To begin the program, Senior Class Officers Xavier Hayden and Camille Willinger addressed their families, teachers, and fellow classmates with a thoughtful reflection on their years at KCD and the productive citizens, determined scholars, and responsible stewards they have become.
Valedictorian, Daniel Bronfman, followed with a memorable speech reflecting on how beautiful and unbelievable it is that this unique class of students at KCD came to be through his “theoretical alphabet soup experiment” metaphor.
Daniel stated, “As we stand here today, let us embrace the boundless potential of our existence. Let us go forth with the determination to make a mark on this universe, leaving a legacy that will forever inspire future generations. May we forever revel in the wonder of our existence and the limitless possibilities which have yet to occur.”
Additional class awards were then presented to seniors. Mr. Hank Alford presented the Chair’s Award—an award that is given to the seniors who have shown a marked development of academic interest, concern for the school, and moral leadership. This year’s recipients were Lanaisha Ager, Drew Collis, Lyba Masroor, and Nadia Nasir.
Head of School, Peter Huestis then presented the Headmaster’s Award—an award that is given to the seniors who best exemplify the standards, attitude, and scholarship of Kentucky Country Day School. This year’s recipients were Megan Delande and Hugh Kuffner.
The Class of 2023 voted for a faculty member to speak at Commencement and this year’s chosen speaker was Dr. Danielle Picken. Dr. Picken joined KCD in 2016 as a member of the Development Office. In the fall of 2021, Dr. Picken joined the Upper School faculty as a full-time history teacher. An enthusiastic learner, generous colleague, and passionate teacher, Dr. Picken is known for her sense of humor and fairness.
In her speech, Dr. Picken shared three lessons she felt would be useful for our graduates as they continue their journeys beyond KCD: Lean into discomfort and self doubt when you’re faced with something new; Chasing success for the sake of being successful does not guarantee happiness, and sometimes the journey to happiness takes you to unexpected places; Community is everything.
Dr. Picken stated, “Thanks to the community in this room, and to your hard work and sacrifice, you guys are all set to succeed after you leave this place. Stay connected to the people who got you here … Don’t forget as you’re chasing your dreams that you get to decide what success looks like for you. Push through feelings of imposter syndrome, because you are worthy of every opportunity that comes your way. But, success with no one to share it with isn't really worth that much, so remember to live in the world, don't just study it.”
Thank you to all our graduation speakers and organizers for making this such a special day for the Class of 2023 and the greater KCD community. Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat!