On Saturday, June 15th Sugar Bowl Academy held its graduation ceremony at the Mount Judah Lodge at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. In keeping with Sugar Bowl Academy tradition, underclassmen introduced the graduating senior before awarding them with their diplomas. The speeches by the underclassmen, designed to demonstrate the important leadership role that seniors play in the SBA community, highlighted aspects of each graduates’ personality and character. Jack deRyk, Taylor Elicegui, Conner Evans, Chris Fitzpatrick, Brian Matlock, Isaac Freeland, Drew Hartley, Charlie Klein, Jack Knorpp, Katrin Larusson, Riley Plant, Lizzie Ryan, and Owen Wattenmaker all received diplomas.
Held on the deck of the Judah Lodge overlooking Mt. Disney, the ceremony’s speakers highlighted the achievements of the Class of 2013, noting their longstanding contributions to school community. Sugar Bowl Ski Team Foundation Executive Director, Bill Hudson, gave the address to the senior class, highlighting the courageous decision each one of them made to forgo a traditional high school experience for the idea of Sugar Bowl Academy, and how their experience on Donner Summit would always be with them and take them far in life. After highlighting the grit, grace, and courage the Class of 2013 has exhibited over the past five years, Hudson left them with two pieces of advice, “Make it a ‘Go Do It’ life” and accept both success and failure with grace and humility.
With thoughtful and humorous reflection, valedictorian Chris Fitzpatrick, highlighted the school’s growth over the past five years, referencing the Academy’s new campus construction project. “I feel like after five years, this class and this school have almost grown up together. The Academy has seen all of us in several stages of our development. We’ve also seen the Academy change and grow year by year. Now, we’re leaving and it will be a huge adjustment for all of us. What’s exciting, Class of 2013, is that I can say with confidence that we are finally ready…and so is the school.”
Although the Class of 2013 was center stage during the event, the ceremony also included the recognition of 8th Grade completion and the presentation of three distinctive awards.
Riley Plant of Auburn took top honors in the awards ceremony earning the Student-Athlete of the Year Award for all- around excellence. Marc Talbott of Menlo Park earned the Williams College Book Award for his intellectual leadership in the classroom. The Harleen Family Citizenship Award went to Healdsburg resident, Daisy Schadlich. This award honors a student who exemplifies positive spirit putting the Sugar Bowl Academy community at the forefront of their minds , and is named after one of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team Foundation’s most supportive families.
Addressing the graduating seniors, students, staff, and parents assembled at the ceremony, Head of School Tracy Keller spoke of a risk, failure, reward paradigm and urged graduating seniors and underclassmen alike to, “continue to embrace risk as an opportunity for success rather than avoid it. When the time comes, when the opportunity arises, take the leap, trusting that even if you fail, you’ll know how to respond and how to turn those inevitable failures into successes.”
Members of the Sugar Bowl Academy Class of 2013 will be matriculating to some of the best colleges and universities in the country including American University, Bates College, Colby-Sawyer College, Colorado Mountain College, Dartmouth College, Hamilton College, Hobart College, Middlebury College, Tufts University, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Utah, and the University of Wyoming.