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Jul 14, 2015

St. Stephen’s School in Austin Graduates the Class of 2015


On the morning of Saturday, May 23, proud parents and family members, faculty, and special guests gathered at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin to celebrate the school’s 65th Graduation Exercises, honoring the Class of 2015.


2015 Hines Medal recipient Kelly Hoover with the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher

Following opening prayers by the Rev. Todd FitzGerald, Head of School Bob Kirkpatrick began his commencement address with an “exit interview” for the graduates, asking them to consider all that they gained from their time at St. Stephen’s. After noting common qualities of success, such as critical thinking and leadership skills, he asked how well they had internalized the school value of compassion.


“”The practice of compassion demands we dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and treat everybody, without exception, with justice, equity and respect,” he said. “These ideals should sound and feel familiar to all of us here.


“Compassion is the glue that holds us together as a community, not just in hard times but every day, as we try to cultivate supportive relationships … as we attempt to turn community service into a more reflective form of service learning … as we unite behind the all-school themes of peace and respect….


“So seniors, as you leave The Hill in possession of an impressive array of skills and qualities that are sure to serve you well throughout your life, do not forget to cultivate and practice the core principle of compassion as you seek a better world both for yourselves and others,” Kirkpatrick added. “This is our great calling, your highest charge, and one we know you all have the tools to do.”


After congratulating the class, Kirkpatrick turned the podium over to English Instructor Ali Haider, who was selected by seniors to present the faculty address. Following his speech and the presentation of major awards and diplomas, Cord Meyer ’15 gave the senior speech. A longstanding tradition at graduation, the senior speaker is elected by the outgoing class to summarize their collective school experience.


“This class has grown and matured together over the years, but just because we’re moving into a new part of our lives doesn’t mean that we will forget the time spent here,” Meyer said. “The St. Stephen’s experience has had an effect on all of us.


“To an extent, we get to choose what we walk away with — that is the joy of this school,” he continued. “So what remains is what we do with our memories of St. Stephen’s, what we remember as we descend from The Hill into the scary real world.


2015 Brewster Medal recipient Michelle Hull with Head of School Bob Kirkpatrick

“Let’s take the best parts of St. Stephen’s with us,” Meyer told his classmates. “Let’s take the values we learned, the lessons from friends and faculty, and bring them proudly into the next chapter of our lives.”


The 65th Graduation Exercises ended with a recitation of the school prayer and the closing benediction, led by the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher. Congratulations to all our graduates!


Medals and Honors


The Bishop John E. Hines Medal is named after the Rt. Rev. John Hines, founder of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, who was a man of extraordinary vision and bold action. The Hines Medal is awarded to the member of the senior class who maintained the highest academic standing throughout his or her junior and senior years. The 2015 Bishop Medal was presented to Kelly Hoover.


Named for the school’s first headmaster, The William Brewster Medal was established in 1960 by the St. Stephen’s faculty to recognize a member of the senior class who has made the greatest total contribution to the life of the school. The recipient is an engaged and talented student — strong across all disciplines and genuinely interested in “the life of the mind.” Michelle Hull was named the 2015 Brewster Medal recipient.


The Dobbie Leverton Fenton Medal is awarded annually to a member of the senior class who promotes the values of social justice. This year’s Dobbie Leverton Fenton Medal was awarded to Amari Bethel.


The Velberta Asher Towner Award in the Performing Arts is named for “Bert” Towner, a member of the St. Stephen’s faculty from 1958 to1984 and a longtime chair of Fine Arts. This award is presented to a student who has excelled in the performing arts — music, drama and dance. This year’s Towner Award was presented to Carson Rogge and Colin Hancock.


The Rev. Charles Abram and Virginia Sumners Music Award is presented annually to a member of the senior class who has made the greatest overall contribution to music at the school. The 2015 Sumners Award recipient was Julian Johnson.


The Anne Dewey Guerin Award is awarded each year to the member of the senior class who has made the greatest contribution to the theatre program. This year’s Anne Dewey Guerin award was presented to Riley Rudy.


The Catherine Elliott Montgomery Prize is awarded by a committee of teachers to a member of the senior class whose creativity, character and scholarship give promise of a contribution in history or the social sciences. The 2015 Montgomery Prize was awarded to Isaac Feldman.