School NewsJun 7, 2023
— updated Jun 8, 2023
Celebrating the Class of 2023!
Forty-four bold and creative contributors to the common good graduated on Sunday during the School’s 125th Commencement.
The ceremony took place under a large tent behind the Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Arts Center and was shared worldwide via Zoom and Facebook Live.
Hosted by Head of School Julia Heaton, the ceremony included remarks from Ms. Heaton, Senior Class President Jena Alam ’23, School President Cherish Buxton ’23 and School Vice President Viola Quiles ’23, and MHS Board of Trustees President Nancy Gustafson Ault ’73.
This year’s Commencement Remarks were delivered by Wendy Garcia, Deputy Commissioner, Equity and Inclusion, for the New York Police Department. Wendy was introduced by her niece, Jenelee Saldaña ’23.
Christopher Himes Ph.D., Director of Engineering & Technology Innovation/STEAM Coordinator, was named the Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair.
Bestowed every four years, the Leonhardt Chair recognizes a Miss Hall’s faculty member who possesses the highest personal and professional ethics, who has made a lifelong commitment to young people, whose skillful instruction enlivens the experience of learning, and whose wise counsel and guidance to students extend beyond the classroom. Faculty, staff, and students submit nominations for the honor.
The following awards were bestowed on members of the Class of 2023 during the weekend’s Commencement events:
Joseph F. Buerger Memorial School Spirit Cup: Jenelee Saldaña
Margaret Witherspoon Award: Yiyan Dong
Christine Fuller Holland ’33 Service Prize: Viola Quiles
Faculty Commendation Award: Annais Vallejo
Meus Honor Stat Keys Awarded for MHS Core Competencies:
- Vision: Viviana Lanphear and Fernanda Morais Laroca
- Voice: Peiran Zhang and Cherish Buxton
- Interpersonal Efficacy: Kali Sears and Lucy Garrison
- Gumption: Grey Carmel and Bethania Robertson
Sylvia “Rusty” Shethar Everdell ’38 Prize: Bethania Robertson
Paul C. Cabot, Jr. History Prize: Peiran Zhang
Senior Prize in Engineering and Tech Innovation: Lily Rhoades
Iive Rouse Science Award: Kaiyue Wang and Bethania Robertson
James K. Ervin Mathematics Prize: Fernanda Morais Laroca
Horizons Prize: Malina Jackson
English for Speakers of Other Languages Award: Nguyễn Hoang Thao Vy
Mansfield E. Pickett Latin Prize: Yiyan Dong
Spanish Prize: Xia (Emily) Meng
Monique Jalbert French Prize: Ollie Walter
Virginia Breene Wickwire ’67 Reading Prize: Lucy Garrison and Bianca Kerr
Doris E. Pitman English Prize: Lucy Garrison
Photography Award: Ollie Walter
Susanna McCreath Music Prize: Peiran Zhang
Angela Kalischer Theater Prize - Performance: Yiyan Dong
Angela Kalischer Theater Prize - Technical: Grey Carmel
Ceramics Award: April Harwood
Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Studio Art Prize: Viviana Lanphear
About our speaker
Wendy Garcia is the Deputy Commissioner, Equity and Inclusion for the New York City Police Department and an executive-level diversity and inclusion strategist with over 15 years of experience in government.
As the Deputy Commissioner, Wendy is responsible for creating, implementing, and evaluating strategies throughout the New York City Police Department to ensure processes and procedures are inclusive, transparent, impartial, free of discrimination and harassment, and equitable for all members of the NYPD. The Office of Equity and Inclusion promotes awareness, education, and outreach efforts to improve the quality of life in the workplace and beyond by fostering cultural understanding of employees and the community.
In 2014, Wendy was appointed Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of the NYC Comptroller, as an oversight and compliance agent for the inclusion of women and people of color; the Comptroller’s Office manages over 260 billion dollars in Pension Funds. Wendy worked cross-functionally with 16 different departments ensuring the inclusion of minorities and women within New York City.
Wendy earned a Master’s degree in Urban Policy and Management from New School University, with a concentration in Economic Development, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations at the University of Delaware.