” said Ana.