News & Calendar
Holderness News

2019 Prize Day Award Winners

The day before commencement, the student body gathered one final time for the presentation of awards known as "Prize Day". During the ceremony, awards were given to select members of the student body who have performed in exemplary fashion in the classroom and in the community. Read below for the list of this year's winners.

Book Awards

The Elementary Math Prize: Matt Pollini & Leon Thiel
Presented by Pam Mulcahy & Duane Ford

The Elementary Math Prize is awarded to an underclass student who shows great potential for future accomplishment in Mathematics. This year, the award goes to a student who has demonstrated a deep interest in investigating and understanding the principles, applications and connections among the ideas we studied in Geometry and who also advanced the knowledge and understanding of other students in the class. In a talented class of students, his questions about the nuances of trigonometry, his attendance at extra help sessions to improve his proof writing, his willingness to offer ideas and solutions to problems we worked on together in class, and his ability to share his understanding with classmates stood out - as did his near perfect grade. On behalf of the Mathematics Department, I am pleased to present this award to Matt Pollini.

This first-year student is outstanding at all aspects of his math performance. He loves math and he is completely thorough with his process and procedure to get to the correct answer. His Geometry teacher this year never had to make an answer key because it was produced by this student. He was our class leader and he perfected the art of proper guidance of the class and his teacher. The math future is very bright and we wish him success in his new adventure. This year’s Elementary Math prize goes to Leon Thiel.

The Advanced Math Prize: Claudia Cantin
Presented by Elizabeth Wolf

I am thrilled to award this year’s Advanced Math award to a student whom I have had the opportunity to work with and watch grow for two years. Claudia Cantin has excelled in challenging math courses with me, and she has done so with constant positivity and a great attitude. Claudia is the student you want in your classroom. Arriving each day with a smile, she sits down and gets right down to business. When a task is assigned, Claudia never complains and tackles even the most difficult problems head on. She sets a phenomenal example for her peers with her work ethic. Additionally, Claudia asks excellent clarifying questions when she is confused, offers her thoughts and ideas to a group discussion, and listens and critiques her peers’ ideas in a respectful and helpful manner. My classroom is lacking when she is absent, and it is a better place in her presence. On behalf of the Math Department, I am pleased to award this year’s Advanced Math award to Claudia Cantin.

The Anderson Scholarship: Eli Kooistra
Presented by Elizabeth Wolf

While often quiet and in the back corner of the classroom, this student has had an undeniable impact on his calculus and physics classes in one short year here. Eli Kooistra has demonstrated curiosity, engagement, and a mastery of the material covered. His work shows a clear understanding of difficult concepts and his questions and comments demonstrate a subtle understanding of how different ideas fit together and relate to each other. More importantly in my mind, however, is how Eli interacts with his peers. He listens to their ideas, respectfully critiques their methods, and offers suggestions in a way that is humble and kind. He looks for ways to build his peers up and explain his ideas to them in order to make both his and their understanding more sound. Both my classroom and his physics classrooms have benefited from his presence this year, and for that we are grateful. On behalf of the math and science departments, I am pleased to offer this year’s Harry G. Anderson, Jr. Memorial Scholarship to Eli Kooistra.

The David Lockwood Music Award: Emilija Jakumaite
Presented by Alec Sisco

This year’s David Lockwood Music Award is presented to a student who has a burning passion to learn the in’s and outs of music any way possible. The level of determination in this student’s work in music is one of the most impressive displays I’ve ever seen. Not only does this musician show up to every rehearsal with a “can-do” attitude, but this person also always finds time before, after, and outside of class time to perfect certain skills. It has been an absolute honor jamming with this evolving musician, and I look forward to continuing that work next year. It is my pleasure to congratulate Ms. Emilija Jakumaite for receiving this well-deserved award!

The William Bradford Whiting Prize For Art: Vivienne Guo
Presented by Alli Plourde

The Whiting Prize for excellence in the Fine Arts goes to a young artist who is an inspiration to many, especially to those who take the time to get to know her. This is an artist who walks into the art room singing songs and immediately invests herself into the making process to the point where she is lost in her own creative world. Her attention to detail and precise thought in her design and production is incredible. She has many talents as a young intellectual woman, but I hope in her future career plans she considers art and design because some of the work she has produced this year already looks professional. Congratulations Vivienne Guo, Carpenter will miss you next year when you’re abroad in France!

The Ceramics Prize: Bryn Donovan
Presented by Alli Plourde

The prize for excellence in ceramics goes to a young artist who excels in many aspects of her life. This is a young woman who is a valued member of the community, who shows caring and compassion each and every day. She always has a smile on her face and is willing to lend a hand, but as we all know, real hero’s need a break sometimes. This hero finds art and craft as a way to balancing her soul and recovering from the stress of a long day. This hero enjoys the quiet head space and time granted in the creative process of crafting clay. Her skill has grown immensely and her perseverance as well, with a few losses in the kiln. Oops. This hero has inspired her peers and me with her investment in the ceramic arts, and we have all benefited from the extraordinary work she has done this year. Thank you, Bryn Donovan, for your love of the healing power of clay.

The Photography Prize: Lily Lin
Presented by Franz Nicolay

Photography contains the dual roles of record keeper and as a portal for exploration. Both lead to opportunities for increased awareness, reflection, expression, and understanding. Photography has become fundamental to our twenty-first century experience of language and communication. This year’s Photography Prize is awarded to a devoted image maker, Lily Lin. Lily brings to her creative work, a heightened and seasoned sensitivity — matching her conceptual intention with thoughtful processing and a clear compositional eye. Lily is a young artist for whom photography has become a pathway for exploring the world around her and for understanding her interaction with it. Lily’s photographs embody intelligence and heart at their core, combined with perseverance and a strong work ethic to breathe them into existence. Congratulations, Lily.

The Fiore Cup For Theatre: Izak Furey & Cate Pollini
Presented by Monique Devine-Robichaud

Theatre is a collaborative process, and in that spirit, this student has worked on every theater production since his ninth-grade year in a variety of capacities -- stage crew, lighting, sound, set design, set construction, master carpenter, stage manager. What is also noteworthy are the leadership roles he has not only filled in the program, but also more importantly, he has cultivated and created for himself and others. While this award honors the work behind the scenes, it also recognizes his onstage work. On the stage, he is a solid actor, anchoring the cast as a lead in two fall productions as well as a very willing ensemble member for whatever I asked whether it was donning flippers or partner dancing! Izak Furey’s impressive knowledge of stagecraft in front of and behind the curtain helped set the Holderness stage for four years and earned him the Fiore Award!

As the story goes, while on his deathbed, an actor was asked how difficult it was to face death? He responded, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.” This recipient of the Fiore Award was not afraid to work hard to make us laugh. Her use of physical comedy, as well as her flair for creating outrageous characters with exaggerated emotions and layered personality traits are what made her performances stand out. She threw herself into every role with fearless abandon, transforming herself and playing to her audience. She has excellent timing with delivering lines or turning a phrase while using her voice as a creative instrument. She is mastering the physical elements of comedy and learning how and when to turn up the dial on all of it. With this award bestowed upon you, Cate Pollini, I challenge you to believe in the comedic skills you possess and continue to fearlessly play every role with the same gusto!

The Elementary French Prize: Annika Howard
Presented by Michelle Taffe

This year's Elementary French Prize goes to a student in the French 2 class. This course aims to develop an understanding of all aspects of language acquisition, including speaking, listening, reading and grammar. This year's winner excelled in all of these areas. She came to Holderness with a strong previous exposure to the French language, thanks to her family's time spent in Europe. However, it was her own blend of diligence, curiosity, and never-ending good cheer that helped her earn this year's award. She was quick to offer an idea or answer but was never discouraged if her answer missed the mark; she simply, happily, tried again. Always a great team player, she was willing to help work with classmates whenever someone needed a hand. Through this generosity of spirit, she helped to build a positive learning environment for everyone in the class. I am pleased to announce that this year's Elementary French Prize goes to Annika Howard.

The Advanced French Prize: Claudia Cantin
Presented by Janice Pedrin-Nielson

This year’s Advanced French Prize recipient is truly deserving of this award. Her work is always thoroughly executed, and she is always able to elevate the class discussions with her insights and her questions. This year, in addition to her wonderful preparation for class every single day, she has made it a personal challenge to perfect her language skills through developing more advanced grammar skills and learning more nuanced vocabulary. This effort has had strong results in both her speaking and writing, so that now she may consider herself truly fluent. It is a pleasure to offer this year’s Advanced French Prize to Claudia Cantin.

The Elementary Spanish Prize: Nick Spanos
Presented by Jean Henchey

This well-respected student is a role model to his peers in the classroom. He is a leader in class discussions, has amazing recall of vocabulary, courageously applies new grammar into his speech, and is mindful of lexical details in his written work. With his positive energy and quick grasp of new concepts, this student is the one that everyone wants on their team during review games. I am pleased to award the Elementary Spanish Prize to Nick Spanos.

The Advanced Spanish Prize: Bridgit Potter
Presented by Kelly Casey

This Advanced Spanish Prize winner has shown immense growth throughout her years pursuing a mastery of the Spanish language. It is rare that a student begins as a first year in level two and covers five levels in four years, ending with an advanced study of Spanish literature. She did not float through with ease, but rather was motivated by passion and enthusiasm for the richness of language, literature, and culture. She spent her sophomore summer studying in Spain, and she plans to start her college career with another semester in Spain. She simply can’t get enough. It was this joyful zest that made the classroom a wonderful place to teach and learn despite the daunting density of medieval Spanish texts. It is my great pleasure to award the Advanced Spanish Prize to Bridgit Potter.

The Elementary Chinese Prize: Eleni Spiliotes
Presented by Yang Song

This year’s Elementary Chinese Prize goes to a student who has been learning Chinese for 2 years. This language learner is a motivated, precise, and enthusiastic student of Mandarin. She loves to connect learning the language with her own life and asks perceptive questions. I am consistently impressed with how hard-working she is, from small everyday assignments to major presentations and projects. Her presence in class is as pleasant as her Chinese name – a graceful rose in the warm sunshine. This year’s elementary Chinese award goes to 来自康科德的阳雅玫, Eleni Spiliotes.

The Advanced Chinese Prize: Viivi Hamalainen
Presented by Yang Song

This year’s Advanced Chinese Prize goes to a student in Mandarin 4 class. This language learner has been such a pleasure to teach and to learn from. Despite being far from home, learning a very challenging third language in her second language, this student has always been shining not only in this class but also in the whole Chinese program. This student works extremely hard, asks great questions, and is linguistically and culturally competent. Her Chinese name asks the following question, “how to become a pleasant guest wherever you go?” I believe her work ethic, her “can do” attitude and all the effort she has put into learning the language would help answer that question. This year’s Advanced Chinese Prize goes to 何嘉欣, Viivi Hamalainen.

The Connor History Medal: Linh Nguyen-Hoang
Presented by Kelsey Berry

With a wry smile, this year’s recipient of the Connor Medal embraced several offerings in the history department this year. Always prepared and eager to learn from and with her classmates, Linh relished the complexity of comparative government topics and post-war intellectual history. Whether debating the regime classification of China or delving into Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism, what set her apart was a genuine focus in considering each source, document, or idea critically--aware of her own lenses. Linh is open to new ways of thinking but also willing to take intellectual risks. She isn’t afraid to ask big questions, and one day, we expect she will answer some of them (in the book we know she will write). It is with great pleasure that the History Department gives this year’s Connor Medal to Linh Nguyen-Hoang.

The Ashworth Award For Excellence In European History: Griffin O'Neil
Presented by Andrew Sheppe

This year we have chosen to give the European History award to a student who appreciates the long view of social and political development. It is one thing to recognize the foundations of modern society in the mid-twentieth century, quite another to probe the 1400s and 1500s for the ideas that become modernity. Griffin O'Neil has not yet met a time or place that he did not want to study, master, and then use to explain the world he inhabits, and we are pleased to recognize his passion and his diligence with this year's Ashworth Award for Excellence in European History.

The Ashworth Award For Excellence In US History: Isabel Thompson
Presented by Andrew Sheppe

This year's Ashworth Award for Excellence in United States History goes to a student who appreciates the importance of inquiry. She stimulates our discussions with her curiosity, and when she encounters a new fact in a reading or a lecture, she treats it as the beginning of a search, not the end. For her dedication to learning, and her insistence that no question is really ever answered, we are proud to award this prize to Isabel Thompson.

The Sean Glew History Prize: Aly Fuster
Presented by Pat Livingstone

Aly Fuster is deserving of this year's Sean Glew History Prize for the exemplary contributions and achievements she has made as a student in the Foundations of the Modern World course. Ever prepared, engaged, and attentive, Aly has distinguished herself as someone who can look at historical events and figures on their own terms, rather than through the distorted lens of only a contemporary sensibility. Her analysis is thoughtful and logical, her written work is clear and erudite, and her understanding plumbs the depths and resounds with originality, synthesis, and meaning. For all of her effort and accomplishments, I am proud to award this year's Sean Glew History Prize to Aly Fuster.

The Theology & Religious Studies Prize: Bryn Donovan
Presented by Rich Weymouth

Ethics, though often straightforward enough to understand, are nonetheless difficult, on a steady basis, to fulfill. Well reasoned thinking, honest and compassionate speech, thoughtful and discerning expression of differences, right action, and positive effects are all part of this discipline. Bryn Donovan is the winner of this year's Theology Prize not solely for her excellent work in class discussion, written reflection, and skillful debate, but for her overall intentions, reflections, actions and effects which she has brought, on a consistent basis to Holderness School. Your classroom work has spilled over with regard to your dedication to family, your work with children, your active leadership in the Alliance, your critical reflections in The Picador, and the steady bearing with which you have graced us. Congratulations, Bryn!

The Science Prize: Palm Nakprasert
Presented by Mike Carrigan

The Science Prize is awarded to the student who best exemplifies a creative and probing mind in the pursuit of scientific understanding. This year’s recipient has a long history of excelling in the physical sciences, earning a scholarship to study in the United States by proving his mettle at the physics Olympiad in his native Thailand. This year at Holderness, he breezed through our toughest courses and applied his considerable talents to a Senior Thesis investigation of wireless lighting. This project required advanced computer programming skills and a technical understanding of Light Emitting Diodes, knowledge that he will put to good use studying physics in college and graduate school. It is with great pleasure that we award to Science Prize to Palm Nakprasert.

The Rensselaer Medal: Rodolfo Beer
Presented by Mike Carrigan

The Science and Math Departments award the Rensselaer Medal to the junior who has reached the highest level of achievement in these two areas. This year, the award goes to a student who has consistently excelled in some of the toughest math and science courses we offer. He’s not always the most organized student or the most methodical problem-solver, but his deep conceptual understanding and nimble mind allow him to perform at a high level nevertheless. In class, he asks probing questions that push the class forward, or sometimes, on profitable tangents. On behalf of the Science and Math Departments, I’m delighted to award the Rensselaer Medal to Rodolfo Beer.

The Spargo Award For Science: Andrey Yao
Presented by Dr. Maggie Mumford

The Spargo Award goes to the senior who has demonstrated all-around excellence in academic achievement in the pursuit of a rigorous science education. This year's winner is a unique individual who ponders while us mortals think, who achieves mastery while we try hard, and who contemplates meaning while we all move on to the next task. Andrey Yao models exemplary performance, superb effort, and true humility. He is equally adept in the life and physical sciences, and his versatility extends to every other course offering at Holderness. We agree that he has infinite future possibilities, and we, as a Science Department, hope to see him make big waves in the scientific world.

The English Prize: Claudia Cantin
Presented by John Lin

If you looked at the record for this student over the past four years, you will find no grade lower than a straight A in English. In fact, there are no grades lower than an A of some sort on the whole of her transcript, but that’s another story. By now, those among you guessing who will win this prize will probably have concluded that this year’s English Prize, awarded to the most consistently high-achieving, the most exemplary, the most successful, the most bestest of all students of English in the school over the past four years goes to none other than Claudia Cantin. I can’t imagine this student ever being unprepared, I have never known her to produce any work that was not her best, I have not known her to approach an intellectual challenge with anything but a smile on her face. Sadly, like many English Prize winners before her, I think that she will not pursue English as a course of study in college, but I urge her to keep reading and to find in the imagined worlds of literature, both instruction and consolation for the life she will lead and the world she will inhabit. Claudia Cantin, on behalf of the department, I invite you to come get your well-deserved English Prize.

The Writing Prize: Kitt Urdang
Presented by John Lin

This year’s Writing Prize winner reads and writes with a passion and insight born out of deep personal convictions and knowledge of the many issues in this world beyond the Holderness bubble. Her innate curiosity is what motivates her rigorous approach to reading and writing and not the letter grade or the approval of her teachers and peers. Her analytical essays are filled with fluent and sophisticated expressions of her deep insights into the heart of literary matters, and her musings are reflected in the scratching out, the rephrasing, and the reordering of her ideas as they pour out of her. In the most recent issue of the school newspaper, she wrote two articles, but the one on “Embracing What Lights Your Fire” speaks to what -- at her core -- drives this unapologetically curious, stubborn, and committed young activist: the belief that to write what you care about is a matter of civic engagement and responsibility. Her editorial writing is to the point, it’s consequential, often confrontational, but most importantly, it’s a call to action. The fact that she writes so well and sees writing as a kind of superpower to create connection and change is what makes her so deserving of this award. I am pleased to award this year’s Writing Prize on behalf of the English department to Kitt Urdang.

The Robert Creeley Poetry Prize: Lexie Von der Luft
Presented by Marilee Lin

It will come as no big surprise that this year’s Poetry Prize winner is a writer and a reciter of poetry par excellence. She emerged the winner of the POL competition here, took the regionals, and then was robbed of the state title when, according to the unbiased members of this English department and her parents, she won the thing hands down, maybe because she listed herself as being a resident of Massachusetts. But Lexie is more than the sum of the words she so eloquently and convincingly speaks, more than the cogent analysis she writes in her impeccable hand, more than the friendly and inquisitive student ready with a smile. She is a young writer with a poetic sensibility, which is to say that she tunes her heart, ear, and intellect to the sound and sense of a line, approaching a poem, whether her own or someone else’s, with rigor and restraint, as well as depth of feeling. I’m pleased to present this award to her for the second year in a row. Congratulations, Lexie.

The Kenyon College Presidential Book Award: Macy Arsenault
Presented by Dr. John Donovan

This year’s Kenyon Award winner is tenacious. She pursues all aspects of her life with energy and determination. In the classroom she is focused, prepared, and eager to learn. She holds herself to a very high standard and does not accept not understanding. You can see her around campus enthusiastically playing with faculty children in kiddie crew and on the basketball court leading her team to NEPSAC championships. She is a thoughtful, compassionate, humble, and positive leader who works hard to make herself and Holderness the best they can be. It is my honor to present this year’s Kenyon College Presidential Book Award to Macy Arsenault.

The Harvard Book Prize: Rodolfo Beer Beer
Presented by Jini Sparkman

The only rules for engagement in a classroom with the recipient of the Harvard Book Prize are to come prepared. Because Rudy Beer will, without question, be ready to engage. This erudite young scholar has defined excellence in scholarship as an act of inquisitiveness that requires that all parties employ their whole intellect and best selves. And that they do so with humor and joy. His character beckons his peers and teachers to join him on a journey of inquiry that often involves any number of detours. Detours that are a direct result of his insatiable desire to question, challenge, and explore all possible modes, models, methods. He utilizes his creativity in pursuit of intellectual discovery and reminds us of the importance of play and wonder in a world that too often wishes us to be concrete and exacting. May we all continue to learn from this exemplar. Congratulations, Rudy!

The Academic Award: Claudia Cantin
Presented by Peter Durnan

It is our tradition to offer a special prize to the senior with the highest GPA during their senior year. This year is is my pleasure to invite back to the limelight senior Claudia Cantin.

Community Awards

The M.J. LaFoley Award: William Clouse
Presented by Tyler Cabot

The M.J. LaFoley Award is given in memory of Martin John LaFoley, a former student, to a student in the third or fourth form who, in the opinion of the Head of School and faculty, exemplifies outstanding character and integrity, and who puts forth exceptional effort and spirit in all aspects of Holderness life.

This year’s award winner has earned the respect and admiration of his peers because he is not only an exemplar for outstanding character, integrity, and spirit; but he also cares deeply about everyone on this campus. It does not matter who you are, you will be treated equally, and this student will go out of his way to make sure everyone is having a good day, is supported, and is heard. Whether it is bringing the dorm together around food or a board game, showing you a far distant planet through his telescope, or engaging your curiosity with the most out of this world questions, his spirit and love of life is infectious. The energy level and positivity of the room always goes up whenever he enters, no matter what is going on. He is a young man who strives to always do the right thing. It is my pleasure to present this year’s MJ LaFoley Award to William Clouse.

Bob Brooks Award: Izak Furey
Presented by Monique Devine-Robichaud

The Bob Brooks Award is named for Bob Brooks, a.k.a. "Brooksie," who worked at Holderness School from 1980 – 1997, and served as equipment manager from 1985 – 1997. This award is chosen by the ninth grade class for the senior who played the biggest role in making Holderness School a home.

Everyone understands what it is like to be a new student, but not everyone can turn that into empathy and a desire to strive to make new students feel welcome. Perhaps the recipient’s own ninth-grade experiences led him to have a higher capacity of understanding of the importance of making a difference for many of our new and old students. Along with this, his kind soul provided safe harbors for students as well as ears to listen, arms to hug, and a voice to those who are voiceless. He is generous with his time and also with his concern for their well-being. His other-centered personality makes him a supportive classmate and giving friend. For these reasons and for helping to make Holderness feel like home for so many, the ninth-grade class selected Izak Furey as the recipient of the Bob Brooks Award. Thank you, Izak, and congratulations!

Coach's Award: Darby Palisi & Beckham Bayreuther
Presented by Chrissy Lushefski & Duane Ford

The Ford B. Hinman Coach’s Awards is awarded to the student or students who in the opinion of the Director of Athletics and the Head of School has contributed the most to the spirit of Holderness on and off the field.

This athlete has been a standout three-sport varsity athlete throughout her career at Holderness. This athlete was recognized as a captain for both Varsity Ice Hockey and Varsity Lacrosse for her tireless hard work, her extraordinary dedication, and her kindness to all teammates. From a coach’s perspective, this athlete has everything you want in a player: grit, focus, a selfless attitude, sportsmanship, strong character, and an ability to inspire her teammates. That is why Darby Palisi wholeheartedly deserves this year’s Coach's Award. I have had the pleasure of coaching Darby in two of her three sports, and she is one who will be sorely missed, but one who has made an impact on underclassmen, who will live out her values. I am proud to present the Coach's Award to Darby Palisi. Congratulations, Darby!

Beckham Bayreuther has Holderness spirit running through his veins. In his own strong quiet leadership style, Beckham has been out front helping his teams and his School reach their very best. Beckham competes with class and highest character and he loves the most pressurized moments. Through his team captaincies and his role as School Vice President his positive spirit has influenced all aspects of the School: job program, dorm life, and athletics. He has, also, shown us all how to bounce back with grace and dignity. Congratulations, Beckham on a great four years and thank you for being such a great Bull.

The Webster Cup: Morgan Sisson & Joe Pelletier
Presented by Kelsey Berry & Jordan Graham

The Webster Cup Award is the gift of a former Rector, the Rev. Lorin Webster, to be awarded for excellence in athletics. We celebrate two this year.

When I first met this student-athlete as a new sophomore, I thought she was shy and reserved, and she was, but only for the first of her nine seasons as a varsity athlete. That first year, in the winter and spring seasons, I began to hear from other coaches that she was quite a “sassy” player, and I soon began to agree. Just to be clear, “sassy” is most definitely a positive attribute. The definition of “sassy” is “lively, bold, and full of spirit; perhaps cheeky.” This athlete is the recipient of the Webster Cup because she brings a fun-loving, competitive spirit every day. She works to lift up her teammates, and at times, even her coaches. We use the verb “to play” when we talk about sports because it is supposed to be a joyful endeavor. Morgan Sisson brings sass and joy to each space she inhabits at Holderness, be it the locker room, the dorm, or the classroom. She was recognized by her peers as a three-season varsity captain and will be very missed next year for her spirit, at times cheeky comments, and love of life and community. It is with great pride that I get to award this year’s Webster Cup to Morgan Sisson.

As the faculty discussed who most deserved this award and others, Joe Pelletier kept coming up. The one thing holding him back from winning this prize? He fit the bill with too many other awards. Having served as Joe’s advisor, teacher, and coach, I sincerely believe that this is the award best suited to him. Joe was first drawn to Holderness for how it placed athletics on equal footing with academics and community life. He, like the aspirations of the school, see athletics as both complementary and requisite aspects of life at Holderness. His high level of success in the classroom and his role in the “top 4” of our school’s leadership are all deeply connected to his work as an athlete. So this award works to describe the humble leadership, boisterous passion, and sincere curiosity that Joe Pelletier brought to each of his four sports at Holderness. He competes because it is at the core of him. He leads because he feels he ought to. He cares because he knows no other way. If you are fortunate enough to see Joe in the future, I can assure that you won’t find him on the sideline of his life or the lives of those close to him. Congratulations, Joe.

The Richard C. Gallop Award for Creative and Community Leadership: Lily Lin
Presented by Elizabeth Wolf

The Richard C. Gallop Award for Creative and Community Leadership is awarded to a senior student chosen by the Headmaster and the faculty. This award is given in memory of Richard Gallop, a parent and trustee, to a senior who demonstrates both creative and community leadership as one willing and able to assert those qualities which further the unique sense of community at Holderness.

I am so pleased to have the honor to present the Gallop award to a young woman who I have had the privilege of watching grow and mature over the last four years. Her warmth and kindness make her an approachable resource for many incoming young students. Over the years, I have watched her nurture and support her peers who have been homesick and struggling to adapt to life at Holderness. Her creativity is apparent in many aspects of her Holderness life, but especially in the photographs that grace the walls of Carpenter and welcome us into assembly each week. Her work on her Senior Thesis will impact people in her hometown for years to come and her engagement in the classroom has been second-to-none throughout her time here. She has found ways to lead and impact the adults and students on this campus that most people don’t ever even see. On behalf of the faculty, I am thrilled to award the Gallop Award for creative and community leadership to Lily Lin.

The Dana H. Rowe Memorial Award: Thalia Anastos
Presented by Nicole Bartlett

The Dana H. Rowe Memorial Award is given to that girl in the senior class who has made an outstanding contribution to the life of the School through her academic achievement, her participation in sports and extracurricular activities, and her love of life.

When thinking about a student at this school who represents leadership, intellectual curiosity, the love for the outdoors, and empathy, Thalia Anastos comes to mind. Thalia has assembled an impressive academic record since her first year at Holderness. She not only values earning outstanding grades in class, but her teachers also comment on her savvy ways to launch conversations into new undeveloped territory with her peers. Thalia’s passion for skiing and the outdoors has come with challenges she has overcome in a humble way. She has endured and persevered through multiple injuries keeping her from doing what she loves, but her positive attitude and love of life dominates these obstacles. When Thalia walks into a room, she has an impeccable way of interacting with whomever is present. Whether it is Josh or Sandy, her best friend, a faculty member, or a complete stranger, I can guarantee this person, whoever they are, will leave the room with a smile on their face. Thalia often mentions how much she is going to miss Holderness, but I can confidently say that Holderness is going to miss her more. Congratulations, Thalia!

The Haslam Award: Claudia Cantin
Presented by Leigh Anne Connors

The Haslam Award is given by the School yearly in memory of the Rev. George Haslam, a former master, for excellence in Athletics, Sportsmanship, and Scholarship.

A scholar, an athlete, a captain, a dorm leader, Claudia Cantin has shown excellence in athletics, sportsmanship, and scholarship in her four years at Holderness. She has distinguished herself in the classroom with her creative and analytical mind which has taken her to master some of the most challenging classes in the school. While maintaining one of the highest GPAs, Claudia was a top competitive Eastern Alpine ski racer who rounded out her high school career competing at a national level. As a captain of all three of her sports teams, Claudia cares about the well-being of her teammates and focuses on bringing them up when they are down. She does all this with grace and humility. Next year, Claudia will bring her diligence and her tenacious grit to the classrooms and mountains of Williams College. It is a pleasure to honor her for her hard work and success. Congratulations, Claudia!

The Dallas Award: Claudia Cantin
Presented by Atte Aalto

The Dallas Award is given in memory of John Thompson Dallas, a former Bishop of New Hampshire, to the senior who clearly exemplified loyalty and dedication to the Judeo-Christian ideals of the School.

This young man has been at Holderness for only two years but in those two years has become a role model on how to live with integrity and honor. After his first year, he was elected as a dorm leader because his peers and teachers knew he would lead by example with a joyful disposition. Atte Aalto, you have proven yourself worthy of this award by going out of your way to support your teammates and classmates even when doing so brought you little acclaim. Whether it was staying an “active” member of the ice hockey team though an injury kept you from competing, learning a new instrument for the school band this spring, spending time being trained in relationship violence, or sharing your amazing dance moves with all of us, you are an awesome example of a senior worth emulating. Over these past two years, you’ve been a long way from your home in Finland, and we hope that Holderness has felt like a second “home” to you. Franklin and Marshall College is lucky to be getting you as a member of their student body. You will be missed! Congratulations, Atte!

The Clarkson Award: Kathryn Potter
Presented by Kelly Casey

The Clarkson Award is given to the student in the junior or senior year who, in the opinion of the Faculty, has used their abilities to the fullest in the total context of the life of the School, and who has shown that they can persevere.

Kathryn Potter is a Holderness lifer who has taken full advantage of everything the school has to offer. She has been a quiet rock star in all aspects of school life from AP Composition, to her work in Alliance, to her participation in 12 athletic teams. But what makes Kathryn Potter worthy of this award is how she quietly supported a friend during a challenging year even when there was personal cost to her, and how she fought through a debilitating injury so she could rejoin her teams and contribute to the life of the school. Kathryn's willingness to stand up for what is right and to put others before herself is commendable and a gift to all who know her. It is a pleasure to honor Kathryn Potter with the Clarkson Award.

The Marshall Award: Dylan Jon DeVries
Presented by Conor O'Meara

The Marshall Award is given in memory of the Rev. Robert Eliot Marshall, a former Rector of the School, for outstanding contribution to the life of the School.

American author and fly fisherman John Gierach once said that, "the best fisherman I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them." Over the past four years, I have seen the same resilient quality from a young fisherman of our own. This young man has never been anything but himself light-hearted, humble, and kind. Through new challenges and opportunities presented through leadership, he has learned that the admirable qualities of dedication and hard work must follow. As he has just begun his leadership journey, he has left Holderness School a better place, leaving us with a not often recognized but vital contribution. He has shown the community that it is of little cost and a great benefit to be kind to all. It is with joy and pride that I present this year’s Marshall Award to Dylan Jon DeVries.

The Don and Pat Henderson Award: Bryn Donovan
Presented by Alexandra Disney

The Don and Pat Henderson Award is given to the senior who, in the opinion of the Faculty and Head of School, has given themself most freely and generously to the welfare of the community and has exhibited leadership.

To say this student bleeds blue would be an understatement. While she has dedicated her heart and hands to this community, her reach extends well beyond us. She organized our Christmas donations to children who might otherwise be left empty-handed on Christmas morning. She goes into local public schools to do fun science projects with young girls, and to raise awareness about LGBTQ education. On campus, she cares for all beings, two-legged and four. She sews for the plays, throws birthday parties for her advisor, she babysits faculty kids during her free blocks, and walks faculty dogs on vacations. Moreover, she supports those students who feel silenced by their identities, giving voice to those most marginalized. Bryn, thanks for being you, and with this, pushing us all to think beyond ourselves a little more.

The Walter Alvin Frost Award: Andrey Yao
Presented by Jordan Graham

Our final award is one of the oldest awarded at the school.

The Walter Alvin Frost Award is given in memory of a former student to the student who, in the judgment of the Head of School and faculty, reached the highest standards of the School.

Chapel may not have always played the largest role in the mind of this year’s recipient, and not just because of his work to prove the absence of free will. Instead, he likely prized spaces in Hagerman, Schoolhouse, the mountain bike trails, or the dorm common room. These were the spaces where, for 3 years, he excelled and showed himself to be one of the school’s most passionate and interested students. Yet, chapel offered last year’s leadership announcement, where the community plainly stated their appreciation of him, far beyond what he has ever been able to see for himself. This April, Andrey Yao again stood in Chapel, delivering a message in a fashion that was truly his own. His talk melded academics with mountain biking, leadership with French philosophy, and chapel with humor. Andrey wove this around his choice to reveal one of the most fundamental, yet still sensitive, pieces of his identity with the community. He took this leap because he wanted to use the moment to make us all better. For us to become more accepting of each other, more supportive of the goals we make for ourselves, and more empathetic to the seen and unseen pains suffered by each member of this community. While the academic spaces may have offered our first glimpse of Andrey Yao’s greatness, our chapel proved that we have only started to see the true depth of this person. Cornell is greatly gaining what we are sorely losing. Congratulations, Andrey, and thank you.

Cum Laude Members

Class of 2019
Atte Ilmari Aalto*
Thalia Lynn Anastos*
Claudia Violette Cantin*
Siwakorn Fuangkawinsombut
Lily Paige Gillette
Viivi Sofia Hamalainen
Ziqing Lin*
Aukkarwit Nakprasert
Linh Khanh Nguyen Hoang*
Lillian Gold Patterson
Joseph Anthony Pollak
Avery Denison Reynolds*
Taylor Patricia Teich
Alexandra Lauren von der Luft
Katherine Sarah Urdang*
Andrey W. Yao*

* Inducted as juniors in 2018

Class of 2020
Rodolfo Scott Beer
Angus Alistair Christie
Carolyn Marie Fernandes
Pieter Elias Kooistra
Eleanor Lee Page
Eleni Welsh Spiliotes
Abigail Vieira
Andrew Yang


List of 3 news stories.

  • Emerald Pool Study

    The Emerald Pool Opens at the Edwards Art Gallery

    Andrew Herring
    Albert Bierstadt, the German-American painter renowned for his landscapes of the American West, came to the White Mountains to capture its simple yet overwhelming beauty. What came to life through nearly a decade’s worth of work was The Emerald Pool, a massive oil-on-canvas monument to the natural majesty of a hidden swimming hole along the Peabody River in the Pinkham Notch.  Recounting The Emerald Pool, Bierstadt said, “I never had so difficult a picture to paint, as this White Mountain subject the Emerald Pool; my artist friends think it my best picture and so do I.” 
    Read More
  • Being On Mission: Convocation 2019

    Phil Peck
    At Holderness we deliberately build community through the people we bring in and programs we support. Today I want to share one story about people who showed us what it means to be a mission-centered community and talk about one unique program that is hitting a milestone. 
    Read More
  • The Bulls are Back in Town! Holderness School Welcomes New Class of Students

    Andrew Herring
    Kicking off its 141st year, Holderness School welcomed new students to campus on September 5th.  Under blue skies and surrounded by the cheers of joyful Senior Leaders, 114 new students eagerly joined the Holderness School community.  The day was filled with smiles as new students and families unpacked their cars and turned dorm rooms into a home away from home.
    Read More
Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness NH, 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257