Congratulations Greenhill Class of 2017!

Greenhill School graduated the Class of 2017 at the 66th Annual Commencement ceremony held at the Meyerson Symphony Center on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 12:00 noon.

Head of School Scott Griggs gave welcoming remarks and Assistant Head of School Tom Perryman '81 gave the Invocation. Arhum Khan gave a senior address about finding balance in the “marathon” of life and being present in the process of what is to come. “What we can do for sure is to do right within ourselves, embracing imperfection and investing in people—feeling worth it and being real, passionate people.” 

Mira Fradkin delivered the second senior address, about the special relationships of the Class of 2017. “Greenhill taught us to think bigger than ourselves, as a part of something more. It will be up to us to use everything we have been taught to make the most of it. We will always be the only-ever Greenhill Class of 2017… We are united by this.”  

Alumni Board President Michael Waldman '98 presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to E. Pierce Marshall Jr. '86: “It is with immense gratitude that we honor the most generous alumnus in Greenhill School history. Starting in 2010, as Campaign Chair of the Building Community Campaign, he steered the campaign from inception to completion, raising an incredible $54.7 million for the School. Paramount to this campaign is the architecturally magnificent Marshall Family Performing Arts Center, which has provided state-of-the-art performance and learning spaces to showcase the myriad talents of the community. Mr. Marshall also guided the renovation of Crossman Hall and the addition of two new athletic fields and additional parking on campus. None of these campus enhancements would have been possible without the generosity and leadership of Pierce Marshall.”

The distribution of diplomas followed and Mr. Griggs concluded the ceremony with his own charge to the Class of 2017, ending with the historic charge from Greenhill’s founder Bernard Fulton: "Stand firm in your own sense of right. It makes no difference how many facts gleaned from books you may forget; your values remain with you always and I trust you to reflect the moral stamina you acquired in your home and school environments. Lead people because you know you are right and your alma mater will reflect your glory. And always remember that one person can make a difference."

CONGRATULATIONS SENIOR AWARD WINNERS

Adam Weider

Valedictorian
“Adam is one of the most intellectual students in recent memory.  He is profoundly and intrinsically motivated to learn and to share knowledge.  He is an academic powerhouse, with nothing wasted in his pursuit of knowledge. His laser-sharp focus and deep joy in wrestling with intellectual and academic questions is remarkable in someone so young.  As his teachers put it, ‘he sees the interconnectedness of previous topics and effortlessly weaves them together with new material.’ He’s intense, efficient, and quick in his thinking.  He can understand concepts with ease and can explain them to his peers.’ It’s perhaps unsurprising that this student has an explanatory science YouTube channel with over two million views.  He’s driven to know and to understand, and also driven to help others around him make sense of our world.”
 
Tanisha Gupta
Salutatorian
“Tanisha has earned accolades from her teachers every trimester that she’s been in high school.  Here are a few examples: ‘her innate capacity to understand the complexities of human nature is impressive, to say the least.’ ‘Her comments always show insight and maturity, and she always takes the time to listen to her peers as well.’ ‘There isn’t much else to say other than that she’s a bona fide super-star.’ This student thrives on intellectual challenge, and has taken one of the most challenging courses of study that we offer at Greenhill. Outside the classroom, she has made deep commitments to our debate program and our orchestra.  Teachers in those areas say that she’s got “perhaps the most raw talent of anyone in the program” and that she “shows extraordinary resilience and tireless effort.” She’s always there to support her friends and the school as a whole through her kindness, warm smile and her eager laugh.”

Josh Rudner
Recipient of the Estelle Dickens Service to Greenhill Award, presented to the senior who has given the most outstanding service contribution to Greenhill School. The award commemorates the over-four decades of service given to Greenhill by beloved teacher and administrator Estelle Dickens. 

“Josh cares. He cares about you. He cares about his ideals.  He believes, very deeply, that fighting for the ideals of an enlightened society is every person’s fight. He is willing to make himself and others uncomfortable in the pursuit of truth. Any time this student comes to speak to me he always takes the time to ask how I am and to truly listen and empathize.  He’s funny, and proud, and loud and kind. He cares when he makes mistakes and he doubles down to engage more fully, more deeply and more empathetically.  As one of his teachers puts it, ‘I applaud, admire and celebrate his deep and genuine kindness and compassion and his wit and positive outlook.  He is well-versed in the pain and anguish of our world, but he is relentless in his optimism.  And that, I marvel at.’  

Isabel Chavez
Recipient of the Kate Cecil Award, given to the senior who renders the most outstanding service to the Dallas community. The award is named in honor of Kate Cecil, a member of the faculty for seventeen years.

“Isabel has accrued 475 hours of community service throughout her years in the Upper School. Of those, 384 have been in the specific area of education within the Dallas Independent School District. She has been extremely involved with tutoring at Gooch Elementary since she was a freshman. One of her nominators said, “she has done yeoman’s work with a local tutoring program, starting first as a tutor and then moving through the ranks to run the Saturday tutoring program and then the summer tutoring/enrichment program. Her service in the Dallas community and to its children is significant.” Another explains, “She doesn't simply show up, she tries to change the world every single week.” 

Walker Tait
One of two recipients of the Phillip G. Foote Award, given to the senior who is considered by the faculty to epitomize the qualities of citizenship in the Greenhill community. These qualities are rooted in the School’s core principles of honor, respect, and compassion. The award is named for Greenhill’s second Headmaster.

“Walker demonstrates daily the most important characteristics we hope to see in a Greenhill  student. He not only epitomizes the qualities of honor, respect, and compassion, but he is also an exceptional student.  He takes extremely challenging classes and performs at the highest level. I can’t think of someone on this campus who doesn’t like and respect this young man – and that admiration comes because he always seems to do the right thing and always treats others with respect and dignity. As one teacher said, “He is by far my top student.  Rarely have I encountered someone with such dedication, a positive attitude, and a true commitment to his education.  I admire him for being resourceful and a problem solver and someone who is always willing to help his peers when they need it. He is indeed the model student Greenhill advocates.”

Konnell Woods
One of two recipients of the Phillip G. Foote Award, given to the senior who is considered by the faculty to epitomize the qualities of citizenship in the Greenhill community. These qualities are rooted in the School’s core principles of honor, respect, and compassion. The award is named for Greenhill’s second Headmaster.

“Our second recipient of this award is someone who understands what it means to have the weight of expectations on your shoulders.  He is an extremely gifted young man both in the classroom and on the athletic fields, and is universally respected for his contributions in both areas.  As one of his teachers put it, “he seems so eager to understand himself and other people deeply, and this attitude makes him such a positive person to be around.” To me, this young man exemplifies what it means to be a leader by example. He is unfailingly kind and respectful to all.  His smile lights up a room, and he bestows it generously on his teachers, his peers, and the numerous small children on this campus who run to him when they see him around.  He understands that talk is nothing without the hard work and dedication to back it up.  He has high goals and aspirations, but he doesn’t let his individual pursuits overshadow his commitment to his school, community or the larger world."

Bryant Caballero
Recipient of the Board of Trustees Award, presented to the senior who has met the challenge of Greenhill with perseverance, courage and humor.

“There are some people we encounter in life who just seem to shine a bit brighter than the rest.  There are some people who always seem to leave others feeling better about themselves and the world around them, even after just a small interaction.  The winner of the Board of Trustees Award this year is one such person.  His presence is magnetic.  His smile is so genuine it feels like it comes from a deep part of his soul. He’s warm and kind and open even when he’s having a hard day.  His love for this community comes out in so many ways every day.  He’s the most sought after Hill Guide we have, and visitors to our campus consistently comment on how interacting with this young man made them want to be a part of this School.  He’s thrown himself into this place in the academics, arts and athletics, and has left an impact on all three areas.”

Zach Rudner
Recipient of the Senior Leadership Award, given to the member of the senior class who best demonstrates the qualities of leadership. The origin of this award was the D. Harold Byrd and Jennie Stuck awards, which honored male and female leadership.

“Over the last four years, Zach has risen to the top as a leader both inside and outside the classroom.  He is noted by his teachers as inquisitive, offering pragmatic, logical perspective in class discussions, and as one whose voice is confident and strong. An effective leader within the classroom, he has gracefully transferred his steady hand, level head, and compassionate nature to his various roles in the leadership of the Upper School. He is one of the students who embodies our School’s mission to the core. His enthusiasm and determination are contagious. He is gracious, humble, and goes the extra five miles beyond what is needed in everything he does. Over the last few years, he has dedicated his time to a wide variety of interests and responsibilities outside of the classroom. Not only does he think of others, but he often puts others before himself. He is an ally to all and often fights for greater inclusion of people of every race, religion, sexual orientation, and nationality beyond the gates of Greenhill as well.”

Ellen Margaret Andrews
Recipient of the Bernard L. Fulton Award is the highest honor given in the Upper School and is presented to the senior who best embodies the mission and ideals of Greenhill School. The award is named for the founder and first headmaster of the School.

“In reflecting on this senior’s many accomplishments, the balance she brings to life inside and outside of the classroom is exemplary. Whether in a classroom, on the court or field, or leading groups on campus, her core principles play out in each and every action. In living our School’s mission to the fullest through her commitment to developing her mind, body, and character, her feats would have heartened Bernard Fulton.  As one of her teachers puts it, “she is always one of the first students to venture into unknown territory – and is rewarded with fantastic insights.  She does this through not only a great work ethic but also a great imagination. She makes our class better.”  Her peers describe her as an old soul, but also as a deeply goofy and fun-loving friend. Another teacher wrote, “Most people have no idea all of the things this student does because she does them with a servant's heart, without the desire for recognition. It's time to recognize her.”

And finally…

The Helen Fulton Award is named in honor of founding faculty member and wife of founder, Bernard Fulton. Helen Fulton was a life-long learner, exemplary citizen, and a well-rounded, balanced individual. Seniors nominate their peers who they believe embody these characteristics and then the finalists are chosen by a faculty vote. Fifteen students were chosen to receive this award:

Madison Cook
Maddie Drossos
Hudson Fernandes
Kelsey Fitzgerald
Cole Forson
Clay Goldberg
Jed Golman
Addie Gomez
Jake Hershman
Geli Kane
Kathy Munoz
Zainab Noshahi
Evan O’Brien
Lauren Stock
Tyra Thompson
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