Handkerchief drops on historic 175th session at 2017 commencement
Mary Virginia Swain '77C

The sounds of Pomp and Circumstance filled the Grove at Saint Mary's School Sunday, May 21, as commencement exercises for the historic 175th session began promptly at 10:30 a.m.

Led through the Grove by the rising senior marshals, 77 Saint Mary's seniors received their high school diplomas from Head of School Monica M. Gillespie, Ph.D.

By all accounts, Saint Mary's commencement embodies personal touches of academic excellence, personal achievement, friendship, tradition, grace and courage that are hallmarks of the Saint Mary's experience.

Student speakers delivered remarks, including the senior commencement speaker Mary Ashburn Mann '17, elected by her classmates, and the valedictorian, Lindsey Schneider '17.

Kristin Cooper, the first lady of North Carolina and mother of Saint Mary's alumna Natalie Cooper '11, delivered an inspiring commencement address. SGA President Jane Brown '17 welcomed and introduced Ms. Cooper.

Special commencement awards were presented, including the Cooper Medal (Emilie Hoke '17), the Niles Medal (Lindsey Schneider '17), the Catherine Ruth Proctor Award (Lillian Brimberry '17), the Georgia Lee Kinsey Award (Lillian Brimberry '17), the King Medal (Julia Bell '17), the Highsmith Medal (Eliza Barsanti '17) and the Marian Drane Graham Award (Lillian Liu '17).

Following remarks by Dr. Gillespie, the ceremony closed with the singing of the School Hymn and the time-honored Saint Mary's tradition of "the dropping of the handkerchief" by Chief Marshal Suiter Ragland '18, which symbolically closed the historic 175th school year.

A baccalaureate service, with Chaplain Ann Bonner-Stewart presiding and speaking, was held in the Chapel at 9:30 a.m. for the graduates and their families. Lunch was served immediately following commencement in the 175th anniversary gala tent in the Hannah Smith '12 Quad for graduates and their guests, as well as the campus community.

Once again, Saint Mary's graduating class boasts 100 percent college acceptance to a broad range of outstanding colleges and universities around the nation and abroad. The graduates leave Saint Mary's School as resilient lifelong learners, well prepared for college and life. Click here for more about the colleges and universities which have offered admission to members of our Class of 2017.

Enjoy this album of commencement photos on shutterfly, where you may order prints.