Houghton Academy Graduates Class of 2019
HOUGHTON, NY - On Saturday, June 1, Houghton Academy conducted its 131st Commencement Exercises in the Rosemary Tysinger Auditorium, celebrating the graduation of 27 members of the class of 2019. Family, friends, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and community members celebrated with the graduates.
The ceremony included speeches from class valedictorian, Katie Brubaker, and salutatorian, Kathleen Kim. Brubaker used her valedictory address to cite four scripture verses and offer her prayers to her classmates as they departed high school. Brubaker’s prayers centered on retaining a sense of class unity, wisdom for the class as they headed out into the world, and peace for the graduates as they face times of uncertainty and unfamiliar situations.
Brubaker concluded her address by offering a final prayer of joy from Philippians 1:3 - “I pray with joy for this class. I pray with joy because of the class’s past. Because of the relationships we built and because of the memories we made. I pray with joy because of the time spent laughing and talking and studying and pretending to study. I also pray with joy because of this class’s present. Because we all made it through high school. Because we are here together today celebrating that accomplishment. But I also pray with joy because of the future of this class. Because of all the places we’ll go, and the people we’ll meet, and the things we’ll learn, and the experiences we’ll have. I pray with joy because of all the great things this class can do, and I pray that God will help us all to reach that potential.”
Faculty member Ann McNeill delivered the formal commencement address to the graduates and audience. McNeill referenced the relationships she formed with the graduates through their time in her English classes, their involvement with her in the Academy’s service club, or connections that were made through a smile in the school hallway or athletic event. McNeill encouraged the graduates that “life is about making and keeping our most precious connections.”
Telling stories focused on themes of mercy, forgiveness, and kindness, McNeill concluded her address by reiterating her encouragement to the class to make and keep their connections, stating, “Hold fast to the ones you make with our merciful God. He can be trusted. Listen carefully as you spend time together. Stay connected to your brother in spite of misunderstanding and error. Do the right thing. And restore relationships by forgiving people even before they ask. Deepen your connection to family through kindness. Your precious family and your Houghton family. Be “repozwa” to one another. Trust God, forgive others, be kind. It’s just that simple. God bless you all.”
Class advisor, Jeanne Daningburg, presented the graduates to Judi Mollenkof, Principal, and John Nelson, Head of School, to receive their diplomas. Daningburg described the class as “leaving a legacy of accomplishment, talent, and joy.”
Representing eight different countries on three continents, the Class of 2019 will join over 1700 as Alumni of Houghton Academy. Collectively, they received 96 college acceptance letters and 345 college credits.
Members of the Class of 2019 are: Katie Brubaker, Megan Burns, Noelle Chamberlain, Silas DeGolyer, Terry Deng, Rick Ejizu, Alex Fang, Vanessa Farnsworth, Siqi Huang, Gabe Huizenga, Aziz Kangbeya, Elvis Kayigema, Shayer Khan, Kathleen Kim, Janice Li, Tim Lin, Tony Lin, Martina Ni, Abby Phillips, Maimouna Samba, Sophie Tang, Tanke Wang, Hugo Wei, Josh Winkens, Jenny Xian, Kevin Yao, Jenny Zhang.