Montclair Kimberley Academy graduated 113 students during its Commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 13 in an outdoor ceremony on Van Brunt Field in Montclair. This was the first commencement ceremony held on campus since the 1950’s.
Faculty and Trustees led the procession of the Class of 2021, and Head of Upper School Dr. David C. Flocco delivered the welcome address, in which he acknowledged the challenges of a year defined by a pandemic. He credited the senior class for “Not only helping us to be the community we are today, but also helping us to endure and emerge from this pandemic better than we entered it. As you sit here today and enjoy your last time together as a class, with your teachers and family in attendance...remember your home away from home – that physical place you are always welcome to visit. But also, think about the people and the memories and the community that you will take from here that will make up that home in your head that will never leave you. You have been a true blessing to us, Class of 2021, I thank you for that.”
Student Government Vice President Kelsey Freeman reflected on her experience and shared, “The measure of our lives on this campus is not rounded up in our GPAs, or our college decisions, or even our diplomas, but it’s in the unscripted and unpredictable moments that remind us of who we are and lead us into the paths that we were always meant to follow.” She continued, “We are the school on the hill that takes pride in putting the community at the forefront of every lesson plan. We aren’t perfect, and we don’t pretend to be. But we’re getting there.” Senior Jonah Barbin ended his remarks to the class with the exhortation, “Go out there, be confident, take risks, and be the special people I know you all are.”
Head of School Thomas W. Nammack was joined by President of the Board of Trustees Kathleen M. Logan in awarding the diplomas, together with faculty members and Trustees, who as parents of seniors, participated in the tradition of awarding their own children their diplomas.
As the last speaker to address the Class of 2021 in his last Commencement before retiring, Mr. Nammack could not help but focus on the present. Thanking the faculty and staff for responding to and elevating the experience of students this year, Mr. Nammack also expressed sincere appreciation to the families for their support of and commitment to MKA. After viewing the work of student-writers and artists in the final publication of the Upper School student literary magazine Stylus, Mr. Nammack found inspiration and perspective in the work and said, “What I have witnessed of you and the community in the past fifteen months proves that you are, we are, all part of an exceptional school.”
Student Government President Isa Luca and Senior Class President Nate Corbett officially concluded the ceremony by ringing the Montclair Academy bell, which dates back almost a century. Though as befitting an extraordinary year, the ceremony did not actually end there. With the help of very special guests, Dr. Flocco awarded honorary diplomas, the first of which was given to Mr. Nammack, presented by the four MKA Board Presidents who served during his tenure. The second diploma was presented to Mr. George Hrab, beloved MKA faculty member retiring at the end of his 52nd year at the school, by his children, both of whom are MKA alumni.
The Class of 2021 is matriculating to the following 69 schools:
Bates College, Boston College, Boston University, Bucknell University (2), Case Western Reserve University (2), Champlain College, Colby College, College of Charleston (4), College of William and Mary, Colorado College, Columbia University (4), Connecticut College, Cornell University, Dartmouth College (2), Elon University, Emerson College (2), Emory University (2), Fordham University (2), Franklin and Marshall College, Furman University, George Washington University (2), Georgetown University, Gettysburg College (2), Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Johns Hopkins University, Kenyon College, Lafayette College (2), Lehigh University (2), Loyola University Maryland, Middlebury College, Monmouth University, Muhlenberg College, New York University (2), Northeastern University (2), Northwestern University, Pratt Institute (2), Princeton University, Providence College, San Diego State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, St. John's University, Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology (3), Syracuse University (3), The College of New Jersey, Tufts University (2), Tulane University (5), University of California Irvine, University of Chicago, University of Miami (4), University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania (2), University of Pittsburgh , University of Southern California (2), University of Tampa, University of Tennessee, University of Toronto (2), University of Vermont, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Villanova University (2), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Wake Forest University (3), Washington University in St. Louis, Wesleyan University (3), Western University, Yale University (2)