On a cool morning under overcast skies on June 5, Columbus Academy graduated its Class of 2023 during the school’s 110th Commencement.
Head of School Melissa Soderberg welcomed the audience with a story about a groundbreaking study on what constitutes a “good life.” She shared that in the results, one predictor stood out categorically: that happiness and health are inextricably mixed with good relationships.
“The study shows that close relationships are protective for our bodies as they can actually prevent disease,” Soderberg stated, “but they are also protective of the brain because if you feel you have people in your corner – no matter how hard things get – you are likely to survive through life’s inevitable ups and downs regardless of your earnings, your genes or your sense of achievement.”
“In many ways, you have been raised by this community,” she added later. “Don’t let your sense of ambition cloud how to live the rest of your life in the best ways.”
In her Commencement Address, Sarah Milks Bethel ’98 shared three pieces of advice with her new fellow alumni.
“Regardless of what path you choose, I’m going to implore you to have a sense of humor about yourself, I want you to be fearless about asking for help, and I want you to become great at saying thank you. I believe with this, you can navigate all the speed bumps you’ll have for the rest of your life.”
Just prior to the Commencement Address, Alicia Deng delivered the Valedictory Address as this year’s recipient of the Andrew William Cary Cup.
“Like the teachers that have taught you during your time at Academy, I have full faith that all of us will discover our own passions, successes and joys,” she told our Class of 2023. “Do not wait for happiness, find it. And if you cannot find it, create it.”
In her welcome, senior class president Megan Klingerman remembered a former Academy student who passed away in the summer of 2016.
“Our hearts are also filled with thoughts for beloved classmate Louie Becker, who left us at such a young age. Though his presence is deeply missed, his memory will remind us of the preciousness of life as we walk across the stage today.”
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In late May, year-end awards were distributed at Honors Assembly.
“To the Class of 2023, on behalf of your faculty, coaches and staff throughout your formative years, our devotion to your development as a student and an individual will never end,” said art teacher David Block in his Cum Laude Address at Honors Assembly. “Needless to say, there have been periods of challenging times and stress during your upper school years, but you have answered them with numerous displays of strengths, stamina and successes. You have performed with determination and brilliance.”