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70 Graduates Celebrate Commencement

The 70 members of The Agnes Irwin School’s Class of 2019 received their diplomas during Commencement exercises on Thursday, June 6.

“[The Class of 2019] is a class that welcomes our differences, as much as our similarities,” remarked student speaker Elizabeth Anne McNeil. “I know that I am who I am today because of Agnes Irwin. The memories we’ve made together have shaped every single one of us. I have absolutely no doubt that every single person behind me is ready for college more than she thinks. We’re so lucky to have Agnes Irwin as our foundation, and to be part of a community like this. To my class: even if we never see each other again, we will always have these years. … We will always have Agnes Irwin.”

This year’s Commencement speaker, Dr. Kelly Michele Malloy ’93, also reflected on her time at Agnes Irwin, encouraging students to draw on the relationships they have cultivated here as sources of strength and inspiration.

Malloy is an associate professor at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, as well as a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Prior to joining the department in 2012, she served as a faculty member of the Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania, where she pioneered work in head and neck surgical education through simulation technologies. Following undergraduate studies at Princeton University, Malloy received her medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In addition, she volunteers her time and expertise for humanitarian surgical trips to Honduras and Kenya

Malloy, who currently serves as secretary for The Agnes Irwin School Board of Trustees, began her address by praising the “audacity” of Miss Agnes Irwin in providing educational opportunities for women in an era when few believed in its value. “You cannot come from a legacy like this and not be humbled and inspired,” she told students. “You are poised for great things — your own legacy that you will now live, just as our school mission promises us.”

Malloy visited campus earlier this year in preparation for her remarks, speaking with seniors to, as she called it, “research” her “subjects.” She shared several of her conclusions at Thursday’s ceremony, including the girls’ “joy and love for one another — your respect for differences, your frankness, your commitment to listening to each other and forgiving each other,” as well as their trepidations about building new relationships outside of Agnes Irwin’s walls. Malloy encouraged students to actively connect with diverse people, and commit to cultivating similar principles to new relationships.

“As you begin the next part of your lives, remember the foundation that you have given each other in cultivating respect, understanding, love, and trust,” she added. “Be assured that your relationship skills will, through deliberate practice, yield you success and joy in your life.”

Prior to the presentation of diplomas, prizes in the arts, classics, English, history, mathematics, modern language, science, and overall academic achievement were awarded to seniors.

  • The Agnes Irwin School Arts Prize, presented to a senior for distinguished work in the visual or performing arts: Lydia Somani

  • The Bertha Laws Classics Prize, awarded to the senior who has shown the greatest understanding of the classical languages and of the classical concepts that are the cornerstone of Western civilization: Arya Bedi (Latin), Lauren Avery (Greek)

  • The Alumnae Association English Award, given by the alumnae of The Agnes Irwin School in memory of its first president, Elizabeth Elliot Wiener, Class of 1913: Grace Bartosh, Mary Grace Miller

  • The Agnes Irwin School History Prize, given in memory of the founder of the school for the best work in history: Anne Curran, Isabel Manning

  • The Phyllis Belisle Mathematics Prize, given by Mrs. Armand A. Belisle in memory of her daughter, chair of the Department of Mathematics from 1957-1957, for the best work in mathematics: Rachel Welch

  • The Agnes Irwin School Modern Language Prize, awarded by the Modern Language Department to the senior or seniors who have shown the greatest degree of excellence in study of the language and culture: Caroline Glaser (Chinese), Emily Kulp (Spanish), Elizabeth Scott (French)

  • The Edith C. Gall Science Prize, presented by the Class of 1963 to a senior who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of science during the year, given in memory of Mrs. Edith C. Gall, beloved teacher: Emily Kulp

  • The Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Delaware Valley Award, presented to an outstanding senior who embodies the Phil Beta Kappa ideals of academic achievement, character, and a love of wisdom and learning: Rachel Welch

Additional senior accolades were presented at the Class Night Awards on Wednesday night, including:

  • The Daphne Apostolidis Award, given in honor of Ms. Apostolidis for her 33 years of service as a Lower School teacher to The Agnes Irwin School. This award recognizes a student who embodies selfless commitment to the Agnes Irwin community: Lydia Somani

  • The Head of School Award: Lillian Flick

  • The Jeanne Clery Award, presented to the student who has demonstrated the qualities of courage, compassion, and leadership in her associations with her classmates and in her contributions to the school: Rachel Welch

  • The Joanne P. Hoffman Award, given by the Class of 2018 in honor of the former Director of the Upper School Mrs. Joanne P. Hoffman. This prize is awarded by the director of the Upper School to the Upper School student who embodies the spirit and ideals of Mrs. Hoffman. This student is a mentor to her peers, continuously makes an effort to include everyone, and demonstrates the same love of fun and spontaneity that Mrs. Hoffman modeled in her time at The Agnes Irwin School: Camilla Gowen

  • The White Blazer Award, awarded to a student chosen by the Athletic Department as an outstanding senior athlete exhibiting a unique combination of athleticism and mental toughness while displaying the ideals of sportsmanship and leadership: Emily Wills

Head of School Dr. Wendy Hill recalled the class’s journey and its contributions to the camaraderie and energy of Agnes Irwin — and praised graduates for triumphing over obstacles while caring for others. “You surmounted the challenges, cleared your path, demonstrated your true character, and cast this enviously admirable bond among your classmates,” she said. “You have come together, not by becoming more homogenous, but by appreciating your fellow classmates’ individuality. Continue to stay true to who you are.”

View the full list of Class of 2019 college destinations.

View the full list of Class Night Awards.

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