The sun set over the freshly manicured and painted football field as Ascension Episcopal School graduated the Class of 2023. Home is where the heart is, so what better place to honor our 2023 graduates than on our own campus?
Father Jordan Hylden opened up the ceremony with a prayer and was immediately followed by Class of 2023 Salutatorian Ella Dupuie. She remarks, “This graduation ceremony isn’t the end of the best years of your life—think of it as the beginning of who Ascension has shaped you to be. … Go forward into adulthood, and remember, whether it’s in college or at your first job or ten years down the line, to always remember the most important thing that Ascension taught us—how to be gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave.”
Lead Prefect Madeleine Justus, then read the school prayer and Class of 2023 Scripture Verse, Jeremiah 29:11. Spiritual Life Prefect Thomas Bond followed with the scripture reading Philippians 1:6-11 and welcomed Head of School, Jeff Pinnow. Jeff reminded the class of 2023, “All of your future opportunities flow from this one, and they flow from the investment the people sitting here tonight have made in your life. … As we celebrate you tonight, my one piece of advice is to remember those who sacrificed so much to get you here, be thankful
for their love, and walk boldly into the next stage of your life knowing you are loved and prepared.”
Graduates then delivered “special notes of gratitude to the many people who have supported, encouraged, and loved them along the way.” When they returned to their seats, Julie Bourque, Preschool Director, recognized the 19 students who earned induction into the Alpha-Omega Society. To be a member of the Alpha Omega Society, students must begin their Ascension journey in at least kindergarten and stay through 12th grade.
The ceremony continued with Liz Tremblay announcing the 2023 recipients of the American Legion Awards, Zachary Belle and Kendalyn Morgan. Addie Vidrine, Class of 2019 graduate, announced the recipient of the Bill Vidrine Memorial Scholarship Award to Blake Sylvester. This award is given to a student who embodies what made her father, Bill Vidrine, so special. Donna Hall and Stacey Patin, daughters of beloved Ascension faculty member Ann Chance, awarded E.J. Abshire the Ann Chance Award for Excellence in the Arts for his artistry, unique style, and ability to receive feedback.
Sarah Davenport, Upper School Director, awarded Thomas Bond the Caritas Servant Leadership Award for selfless service. The Ascension faculty selects “a graduate who has demonstrated the giving of his or her’s time, talent, and heart throughout their years at Ascension.” The Reverend Joseph Daly awarded his son, Aiden Daly, the Rector’s Award after the faculty chose Aiden for his kindness, honesty, bravery, inclusiveness, generosity, gentleness, and authenticity. Jeff Pinnow awarded Madeleine Sorrell the Headmaster’s Award. This award is chosen by faculty for “the student who best exemplifies the spirit of Ascension Episcopal School.”
Salutatorian Ella Dupuie and Valedictorian Madeleine Sorrell received medals for their academic achievements from Sarah Davenport, and Madeleine Sorrell addressed her peers and guests for her valedictory address. She said,“[…] We’ll be leaving Ascension, each other, and our parents behind, but we can carry what we’ve learned here with us to our next campus. We can continue on the resiliency that we’ve developed here. We can use the foundation of courage and strength Ascension has built in us to shape the rest of our lives. […] Honor your time here by being gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave; by being a person who never gives up; by being a person who is selfless in their actions. Be the sum total of the love of this community. Be strong and courageous. Be kind and humble. Most of all, be great in everything you do. [… ] Also know that no matter where you go, no matter what mistakes you make, or what challenges you face, Ascension will never leave you. The love of all these people here today will never leave you. God’s love will never leave you.”
As diplomas were presented, faculty members with graduating children came to the stage to issue their children diplomas. It is a treasured tradition and a heartfelt moment for those families. After the presentation of the diplomas, the service was concluded with a presentation of the 2023 graduates, a prayer, and a blessing for graduates.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023, Ascension’s newest Alumni!