Bishop Seabury Academy graduates told to ‘be both happy and good’ in their lives

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Bishop Seabury Academy graduates and their families and supporters spent a joyful evening Thursday at the school to recognize the Class of 2024 and those who will follow in their footsteps.

The graduation celebrated 27 seniors who will go on to universities as close as KU and as far as Barnard College in New York, New York.

Seabury’s traditional Stepping Up ceremony is not just for seniors, though.

It’s a celebration for the whole school, and each grade stepping up to the next year.

Pancho Metz / Lawrence Times

For instance, Head of School Don Schawang shared that sixth grader Lily Weiss won $5,000 for the school from SunMaid, as well as a year’s supply of raisins; and Alice Pulsinelli and Eni Wintoki last month qualified for the National History Day competition.

Pancho Metz / Lawrence Times Head of School Don Schawang enters the Stepping Up ceremony.

Much of the evening was spent in laughter.

Valedictorian and National Merit Scholar Hayden Slough told his classmates he discovered that he could go on for hours talking about their years at Seabury. Then Schawang reminded him about the fate of a famous Greek philosopher.

“Socrates was very intelligent. But Socrates gave long speeches, and his friends killed him,” he said. “I am no Socrates, nor do I want to end up like Socrates. So I will be brief and to-the-point.”

Pancho Metz / Lawrence Times Hayden Slough

He said Seabury has not been just a building or a school over the past seven years.

“It has been a home for education,” Slough said. “Education is different than schooling or learning. Schooling and learning generate skilled, well-researched people. Education does not generate; education creates. More specifically, it creates well-rounded individuals with the capacity to think.”

Slough — who also won the Wilbur Award, named in honor of longtime teachers Ray and Marian Wilbur — told his classmates they have the ability to bring solutions to environmental concerns, generate cures for debilitating afflictions and bring greater peace to the world.

“If all of us — 27 in number — dedicate ourselves to building on what we have been given and reaching our full potential, the impact on the world will be measurable,” he said.

Campbell Helling and Spencer Timkar won the Gavin Smith Community Service Award.

Pancho Metz / Lawrence Times Matt Patterson, center, presents Campbell Helling and Spencer Timkar with the Gavin Smith Service Award.

Mia Rasmussen received the Scholar Artist Award, and Vivian Hill received the Scholar Athlete Award.

Timkar also received the Faculty Prize as a senior “who has demonstrated noteworthy and outstanding growth academically and personally, and has impressed the faculty with their commitment to learning and excellence,” Margie Lawrence, director of music arts, said in presenting the award.

The Headmaster’s Cup, in a rare split vote, went to two students for “exceptional spirit, ethical orientation, responsibility, compassion, determination and integrity”: Sage McHenry and Helena Gutierrez-Gibbs.

Pancho Metz / Lawrence Times Sage McHenry and Helena Gutierrez-Gibbs

Timkar was selected by his peers to deliver the Student Charge, and math teacher Shane Richmond delivered the Faculty Charge.

In closing, Schawang told students that as they embark on their exciting futures, the school community wishes many things for them.

“But more than anything, we ask that you be both happy and good in your lives,” he said. “Try always to be good, and the happy part will follow. No matter where you go, our hearts will always be with you.”

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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