On Sunday, May 27, the sun shone brightly as 101 students commenced from Western Reserve Academy on the Chapel lawn marking a truly beautiful day.
"WRA's 2018 graduating class includes students with a remarkable variety of passions, talents and backgrounds," said WRA Head of School Christopher D. Burner '80. "The students are headed to the best colleges and universities in the country and around the world, and we are very proud of their pioneering paths."
100 percent of the 101 graduates will matriculate to four-year colleges and universities at exceptional academic institutions such as Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Cambridge, Amherst University, The United States Naval Academy, University of Chicago, New York University, University of Southern California and many more. The Class of 2018 received acceptances at 207 national and international colleges and universities -- 80 percent of graduates were accepted to institutions deemed "Most Selective" or "Highly Selective" by Barron's. Of the 101 graduates, six will attend Ivy League schools and ten will attend international schools. The Class of 2018 received merit scholarship offers in excess of $7.6 million. Learn more about the college destinations and accomplishments of this year's graduates here.
True to the tradition, on the day of Commencement, the Akron and District Pipe Band led the processional with their lively and ceremonial music while rising Seniors Emily Smithberger '19 and Jack Sovich '19 escorted the 2018 graduating class and WRA faculty to the front of the Chapel carrying the WRA flags. Chris Burner welcomed everyone, congratulating the students on their successes, thanking the parents for their commitment and recognizing the team of faculty, family, classmates and friends that supported each student during their time at Reserve.
"As graduates of Western Reserve Academy, you are evolving, but Reserve will always be a part of you," Burner stated. "You have accomplished a great deal here and you have enriched this community. I look forward to learning about your future development and growth in college and beyond."
In a heartwarming address, Student Council Co-President and Class Speaker Francisco Blanco spoke to his peers about achieving good in the pursuit of greatness. Inspired by Bobby Kennedy, he shared, "True greatness can only be achieved with good, with empathy and with love. What is good and what is great can and do coexist." Blanco added, "Because of Reserve, tomorrow we will act with a greater sense of excellence, integrity and compassion. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into the man I wish one day to become."
This year's featured speaker was University of Akron President Matthew J. Wilson. He spoke of the need for adaptability as students envision their futures.
"Don't be inflexible. In life all you need is a compass, a smile and a flexible attitude," Wilson stated. "Follow your dreams with the realization that dreams change and change leads to great things."
Students were then welcomed to the stage by Timothy R. Warner '69 and Andrew R. Midler '79, Board of Trustees Co-Presidents, to receive their diplomas and officially call themselves Reserve alumni. To conclude the ceremony, graduates, faculty and alumni in attendance crossed the lawn's wide sweep to gather around the flagpole and sing the alma mater, Old Reserve.
The Class of 2018 was brimming with several academic, athletic and leadership achievements. View the entire list of award recipients from Commencement and Senior Celebration.
As our graduates begin the next chapter of their lives, we know that Reserve will live on in their hearts and minds. We wish them the very best in all that lies ahead.