Members of the Class of 2020 waved from car windows, poked out of sun roofs and honked horns with abandon as they drove in decorated cars past cheering faculty and staff – all wearing masks and standing more than six feet apart – on the upper school campus on May 17.
The day’s creative adaptation to the customary Senior Send-Off may have surpassed the traditional event for its displays of pure joy and RE spirit. Waving pom poms, Head of School Penny Townsend personally greeted every car. Math teacher and water polo coach Eric Lefebvre served as a spirited emcee, welcoming each senior by name and revving up the assembled faculty and staff as music cranked through loudspeakers.
RE’s seniors, back on campus for the first time since mid-March, received RE swag bags that each included the 2019-20 yearbook, the Inklings literary magazine and an assortment of gifts, including a Paul Ransom medallion from the head of school. The drive-through was followed by a virtual event that included some of the more customary send-off elements: the salutatorian address; student performances; and remarks by the senior class dean, head of the upper school and director of alumni relations.
Salutatorian Dylan Tie-Shue ’20, who last week was named a National Merit Scholar, offered a heartfelt thank you to RE’s teachers during his address, calling the last seven years “the best experience of my life.” He also lauded the Class of 2020 for making the most of a disheartening spring.
“And it doesn’t matter what privileges our class has lost, because what mattered was that we went through it all together,” he said. “As our favorite transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘We acquire the strength we have overcome.’ All of those struggles, worries, and failures have brought us closer together … Our blood will always run green and blue, and that’s something that will stay with us forever.” Read his full speech here
The event included a host of senior performances: Emma Fraser ’20 sang “Rainbow Connection”; Abby Aldrich ’20 performed “Don’t Look Back in Anger”; Joshua Hertz ’20 sang “Don’t Panic”; Kareena Rudra ’20 performed an original poem; Zach Buttrick ’20 played a song dedicated to the RE faculty; and Brianna Suarez ’20 sang “History.”
Vicki Carbonell Williamson ’88 served in a number of capacities at the event; as director of alumni relations, she welcomed RE’s newest class agents: Olivia Byrd ’20, Diego Duckenfield-Lopez ’20, Preston Edmunds ’20, Becca Fisher ’20, Jack Fitzpatrick ’20, Viviana Freyer ’20 and Meredith Hutchinson ’20.
As the parent of a senior, she enjoyed the senior videos, and as an alumna of Ransom Everglades, she and daughter Mia took their spot among the legacy families who were recognized at the event and later received a hand-delivered plaque from Penny Townsend. Legacy Families photo gallery
2020 Legacy Families:
Guido F. Antezana '89 and Sophia C. Antezana '20
Roger A. Baumann '85 and Maximilian C. Baumann '20
Jennifer Beber '77 and Jake N. Beber-Frankel '20, Phoebe B. Beber-Frankel '20
Eugene "Bubba" Drody '88 and Eugene "Will" Drody '20
Cristi Mendoza Edmunds '86 and Preston Edmunds '20
Alicia Gerrit Hawkins '90 and James Morgan Hawkins '20
Tania O. Dominguez '87 and Lucas B. Miner '20
Rudy Prio Touzet '76 and Jack Prio Touzet '20
Carlos Prio-Touzet '72 and Carlos E. Prio-Touzet '20
Rosalie Berg '89 and Connor T. Sahs '20
Roland Samimy '86 and Perry F. Samimy '20
David M. Scharlin '80 and Howard S. Scharlin '20
Mark Touby '88 and Heather Touby '20
Vicki Carbonell Williamson '88 and Mia Williamson '20
Vicki Williamson also congratulated RE’s seniors for countering a stormy spring with an abundance of Raider spirit.
“I feel like you all came to this campus as underdogs and found a way to leave as solid and respected leaders,” Williamson said. “You yourselves charted your path by coining the phrase ‘Quality over Quantity’ and living by it. You set a new tone for the school. Spirit is back!”
Seniors also heard from Head of the Upper School Patricia Sasser; student body president Preston Edmunds ’20; Greg Cooper, Dean of Studies and Dean of the Senior Class; and Jorge Guzman, advisor to the Student Government Association.
The event concluded with a video assembled by Edmunds and fellow members of the Class of 2020. You can find it on RE's Class of 2020 page