Asheville School graduates 55 at 113th commencement

Press release

From Asheville School:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (June 6, 2013) Asheville School’s 55 seniors celebrated Graduation Day on Saturday, May 25 as they received their diplomas on the Boyd Chapel lawn during the school’s 113th commencement.

Head of School Arch Montgomery commented on the maturity of the seniors, and recognized several senior musicians who shared their talents with the community in Graham Theater and Boyd Chapel throughout their final year at Asheville School. He thanked them for their integrity, and noted the traits he recognized in them may be what helped Asheville School to have such a great year.

“They were respectful to one another and to members of this community, and they showed compassion and kindness in their daily interactions,” Montgomery said.

During the salutation, Class President Jonathan George (Lexington, KY) thanked every member of Asheville School’s community for their constant dedication to the students. Other student speakers included Class Poet Avi Goldstein (Asheville, NC), and Class Orator Ian Van Wye (Biltmore Forest, NC), who used his commencement speech to respond to a recent Wall Street Journal article titled, The Diploma’s Vanishing Value.
“While Asheville School regularly demands long essays and oral defenses of its students, most institutions are content to administer tests that value memorization over inspiration,” Van Wye said. “This emphasis on simply knowing things rather than being able to think is a fallacy, because education is not about the concrete. It’s not about earning straight A’s, or winning football games, or getting into college X. It’s about the personal satisfaction you get from a job well done…”

The Class Arbor was handed over by Jack Qualey (Hilton Head Island, SC) and was received by the President of the 2013-2014 Student Council, Jay Lee (Chuncheon, Korea).

As the seniors anxiously awaited their diplomas, Montgomery recognized and honored many of the dedicated and extraordinary students and faculty members.

Kirsten Jung (Seongnam-si, Korea) was named the Ranking Scholar of the senior class and of the school.

Through the generosity of the Harvard and Yale Clubs of Western North Carolina, prizes were presented to two outstanding juniors who displayed excellence in scholarship and high character. The faculty determines the recipients. The Harvard Award was presented to Sonja Erchak ’14 (Asheville, NC) and the Yale Award was given to Jack Gregory ‘14 (Asheville, NC).

The Asheville School Mathematics Prizes are supported by a permanent endowment fund created by the family, classmates, and friends of George S. Stearns, Jr., a member of the Class of 1932 and a Trustee from 1971 to 1976. The Stearns Award for Excellence were given as follows: Melinda Coker (Maggie Valley, NC) in Finite Math/Intro to Statistics, Swit Suriyakarn (Trang, Thailand) in AP Statistics and Linear Algebra, Ian Van Wye in Calculus BC, and Vincent Hickl (Asheville, NC) in Programming.

Jeff Park (Seoul, Korea) received the W. Bryant Wellons III ’90 award because his contributions to the performing arts echo the talent, enthusiasm, and character of William Bryant Wellons III. Taylor Jeffries (Johnson City, TN) received the Michalove Award in Drama for his outstanding theatrical achievements.

The Pen and Plate Club of Asheville recognized Ian Van Wye for achieving the best record in the Humanities during his time at Asheville School.

The M. Livingston “Sly” Lewis Award pays tribute to a man whose 34-year career at the Asheville School as English teacher and Dean of Students epitomizes his own upright character and sense of what is honorable. This year’s recipient was Jonathan George, the student chair of the Honor Council.

The faculty enthusiastically decided to grant special faculty awards to Patricia Muller (Candler, NC), Ian Van Wye, and Matt Evans (Asheville, NC) for their countless contributions to the school.

The A. Chase Ambler, Jr. Award was established in 1991 by the Alumni Council in honor of Chase Ambler, member of the Class of 1950, and long-time faculty member. The Ambler Award was given to Patrick Wood (Salisbury, CT) by vote of the faculty in recognition of his unselfish service to the school community.

The George Jackson Headmasters Prize is in honor of George Jackson, Asheville School’s third headmaster. It is awarded by a vote of the faculty to the outstanding member of the sixth form. Avi Goldstein received this award because he captures the essence of the hopes and dreams that Asheville School has for all of its 275 students.
Awards for Excellence were announced as follows:
American Studies – Literature: Patricia Muller
American Studies – History: John Volquez (Bronx, NY)
Spanish VI – AP Literature: John Volquez
French VI: Ian Van Wye
Chinese IV: Jeff Park
Second Year Biology: Vincent Hickl
Anatomy and Physiology: Ashton Caudle (Hickory, NC)
Second Year Physics: Swit Suriyakarn
AP Environmental Science: Ellie Cohn (Georgetown, SC)
Studio Art III: Mary Brown (Staunton, VA)
AP Music Theory: Kirsten Jung

The following students received high commendation for their senior demonstrations:
Mary Brown, Ashton Caudle, Ellie Cohn, Will Dubose (Columbia, SC), Matt Evans, Jonathan George, Avi Goldstein, Vincent Hickl, Jared Hoffman (Biltmore Forest, NC), Kirsten Jung, James Kaplan (Pickens, SC), Maggie Lindsey (Cedar Bluff, VA), Patricia Muller, Jeff Park, Ian Van Wye, John Volquez, Ting Yi (Shanghai, China).

The Irvin H. Ornduff Master Teaching Prize is presented to a teacher who has been teaching during his or her career for no more than five years and who has displayed excellence in his or her work. This year’s award was given to Spanish teacher Andrew Kegg. Other faculty and staff members recognized include Bruce Hudgins and Van Kussrow, who received the Jack Tyrer award for 25 years of service, and this year’s Blue and White was dedicated to Ed Maggart. Diane Wilson was recognized for her 25 years of service, and Beth Louis received the Brooks Award for her exceptional service and devotion to this institution.

A nationally acclaimed co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school, Asheville School enrolls approximately 275 students from across the country and overseas. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, NC State, University of Virginia, Emory, Duke, and Wake Forest, among others.


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