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Congratulations, Class of 2024!

Congratulations, Class of 2024!

The sun was shining and the mood bright as Canterbury School celebrated its 107th Commencement Exercises for—fittingly—107 Saints in the Class of 2024 on Friday, May 24. Fifty of those graduates were diehard four-year members. The ceremony, held on Sheehan Lawn with faculty, staff, family, alumni, and friends in attendance, was particularly meaningful for Head of School Rachel Stone P ’23, ’24, who is stepping down at the end of the school year along with her husband, Director of Athletics Jim Stone P ’23, ’24. Their son Kip was among the day’s graduates.

In addressing the class, Rachel spoke of how this was a time when many students’ thoughts shift to college programs and majors, summer internships, and professional networks, and they seek answers to a fundamental question: What do you want to be? “The great news is that the sheer number of career pathways for Gen Z has grown exponentially,” Rachel told them. “The sky is the limit for the Class of 2024.”

But Rachel encouraged students to ask an even better question. “If your years on this hilltop have taught you anything, it is that the values you live by and the role you choose to play in the lives of others matter most,” she said. “So instead, let us ask: ‘Who do you want to be?’"

Rachel offered additional advice to graduates as they prepared to move forward in their lives. “Never, ever forget that you have learned how and when to ask for help—academically, emotionally, socially—and that is a skill for life. While your freshman college classes will likely be much bigger than today’s graduating class, I believe you can bring the mantra we live by—“Saints show up for Saints”—to your new communities. Tigers, Bobcats, Bison, Bulldogs, Eagles, and Huskies can also show up for one another!”

In closing, Rachel shared a heartfelt message to the class. “As Mr. Stone and I ‘graduate’ from Canterbury alongside the Class of 2024, we want to thank you for making this our home,” she said.

Director of Music David Overthrow received the J.P. Mandler Teaching Award, named for the former faculty member who served Canterbury for 46 years as English Department Chair, Director of Studies, Dean of Faculty, Director of Technology, Dean of the School, and Senior Master. The award is presented each year to that faculty member who reflects the fundamental commitment to excellence in classroom teaching.

In making the presentation, Associate Head of School for Academics and Dean of Faculty Suzanne Roberts P ’24, ’27 said, “Great teachers are passionate about their subject matter and genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge with students. Their enthusiasm is contagious and inspires students to engage with the material. By creating a positive and supportive learning environment, this year's recipient fosters student confidence and motivation while offering constructive feedback and praise to nurture student development.”

Sue continued: “He can adapt his teaching style to suit the needs of each student, whether they are beginners or advanced, and brings creativity into his lessons, finding innovative ways to engage students and make learning enjoyable. He has been committed to his own growth as a musician and as an educator, staying updated on new teaching methods, repertoire, and advancements in music education.”

Class valedictorian Ella Caraluzzi then delivered the student keynote address, congratulating her classmates for their achievements and looking back on her time at Canterbury. “It is impossible for me to distinguish one specific memory as the most impactful. Rather, it is my firm belief that Canterbury’s impact comes from small moments. It is the time spent eating lunch with my friends, enjoying sunsets on the turf, sledding after snowstorms, and watching movies in the dorms that form my fondest sentiments,” she said.  

Ella was especially appreciative of the values she learned during her time on the hilltop. “What matters is the people around you because at the base of everything we have achieved is the constant, unwavering support of the community,” she shared. “The profound impact of Canterbury is its people, and no distance or amount of time will erase that. We have all been touched by the warmth of this community and taught lessons we will carry with us as adults—the most important being that, even though we are now standing on the threshold of infinite possibilities, you demonstrate kindness no matter what path you pursue.”

A number of Commencement Awards were handed out to members of the graduating class during the ceremony. Hayden Devorsetz and Ryan Roberts received the Robert M. Steele ’72 Boys’ Scholar-Athlete Trophy in memory of Robert M. Steele, a model scholar and athlete, for academic and athletic achievements. Ella Caraluzzi and Virginia Zapletal were awarded the Charles R. Huntington Girls’ Scholar-Athlete Trophy for academic and athletic achievement in memory of Mr. Huntington, a teacher, coach, and Athletic Director from 1969–1999. Camryn Beauvais was presented with the Elizabeth (Betty) Burke Award for the Sixth Form student whose time at Canterbury has been marked by cheerful determination to serve God and others. Shaun McKenna was the Class of 1987 Citizenship Award recipient for his role as the Sixth Former who, in the judgment of his peers, has best fulfilled obligations to the School, fellow students, and self.

The Richard L. and Mary Catharine Farrelly Award was presented to Ava Faruol and Caroline Thompson for their quiet but thorough leadership. Seven students received the Philip H. Brodie Award for exceptional achievement and all-around service to the School: Ruari Bamrick, Ella Caraluzzi, Anne Celestino, Madeline Diglio, Jack Greenberg, Morgan Lau, and Nathan Ruzzi.

The presentation of awards concluded with the naming of the Dr. Nelson Hume Award recipients. Elsa Copeland and Ryan Roberts earned the esteemed award as the Sixth Form students whose leadership, character, and achievements have been of the highest order and whose performance embodies the ideals of the founding headmaster.

The week leading up to Commencement was filled with special events and activities for the graduating class, including final concerts; the end-of-year carnival; Prom; the Diehard Hike at Lover’s Leap State Park for four-year students; Class of 2024 commemorative tree-planting; the Sixth Form Retreat, where students read notes they wrote to themselves at the beginning of the year; the Sixth Form Awards Assembly and Dinner with faculty; and the Baccalaureate Mass in the Chapel of Our Lady.

Following a busy week and the Commencement ceremony, Sixth Form students and their families enjoyed final on-campus moments with friends and faculty before departing as the newest members of Canterbury’s Society of Alumni.