Bishop Seabury commencement marks new era

Graduating senior Ellen Gibbs, center, wipes away a tear during the Bishop Seabury Academy graduation Friday. At left is William Butler and at right is Sun Young Yoon. Fourteen seniors were honored.

High School Graduation 2008

They were the final Bishop Seabury Academy students to attend classes at the old campus east of Lawrence.

The academy on Friday afternoon honored the 14 graduates, who administrators said helped play significant roles both in preserving the independent school’s tradition and ushering in a new era.

“It’s a significant feeling of freedom. I’m just ready to go on to college, and I see so much potential in my fellow class members,” graduate Zach Schmidt said.

Schmidt and his classmates accepted awards, passed on the torch to the younger students and thanked their teachers and administrators during the 90-minute ceremony at the academy, 4120 Clinton Parkway.

“I simply ask you to do one thing: Cherish your time here,” graduate Bill Butler, who gave the “senior charge” address geared toward the younger students.

Valedictorian Brooke Sutherland said the graduates have learned to strike a balance between a strong work ethic and having fun.

“No amount of hard work is worthwhile if you don’t enjoy it in the process,” she said.

Matt Patterson, the assistant head of school and an English teacher, said each graduate has special qualities and the ability to make the school and his or her family proud.

“Strive to achieve good everywhere you go and whatever you do,” he said.

The faculty also honored Werner Anderson, dean of students, who is leaving the school after three years.

The school moved in the fall of 2003 from its campus east of Lawrence to its current location in western Lawrence.

“They are the last of those I will forever call the ‘cornfield miscreants,'” Don Schawang, Seabury’s head of school, said of the graduates who went through seventh grade in the county.

He said the school has become stronger since it moved.

“I think you – my seniors – are evident of this capacity to transform while maintaining a solid foundation,” Schawang said.