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Commencement returns to campus for Class of 2022

After a virtual graduation in 2020 and a socially distanced one at the University of Miami in 2021, Ransom Everglades returned to the upper school for the 119th commencement on May 20, 2022. Members of the Class of 2022 enjoyed one final morning together in the place they had attended weekly assemblies for the previous four years, and crossed the stage at the Lewis Family Auditorium to receive their diplomas. 
 


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The graduates left amid a flurry of balloons released from the building rafters and carrying inspiration and encouragement from commencement speaker Meg Daly ’78. The founder and CEO of The Underline, Daly offered a powerful address, describing herself as an average student in high school who battled an eating disorder and didn’t find her purpose and passion until much later in life.

“Here’s my message to you today. You are not defined by who you are now,” Daly said. “Each of you has your own journey. Take the time to know who you are and what is important to you. And, if you don’t know who you are, or you don’t like yourself like I did, there are people who want to help and can help. Find them. 
 
“If you are lucky, and you have good fortune, pay it forward,” she also said. “… Have a problem? Seek help. You believe in justice? Fight for it. You believe in equity? Live it.”
 
 
Head of School Penny Townsend presented the Founder’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to Daly, who for a decade has been the volunteer leader of The Underline, a collaborative effort to create a 10-mile linear park and trails in the heart of Miami. “She has truly lived out Paul Ransom’s mission of leaving the world better than we find it, as well as the Everglades Creed ‘to achieve recognition – not in loud words but in worthy deeds,’” Townsend said.

Valedictorian Victoria Porto ’22 also spoke, sharing reminiscences and urging her peers “to persevere even if others doubt us.”

“Even when things get tough,” she said, “let’s never allow one opinion to completely crush us or make us give up. Every single one of us sitting here after four years of hard work is capable and talented.”

The commencement awards were presented by Townsend: Lauren Heller ’22 received the Faculty Cup; Alexa Hommen ’22 received the Head of School’s Cup; Sabrina Shipley ’22 and Kerryn Xu ’22 each received the Marie B. Swenson Founder’s Cup; and Andre Joseph ’22 received the Paul C. Ransom Founder’s Cup.

Head of School John A. King recognized the Cum Laude Society (top 20 percent of the class) members, which included those inducted last fall and this spring. (See the full list below.)

The ceremony featured a welcome from board chair Jeff Hicks ’84. It included the presentation of the valedictory and salutatory cups by Head of the Upper School Patricia C.A. Sasser to Porto and Nikhil Kumar ’22, who gave the salutatory address at the Baccalaureate/Senior Send-Off on May 15.

Zoe Holtzman ’22 sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Rise Up For Old RE,” and the benediction, and faculty member Jon Hamm directed the RE Combined Symphony Orchestra.

Hicks and Townsend handed diplomas to the 156 graduates, who are heading to 81 different colleges and universities next year.

“Dream big,” Daly told the graduates. “Be a problem solver, be kind, be comfortable with being uncomfortable and leave the world a better place than when you were here. I believe in you.”

Cum Laude Society
Class of 2022

Fall
Luca Campiani
Amanda Harris
Blythe Heller
Lauren Heller
Nikhil Kumar
Joseph Moskovitz
Victoria Porto
Sol Cuello Robert
Nicole Rodriguez 
Sabrina Shipley
Dylan Stone 
Alba Uriarte Jimenez 
Celeste Viana
Clara Villalba
Kerryn Xu
Lauren Zanarini

Spring
Mather Davidson
Dashiell DeStefano 
Anya Dua
Verena Gonzalez 
Dina Kaplan
Javier Kumar
Gabriel Mora
Julianna Murray
Dhilani Premaratne
Rylan Sadler
Sophia Salgueiro 
Juliana Simoes
Sabrina Soto 
Eva Tariko 
Isabella Virtue
Juliana Williamson
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Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.