On Saturday, June 14th 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 graduating seniors individually before awarding them with their diplomas. The speeches by the underclassmen demonstrated the important leadership role that seniors play in the SBA community and highlighted aspects of each graduates’ personality and character. Julia Bjorkman, Elise Hardy, Camille Hartley, Hannah Johnson, Erika Klenk, Danielle Nivinski, Bria Riggs, Daisy Schadlich, Marc Talbott, and Pieter Weemaes 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 2014, noting their contributions to the school community. Head Nordic Coach Martin Benes gave the address to the senior class, highlighting the challenges each member of the Class of 2014 pursued and overcame throughout high school. He encouraged them to continue to seek out opportunity, using the lessons learned at Sugar Bowl Academy to set the bar higher and higher for themselves and those around them. “Above all, it is important to continue to seek out opportunity. Don’t settle, and don’t become complacent…Take chances and seek out the opportunities to improve yourself and your world.”
With thoughtful and humorous reflection, valedictorian Marc Talbott highlighted one lesson inherently taught at Sugar Bowl Academy: flexibility. “Sugar Bowl has taught me to be flexible, to go with the flow, to embrace change…There’s something inherent about SBA that really emphasizes flexibility.” The best way to explain how SBA tests students’ flexibility, according to Talbott, was through the Class of 2014’s spring 2012 trip to Mt. Shasta. “We woke up an hour late on the second day and failed to reach the summit because of time constraints and exhaustion…Despite the fact that we failed to accomplish our goal, the trip was anything but a failure due to our ability to stay flexible.”
Although the Class of 2014 was center stage during the event, the ceremony also included the recognition of 8th Grade completion and the presentation of three distinctive awards.
Truckee local Erika Klenk took top honors in the awards ceremony earning the Student-Athlete of the Year Award for all-around excellence. Lauren Dunn of Danville, California earned the Williams College Book Award for her leadership in the classroom and contributions to the extracurricular life of the school. The Harleen Family Citizenship Award went to Gresham, Oregon resident, Luke Winters. This award honors a student who exemplifies positive spirit and who is dedicated to the betterment of the Sugar Bowl Academy community. The award is named after one of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy’s most supportive families.
Addressing the graduating seniors, students, staff, and parents assembled at the ceremony, Head of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy Tracy Keller spoke of Sugar Bowl Academy’s unique experience and compared students’ decisions to forgo a traditional high school to the very same reasons that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs became two of the youngest billionaires in world history. She urged graduating seniors and underclassmen alike “not to forget where you’ve come from – a small school that celebrates the courageous pursuit of goals out of passion rather than what conventional wisdom and popular culture tells you should do…Always swim against the tide, seek out new challenges, and you’ll go on to do things you never thought possible, like you’ve done here.”
All ten members of the Sugar Bowl Academy Class of 2014 will be matriculating to some of the best colleges and universities in the country including Bates College, Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Vermont, Westminster College, and Williams College.