MORRISTOWN, NJ - In their traditional white dresses and navy blazers, The Peck School’s eighth grade Class of 2017 accepted their diplomas with handshakes and congratulations from the Head of School and President of the Board of Trustees. Morristown residents Carolyn Coyne, Evie Mitchell, and Hannah Welsh, along with thirty three of their peers they formally graduated from Morristown’s historic K-8 independent school.

Coyne, Mitchell and Welsh were also honored for academic honors and special awards. 

Coyne was the co-recipient of the Malcolm E. McAlpin Science Award for her high curiosity, scientific reasoning, and commitment to excellence in science.  She also received the Foreign Language Prize in Latin for her effort, interest, enthusiasm, and academic performance in the study of Latin. 

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Mitchell  was the co-recipient of the Norman R. Lemcke Jr. Memorial Drama Award for her talent, commitment, and sense of creativity which have resulted in outstanding accomplishments in the area of dramatic arts.

Welsh  was awarded the The John L. Hopkins Memorial Award for outstanding performance in English composition.  She also received the Eighth Grade Art Prize for her outstanding artistic talent and genuine love of art. Hannah also was awarded the Rudolph H. Deetjen Jr. InDeCoRe Award.  In honor of beloved former Head of School “Rudy” Deetjen, the award is presented to a graduating student selected by his or her peers who best demonstrates consideration of others and the core values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Loyalty, Perseverance, and Empathy in his or her daily life.

Head of School Andrew C. Delinsky addressed the graduates, noting that “Today is about earned recognition and celebration…one of the many things I love about our school is that when we give recognition, [it is] earned and it is deserved. It’s earned through perseverance and grit, through an understanding that there is always room for improvement, and through an unwillingness to settle for anything other than your best. You, the Peck graduating Class of 2017, have earned this recognition.”

Alumna Sarah Moseson of Morristown (Peck ’13, Pingry ‘17) addressed the Class of 2017 as the Commencement Speaker, furthering a longstanding tradition of inviting a Peck alum back to campus to reflect on his or her own journey in secondary school.

Moseson pointed to technological innovators as examples for learning the building blocks of success: work ethic, risk taking, strong role models, and ambition.

“As soon-to-be graduates of Peck, these attributes should all sound familiar,” she said. “They are the foundations of our Peck education. By recognizing and leveraging these as you enter high school, you will be able to maximize your own success in the future.”

Following the student awards and recognitions, the Walker D. Kirby Faculty Award was presented to Mrs. Amy Papandreou, Math Teacher.The award honors a member of the faculty whose dedication to the school, its students, and its mission is an exemplary inspiration to the graduates and to the entire Peck community. Members of the Class of 2017 vote to determine the award winner

“I encourage you all to avoid seeing ‘impossible’ as a barrier or a reason to give up", said Papandreou. "Impossible is just a mindset that impedes our creativity and willingness to try.  In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible... until it’s done.”

“Class of 2017, my other piece of advice to all of you, as you move on to high school, is to seek out and get to know people who are as different from you as possible. Different comes in many shapes and sizes: different interests, different strengths, different racial and ethnic backgrounds, different socio-economic status and different life experiences. To be a successful problem solver, one of the key ingredients is to be able to truly understand the perspective of the other party. President Jimmy Carter once said, ‘Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.’”