Wye River Upper School graduates 12 seniors
CENTREVILLE — “Embrace discomfort. When I find myself in a challenging situation I often remind myself that nothing ever gets accomplished when I am comfortable with where I am. If you want to succeed at something you must be willing to fail at it too.” Nevin Hamami, WRUS Class of 2018
This was the advice that Wye River Upper School senior Nevin Hamami shared with his 11 classmates, family and friends during an evening Commencement on May 22, 2018. Hamami and two classmates, Olivia Bailey of Dorchester County and Alex Kliever of Kent County, chose to speak during the Commencement, a tradition begun by the school in 2004.
Another tradition of the school is for graduates to leave their seats and move into the audience to present individual white roses to their immediate family, as a gesture of appreciation for their years of support. It is an exchange marked by hugs and tears of joy.
But this year, it was the senior speakers who stole the show. Boxes of tissue were being passed around and each of the three received a standing ovation.
Hamami resides in Arnold. He plans to return to the Eastern Shore in the fall to attend Chesapeake College. An accomplished soccer athlete, Hamami will join his good friend and WRUS Alumnus Matt Donohue (Class of 2017) to play for the Chesapeake soccer team.
Olivia Bailey moved her audience to tears with a heartfelt look back as a WRUS student. Bailey pointed to her opportunity to be cast in several theater productions and learn to play the violin.
“Wye River gave me a place where I could be myself. This school helped me find who I am, and gave me hope for my future,” she said.
Bailey will attend St. Mary’s College in the fall, where she will pursue her love of theater.
Alex Kliever reflected upon his experience earning his Eagle Scout status with the Boy Scouts of America and advised his classmates “... not to give up and to see your commitments through to the very end. I understand now that it takes integrity … to follow through on what you set out to accomplish.” Kliever has a detailed plan to attend Chesapeake College for two years and transfer to a fouryear degree program in pursuit of engineering coursework.
WRUS Board Chairman Alexa Seip joined the 12 graduates, Head of School Chrissy Aull and Commencement speaker Parker Seip on the school’s small stage. “I speak for the Board of Trustees that to hear heartfelt speeches such as I heard this evening captures the reason why we as volunteers work diligently to make WRUS an option for the community. All kids should learn and grow the way these 12 have,” Alexa Seip said.
Parker Seip of Charlotte, NC, addressed the Class of 2018 with an emphasis that their Commencement marked the beginning of their adult lives as “smart people in pursuit of their passions.” His advice to follow their passion was highlighted through his own experience as a learning-differenced high school student at the Winston School in California, where he successfully combined academics with his love of aviation. As a teenager, Seip earned a pilot’s license and was soon instructing others to fly. Seip is employed as a first officer on a commercial AirBus with a major airline.
Seniors earned most of the school’s major awards, all of which are presented at Commencement. The Thomas West Digital Arts and Technology Award, named after Centreville native and author Thomas West, was presented by West to senior Will Hazzard. Hazzard will attend Salisbury University in the spring of 2019. The Stuart M. Bounds Dual Enrollment Award recipient is Grasonville resident Sarah Franklin, who will attend Chesapeake College in the fall. The WRUS Portfolio Award was presented to Hamami for his outstanding work in digitally capturing his best academic work through four years and presenting same. Bailey and Franklin shared the Conner E. Bell Perseverance Award. Named after WRUS Alumni Conner Bell, this award is a college scholarship, funded by his family, to recognize Conner’s perseverance and success despite diagnosed neurological conditions.
The 2018 graduates will pursue a wide range of interests and studies following high school. One hundred percent of the class was accepted to college; 10 will attend; one has begun a small business; another is arranging an internship and course of study in equine science and care.
“This class exemplifies the mission and philosophy of Wye River Upper School,” said Aull. “We work to ready each student for college and career, give them guidance and support in their post high school choices and are proud of each graduate as they follow their interests and passions.”
Head of School Chrissy Aull addresses the Wye River Upper School Class of 2018, their families and friends during commencement exercises at the school in Centreville.
Wye River Upper School graduates present white roses and their thanks to their families and friends for their love and support.
Commencement speaker Parker Seip and Wye River Upper School Chairman of the Board Alexa Seip make their way to the stage.
Olivia Bailey receives the Conner E. Bell Perseverance Award.