Ranney School conducted its 48th Commencement Ceremony at the campus of Monmouth University on Friday, June 15, 2012. Surrounded by proud parents, alumni, teachers and friends, Ranney’s 62 graduating seniors celebrated success at a school that has offered, to some, fond memories, new friends and a well-rounded education for as many as 15 years.
More than 700 invited guests were on hand to help celebrate the academic, athletic and extra-curricular accomplishments of those members from the Class of 2012, who will continue on to some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities this upcoming fall. In keeping with a longstanding tradition at Ranney, the event once again featured 30 girls wearing white gowns and carrying long-stemmed red roses, and 32 boys dressed in formal suits and ties. The beginning of a new tradition, however, this year’s graduation was hosted in Monmouth University’s Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC).
In addition, Ranney’s newly appointed Board of Trustees President James Price also made his first-ever Commencement address, as he told this year’s graduates, “You have carried the torch exceptionally well as seniors and have acted as stellar role models for your fellow Panthers.”
“The Class of 2012 is an ideal blend of character and potential,” added Head of School Lawrence S. Sykoff, Ed.D. in his celebratory address. “Letting go is never easy, but we know you are sufficiently equipped to fly higher and higher.”
According to Dr. Sykoff — regardless of whether each member in this year’s graduating class dedicated his or her time towards acting in school plays, competing in academic and athletic contests, or giving to charity — collectively, the Class of 2012 has excelled in every way. “Ranney School, like no other school, supplies its students with a uniquely supportive and safe environment where they can develop their special talents and explore their dreams,” said Dr. Sykoff. “Your Ranney education has laid the foundation for continued success.”
There to reflect on his 13-year journey as a “Lifer” at Ranney School was this year’s Salutatorian Sanjit Shashi (Old Bridge; University of Chicago). “The sort of impact that Ranney has had on me, and on the rest of the Class of 2012, is especially astounding when one considers how small it is. But, perhaps its size is the reason why the Ranney community is so important to all of us,” said Sanjit, who highlighted several accomplishments and memories attained by the Class of 2012 throughout Upper School.
Such accomplishments included the completion of approximately 18 Capstone projects as well as earning academic and athletic success at the national level. Meanwhile, fond memories ranged from Ranney’s senior retreat in Claryville, New York to spending time in the Senior Lounge. “I am proud to be a part of this class, this community,” concluded Sanjit. “We may be scattering, but we will always be a part of the Ranney Class of 2012.”
Following a musical performance by students Evan Glazman (Holmdel; New York University), Val Kharkover (Englishtown; Fordham University) and Tor Miller (Colts Neck; New York University), the audience then heard from alumnus Nathan Ravitz, who will forever remain a part of the Class of 1995. A former athlete and active writer while attending Ranney, it was Nathan’s continuous pursuit to fulfill his passions long after high school that eventually led to a job as Senior Director of Premium and Fantasy Content for ESPN, as well as Co-host of ESPN’s Fantasy Focus podcasts. “The experiences you’ve had at Ranney have prepared you to be leaders in your own communities, schools, and eventually, in your careers,” said Mr. Ravitz. “You have the skills and experience to be agents of change and to help foster an atmosphere not just of tolerance, but of togetherness,” he added.
In recognition of those students who have demonstrated leadership, perseverance and Panther Pride throughout their Upper School careers, nine graduation rewards were then presented, including:
The Headmaster’s Cup – Maura Guyler (Marlboro; Duke University)The Gershom Tomlinson Humanitarian Award – Eric Chiang (Perrineville; Northeastern University) & Jaya Sondhi (Marlboro; Barnard College)
The Faculty Prize – Lauren Harris (Spring Lake; Dartmouth College) & Christopher Schwake (Middletown; Bucknell University)
The Ann Kappel Citizenship and Service Award – Melissa Cantave (Tinton Falls; Dartmouth College)
The Robert Paulus Leadership and Perseverance Award – Adam Nickel (Avon; Rhode Island School of Design)
The Margaret Mahon Award – Natalie Cantave (Tinton Falls; Dartmouth College)
The Ranney School Leadership Award – Yasmin Meleis (Holmdel; University of Pennsylvania)
Before receiving their diplomas, signifying the next stage in their lives, the Class of 2012 also heard from this year’s Valedictorian Sophia Lee (Tinton Falls; University of Pennsylvania), who noted that achieving one’s future goals may not be easy, or go according to plan, but that in the end success is possible. “Not all of us will achieve our goals exactly as we envision them, this we know, but having these goals and the drive to reach them is enough. We must seek something greater than ourselves — not a prize or a career, but a purpose and passion.”
Sophia concluded by asking that her peers “think of the infinite number of opportunities that we must strive for, and recognize that in our next stage — on a greater stage than this — we are boundless.”
Upon receiving their diplomas from Dr. Sykoff and Mr. Price, Ranney’s 62 seniors proudly processed out of the MAC, where they were then greeted with congratulatory hugs, handshakes, and smiles from their family and friends.