The Spring Academic Awards brings with it an extra air of excitement as we acknowledge the end of a successful year, (the beginning of summer!) and the outstanding achievements of students and faculty. Livelier yet is the concluding Moving Up Ceremony where seniors and post graduates exit the Chapel and rising seniors move into the front rows for the first time. Rising sophomores and juniors then enthusiastically move into their rightful spots, and our newest Student Body Co-Presidents, Stephen Kosco and Carter Fleming, officially address the community for the first time. 

But first, we celebrate the brilliance and hard work students have displayed throughout the school year. The main goal of our Academic Awards Ceremony is to foster a culture of academic excellence, inspire students to strive for greatness and encourage healthy competition within our community. Students have earned the opportunity to showcase their intellectual abilities and  demonstrate their dedication to learning and passion for their chosen fields of study. It is our honor to celebrate them.

Associate Head of School Brenda Petersen welcomed students, friends, families and alumni and thanked the community for gathering. Petersen congratulated each Pioneer and challenged students to a unique shift when approaching final exams. “Competition, at its heart, is about pushing past obstacles, learning who we are and what we can truly achieve,” she said. Instead of threats, Petersen invited students to consider each challenge and opposition as a friend. This includes exams, she teased, to laughter from the crowd.

The variety of awards honor students in all academic areas, excellence in community outreach, leadership, performing arts, intellectual curiosity, public speaking, even the grace with which students balance it all! We were honored to have Marilyn Weaver, mother of Todd C. Weaver ’89, who tragically perished on 9/11, join the celebration today to bestow the Todd C. Weaver ’89 Prefect Prize to two senior prefects who exhibit the same outstanding qualities as her son. Read the award descriptions here and the full list of academic award recipients. We even enjoyed a lovely interlude with great ovation, as Yufei (Alex) Wu ’23 played the trumpet and Mr. Ed Leonard accompanied on the piano.

Head of School Suzanne Walker Buck P '24 then took the stage to initiate the Moving Up Ceremony by reading the poem engraved in copper on the historic sundial that has marked time on our campus for almost a hundred years. “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice. But for those who love, time is eternity.”

Buck recognized PGs and one-year seniors and thanked them for including Reserve in their educational journey. To two-year seniors, who joined Reserve their junior year, Buck expressed “gratitude for [their] fortitude and resilience.” Three-year seniors, who came to Reserve as sophomores “without the benefit of a WRA year under [their] belt, carved new paths.” Buck described four-year seniors as “the bedrock, the foundation of [their] class and of WRA. You are the beacons to which all others look.” The seniors and PGs, joining the impressive ranks of esteemed WRA alumni, were dismissed from the Chapel one last time as current students. 

The Moving Up Ceremony continued as Buck invited rising seniors, juniors and sophomores to take their new seats in the rows of our Chapel, the way countless students have done before. Rich with tradition, this significant milestone marks the transition from one brilliant chapter to the next.

Congratulations to every student in our community. The 2022-2023 school year marks an outstanding year of achievement. As we look to the future with renewed vigor, your accomplishments will continue to resonate, serving as a constant reminder of each Pioneer’s capability and potential for greatness. “Here’s to all that has been accomplished and all that is yet to come,” Buck concluded.