The Class of 2018 Commencement Ceremony was held on Saturday, May 26, 2018. There were 238 graduating seniors in the class who have all been accepted into colleges and universities across the country and worldwide.
The Baccalaureate Ceremony featured performances by David Phelps, award-winning and chart-topping singer, who captivated the audience with his performances. Ben Gulley, award-winning operatic tenor and BMI songwriter/recording artist, also delivered heartfelt pieces in a duet with Aubrey Connelly-Candelario, Director of the Music Conservatory, and “Someone Like You,” accompanied by the Montverde Academy Select Choir and Mary Mincy, Music Instructor and Accompanist. The ceremony featured musical selections presented by the Montverde Academy Advanced String Orchestra and the Select Choir. Mr. Philip Prescott delivered the homily, prayer and benediction.
The Class of 2018 Salutatorian, Mayrangela Rodriguez, welcomed the audience and spoke about her 15-year journey as a student at Montverde Academy from Pre-K3 to her senior year, sharing her thoughts about importance of love, faith and health in life. Valedictorian Monica Khadka shared her anecdotes about high school, but wisely noted that, “success in high school does not equate to success in life. . . I learned to never be too busy doing school that you forget to do life.”
The keynote speech delivered by Mpumi Nobiva, international speaker, communication strategist and graduate of the first class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. This was her first commencement keynote and she shared ten things to always remember in life with the audience. The points which resonated most with the audience were the power of your story, the power of diversity that has been taught at MVA, to always do the right thing using the power of excellence, and that karma forgets no address – “what you do in the dark, will always come to the light.” Ms. Nobiva’s speech was poignant and personal.
This was the first class that has five Ancient Guard students who have been at Montverde Academy for 15 years – all the way from Pre-K3 students in 2003 to seniors graduating in 2018. Those five students, Addison Tate Adkins, Natalie Brooke Carter, Katherine Cecelia Ghivizzani, Mayrangela Rodriguez, and Skyler Bryce Rosin, had their parents called to up on stage and presented them with a gift of the book “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. The students and parents had read this book on the first day of preschool in Mrs. Kesserling’s class in 2003, and the students presented their parents with the book they had each personally inscribed to commemorate the milestone.
A number of annual awards were presented to students, which started with Andrew William Nembhard receiving the William J. Simpson Award. Aisha Greene received the H.P. Carpenter Award and Jamie Lynn Paulette Thompson received the Dalton Monroe Award. The Roger R. Ross Headmaster Award was awarded to Katherine Cecelia Ghivizzani. The Trustee's Leadership Award was awarded to Beatriz Machado Leão Madeira Jorge.
David Phelps sang beautiful renditions of “America the Beautiful/God Bless America,” and Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma,” followed by touching performances of “Hallelujah” and “Time to Say Goodbye” by Ben Gulley. The presentation of diplomas to our 238 graduates was followed by the singing of our “Alma Mater,” and the benediction was presented by 35 students in their native languages to close our 2018 Commencement.
Our entire Montverde Academy community proudly congratulates and celebrates our Class of 2018!