Columbus Academy graduated its largest class on June 6 as 112 seniors received their diplomas.

It was a lighthearted morning of hugs and laughs with a short rain delay thrown into the festivities.

“Tim Robbins, Christopher Meloni, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay… ladies and gentlemen, I am one degree away from Kevin Bacon,” joked guest speaker Bob Turton ’01 about his acting career during the Commencement Address. “If someone told me all of this when I was sitting in your shoes right there on graduation day, I think my head would have literally exploded. I actually make a living doing what I love. And all of that started right here.”

While sharing some of the lessons he learned as a student at Columbus Academy, Bob stated: “I had so much fun at this school, and I’m so deeply grateful for every single memory I have, friendships that have lasted my entire life, memories of football games that still feel like they happened yesterday, and incredibly unique teachers that changed my life forever.”

He also praised the new graduates for the stories he has heard about them. “Not only is this the largest and most diverse class in our school’s history, I’ve been told that you might be the most kind, empathetic, creative and intelligent group of students we have ever had.”

In his Valedictory Address, Cary Cup recipient Devan “Davey” Agrawal ’22 shared advice for college that he and his fellow seniors recently received from their kindergarten buddies – both helpful and humorous – such as “Don’t hit people and study hard!” Davey also recounted many of his favorite memories from his 14 years at Academy, pondered the path to happiness and fulfillment, and praised his classmates.

“Each year, I’ve had the privilege of discovering truly just how beautifully unique each and every one of you is,” he told them. “You have shown me what it means to be kind, caring and genuine. And our positive virtues have influenced the other classes, producing a profound effect on the student body. Let us never underestimate our power to set precedent for kindness and compassion because we have. And through this, we will change the world for all the right reasons.”

The ceremony began with faculty and staff followed by the Board of Trustees entering the outdoor quad to the sound of bagpipes. The music then switched to a pomp and circumstance march by our concert band as the Class of 2022 walked down the center aisle.

After everyone was seated, Head of School Melissa Soderberg and senior class president Sidd Amirneni ’22 provided warm welcomes to the crowd of almost 1,000. Halfway through the Valedictory Address, the ceremony was paused to allow the audience to seek cover from a surprise popup shower that last only a few minutes.

After the Commencement Address, each graduate’s name was announced by Head of Upper School Cory Izokaitis so that the new alumni could cross the stage and accept their diplomas.

The school’s Camerata then sang “Go in Peace and Love” and the Columbus Academy Alma Mater before the recessional marking the event’s conclusion.

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