New Englanders joke that spring is “mud season,” because snowmelt and rain showers create a muddy mess. But at Brewster, “MUD” has a completely different meaning. It stands for Moving Up Day, an honored tradition that kicks off Commencement Week and brings all students together one last time before the close of the school year.
The 2023 Moving Up Day ceremony took place on Monday, May 22, and held its fair share of special and surprise moments. “Each year at Moving Up Day, we celebrate the academic achievements of our students, announce leadership positions for next year, share college destinations, and literally ask our underclass students to move up to the front of the bleachers to symbolize the Class of 2023 leaving us and the Class of 2024 moving into their position as the next graduating class,” Head of School Kristy Kerin said to the crowd at the Smith Center.
But before the ceremony begins, the MUD tradition of a processional, by class, from the Estabrook to the Smith Center showcased the bonds of friendship among students. In formal dress code, each Academic Team walked, two-by-two, to line the walkways along the path to the Smith Center, with the Class of 2023 emerging last from Estabrook. Then, as the seniors and PGs walked through the rows of their underclass classmates, high fives, applause, and hollers led them to the ceremony. Each class then followed, filling the bleachers as they were greeted by faculty and staff.
The program inside begins with a welcome from Head of School Kristy Kerin, who then announces the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and First Post-Graduate for the 2022-23 school year.
This year’s top post-graduate student is Seth Suangburanakul. “At Brewster, he was part of the JV soccer and lacrosse programs even while taking a rigorous set of four Advanced Placement courses and another advanced mathematics class online,” Ms. Kerin said. “He graduates with a GPA of 4.330 and will attend Columbia University in the fall, where he plans to study Finance. Congratulations Seth!”
This year's class salutatorian is Hannah Yang, a member of the student leadership team and the National Honor Society. Kerin noted that Hannah has made her mark on the cross country, softball, and JV basketball teams, and is also a talented artist who frequently performs at school events. Like Seth, Hannah has also excelled in four AP classes this year. “Hannah graduates with a GPA of 4.2903 and will attend UCLA next year!” Kerin said.
With a GPA of 4.2972, Lam Kellye Nguyen earned the top spot as the 2023 Valedictorian. “Kellye is a Global Scholar, as well as a member of the National Honor Society and our student leadership team, all while balancing an extremely rigorous academic schedule,” Kerin noted. “Additionally, she is an avid volunteer and two-time winner of the Poetry Out Loud competition. She will attend Union College in the fall. Congratulations!”
Academic Dean Matt Butcher and Dean of Teaching and Learning Dr. Marta Filip-Fouser then took the podium to present National Honor Society members and graduates who achieved honor roll status for the fall and winter trimesters with gold tassels to be worn at graduation. In the list of those students, below, an asterisk indicates National Honor Society membership:
Omar Al Murazza Ba Abood
*Al Zaharaa Al Zaabi
Josh de Beer
Daniela Herranz Diaz
Timothy Cushing, the incoming Dean of College Counseling had the pleasure of announcing the Class of 2023’s post-graduation destinations. “There is a lot to applaud here, and we have a lot of names to get through,” he said. “Last year an impromptu tradition began: A single loud clap for each name, and then at the end of the list, we can let loose with our applause!” The tradition continued as Cushing shared college destinations including Wake Forest, Northwestern, Emory, Cornell, Holy Cross, NYU, Savannah College of Art and Design, and dozens more. One student, Meghan Shippos, is heading to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and Dalton Kane and Zachary Glinski are off to participate in Junior Hockey.
Brewster places special significance on its “Lifers,” those students who chose to be at Brewster for all four of their high school years. This year 40 Lifers received a special pin to remind them of their special bond with the school and each other. Those students are
Joshua de Beer
Andrew do Carmo
Akwasi Keiron Kankam
Leyan Frank Lou
Guandong Byron Wang
Zixin Frank Wang
ACADEMIC AWARD WINNERS REVEALED
Matt Butcher returned to the podium to announce a slate of academic awards. Award winners were asked to sit in reserved seating on the court near the podium, but none of them knew which award they were being given. Some of the most charming moments of the afternoon were watching the awardees’ faces as the descriptions were read, and seeing the realization that they were being honored spread across their faces.
Butcher began with the Myrtle Dodge Award, voted on by the entire faculty and presented to the student whose grades and recognition scores reflect a high level of investment and good citizenship, as well as distinguished academic ability and performance. “The 2023 recipient has been chosen for the Myrtle Dodge Award for her outstanding achievements in academics and for her contributions to the Brewster community. While working in a second language, she has excelled academically. Almost every evening, she dedicates her free time to the Math Tutor Center, Math Club, and Words of the World, and she is a fervent participant in Basketball and Rowing,” Butcher said. “Her passion for learning, her compassion, and her willingness to go above and beyond make her an inspiration to her peers. She uplifts and inspires, and she is a person we admire. Congratulations to Margo Morozova, this year’s Myrtle Dodge Award winner.”
The Warren P. Tyler Memorial Award, also voted on by the entire faculty, is presented to the student who demonstrates self-reliance and integrity, and whose recognition scores reflect outstanding maturity, honesty, and character. “This year’s award recipient has had a significant impact on the Brewster community through her strong moral character and selflessness. Her commitment to bettering herself and those around her is seen through her impressive performance in classes, involvement in clubs, and commitment to formal leadership roles. She is the epitome of what it means to live a ‘life of purpose,’ and we all should look forward to seeing how she will improve the world as much as she has improved Brewster,” Butcher said before revealing this year's Warren P. Tyler Memorial Award recipient, Maggie Doyle.
Additional awards were given to
Joseph Childs: The Dartmouth Book Award, presented each year by the English Department to the student with academic excellence who is an avid reader, writer, thinker, contributor, and collaborator. Of Childs, Butcher said: “An ardent thinker, inquisitive reader, and eager conversationalist, this award recipient writes seriously but with a true sense of style—and humor. Whether he is critiquing the Marvel Cinematic Universe or assessing the viability of geoengineering, he enlivens his English class, and he reminds us all that the work of a scholar can be a source of joy.”
Paulina Trott: The Colby College Book Prize Award, presented by the History Department to the student who commits energy and passion for social science or civic leadership and shows clear strength of character and leadership in the classroom and community. Trott is described as a force in Brewster’s classrooms. “In addition to juggling numerous responsibilities on campus, she has pursued a demanding course load and is always looking for ways to challenge herself. She is the consummate Humanities scholar: insightful, creative, engaged, and diligent. Moreover, she is undaunted by difficult texts, and her genuine curiosity allows her classmates to think more deeply about the content at hand,” Butcher said.
Zoe Hausler: The Holy Cross Book Prize Award is presented by the World Language Department to the student who demonstrates great promise and a love of languages, and who has completed an upper level language course. “Like no other, this student stands out from the crowd as a quiet leader,” Butcher said. “She is able to overcome challenges with lots of hard work and dedication. Her self-reflections keep her grounded in the pursuit of higher standards in her language acquisition journey. As she concludes her third year of Spanish, she is now able to sustain critical thinking and conversations fluently in her second language. Most admirable are her honest desire to immerse herself in the language and the positivity that she brings to every class.
Margo Morozova: The Brown University Book Award goes to the student who has attained excellence in the field of mathematics, who has demonstrated a willingness to help others and who possesses the same genuine desire to learn that we hope to engender in all students. Butcher said that Morozova has “taken the math stage by storm,” adding, “Entering into a new country and new school is no easy feat, but doing so while uplifting others is impressive. She has bettered her peers by giving up her evening time to tutor. She has engaged in each lesson with a thirst to understand.”
Randall Preston: The Harvard Book Award, given in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and superior intellectual promise in the field of science. Of Preston, Butcher said, “This year’s recipient is invested in exploring, understanding, and appreciating the world in which we live. He is genuinely curious, and he consistently demonstrates how he is a team player in science classrooms and laboratories. Always looking to expand his knowledge and transfer his learning, he already has completed Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in his first two years at Brewster, and now he is looking forward to Astronomy with great anticipation.”
Finnian Sawin: The Grace Murray Hopper Prize Award, given to the student who exemplifies proficiency, excellence and dedication in the field of computer science. With every technology and robotics project he has taken on this year, Sawin has demonstrated his ingenuity and impressed the IT department with his ability to understand and visualize complex mechanics. Butcher shared that during a robotics competition, he developed an ingenious solution to a particular challenge, which led the team to create a rotating helicopter arm that grabbed, lifted, and placed cones in the scoring area while the robot itself remained in place: “It was a sight to behold.”
Zoe Schwartz: The Richardson Award is bestowed on the student who has recognized the value of utilizing the instructional support the student has been given, striving to improve skills and investing one’s personal best in all situations. “This year’s recipient has shown the courage, spirit, and strength to lean into all realms of school life as a senior,” Butcher said. “She has proven to be a strong collaborator committed to positive growth and discovery, and actively participates in stimulating academic endeavors as she reaches for her best. Most importantly, this student has become the initiator and architect of her journey…and thrived.”
Elisha-Grace King: The Jon Konheim Journalism Award, presented to the student who exemplifies outstanding dedication to the quality of Brewster Academy’s student publications. Butcher explained that Elisha-Grace, the dedicated editor in chief of The Brewster Browser, understands and fully embraces the role of journalists in society. “Her work reflects a desire to question the dominant paradigm, to speak truth to power, and to serve as a watchdog and representative for the citizenry. In her hands, the future of democracy and of a free and integral press is assured,” he said.
Jack Northrop: The William J. Britton-Dorothy Coyle Award, presented to the student who has shown exemplary commitment to and involvement in one or more of the performing arts while at Brewster Academy. “This year’s awardee is not only an excellent character actor, always willing to take a risk, but he is also an empathic member of our ensemble,” Butcher said. “During The Lightning Thief, this actor proved that there are in fact no small parts by bringing boundless energy to the four parts he played. In addition, he consistently demonstrated our community core values in both his Elements of Performance class and his afternoon theater program. Put simply: He makes us all better.”
Liam Fahey: The Albert S. Munnis Visual Arts Award is given to the student who is self-motivated and goal oriented, who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the visual arts and continued growth and development as an artist. Liam has been a passionate participant in all aspects of the arts at Brewster. In his two years here he has developed not only as an artist, but also as a leader inside and outside of the art classroom. Butcher noted, “His portfolio representing the queer teenage experience in America was a feature exhibit in the Fall showcase, and we are excited to see his continued artistic endeavors in the Art Signature Program next year.”
Zoe Hausler: Lives of Purpose Award for the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade student who has made significant contributions to their school and community through their time, actions, talents, and dedication. “This year’s recipient of the Lives of Purpose Award has demonstrated efforts that have been diverse, intentional, and robust,” Butcher shared. “She has demonstrated a strong commitment to community service and has gone above and beyond to help those in need. Her efforts have impacted many people and organizations, and she serves as an inspiration to others who wish to make a difference in their communities.”
Brewster Arts Gallery of Excellence
Last year, Brewster’s Art Department began a permanent gallery to celebrate students’ technical talents in the arts. This year, the second piece was selected to be a part of this new gallery, called The Brewster Arts Gallery of Excellence. Faculty member Alicia Childers announced this year’s inductee, Sylvie Skibicki, and revealed her piece, entitled “Chipper.”
Kerin returned to the podium to acknowledge employees have celebrated milestones in their Brewster careers this year.
5 years of service:
Maryann Biedak, Director of Human Resources
Tim Cushing, Incoming Dean of College Counseling
Kevin Duffy, Director of Security and Life Safety
Peter Gilligan, Chief Technology and Operations Officer
Nick Wilbur, Director of Enrollment Management
Alicia Wingard, Team Leader and Instructional Support Faculty
10 years of service:
Jen Dumont, Director of Library Services
Katie Gardner, Dean of Faculty and Dean of Instructional Support
Tom Kelliher, Executive Chef
Steve Cohen, Dining Services Staff
15 years of service:
Kirsty Ridings, Head Athletic Trainer
“Ms. Ridings is the architect of Brewster’s physical therapy program, bringing special expertise in the areas of ACL injuries and concussion management. Kirsty works tirelessly to keep our students safe and to help you all perform at your best. Congratulations, Ms. Ridings and thank you for 15 years of service to Brewster!” Kerin said.
20 years of service:
Lauren Hammond, Instructional Support Faculty
Of Hammond, Kerin said, “Ms. Hammond has seemingly been connected with Brewster her entire life. The daughter of Brewster faculty icons, Bob and Shirley Richardson, Ms. Hammond grew up on campus. After a 15-year career as a graphic designer, she joined us in 2004 as an IS teacher and arts instructor, where she has supported countless students in unlocking their potential by helping them understand more about how they learn and what interests them. Ms. Hammond is the mom of Kelsey, Class of 2010 and Sean Class of 2009.”
Emily James, Science Department Co-Chair and Science Faculty
“Before Brewster,” Kerin shared, “Emily James taught at Phillips Exeter Academy, Packer Collegiate Institute, and Horace Mann. She arrived in 2004 and has been helping Brewster students unlock the mysteries of the stars and earthbound forces ever since. Outside of our school, she has been a leading advocate in the state of New Hampshire and beyond for families of children with intellectual and physical disabilities. She sits on multiple advocacy councils and has worked with legislators and caregivers to improve support for disabled individuals and their families, continuing this work in honor of her daughter, Maya, who we lost in 2021. Ms. James is also the proud mom of Marvel ‘24 and Mary ‘20. We are grateful for the example Ms. James sets in pursuing excellence and purpose in all that she does.”
At this point, as the years of service numbers topped two decades, a rumbling of awe could be heard among the student audience, who realized that these employees have worked at Brewster longer than they have been alive!
25 years of service:
Bob “Trep” Trepanier, Head Carpenter
“Trep is seemingly everywhere on campus, working tirelessly and bringing his talents to repairs and improvements throughout our numerous buildings,” Kerin said. “An impressive carpenter, no job is too big or too small for Trep, and he is always ready to engage in conversation and camaraderie with colleagues and students alike. Proud father of two Brewster graduates, Michael, Class of 2017 and Caroline, Class of 2020, and spouse of a Brewster alum, Trep’s connections to Brewster run deep. If something needs to be found on campus, or a mystery of a building unlocked, chances are Trep can help.”
30 years of service:
Christine Brown, Royal Thai Scholars Program Director and Summer Program Coordinator
“A self-described ‘faculty brat,’ Ms. Brown landed on campus when her father accepted a math teaching position.” Kerin shared. “She graduated from Brewster as a member of the Class of 1987, and began working in summer programs in 1991 while working as a preschool teacher during the academic year. She then made the transition to working year-round at Brewster in 2000.” She added that Brown has moved our summer programs offerings forward significantly, and is noted for her leadership and long standing relationship with the Royal Thai Scholar Program. “Our Thai Scholars know Ms. Brown to be a warm, joyful, committed point of contact who supports them during the summer program, and throughout the academic year and beyond. Ms. Brown even travels to Vermont each December where she spends her winter holidays working with our Thai students on their college applications.”
35 years of service:
Susan Crowley, Executive Assistant to the Head of School
“Ms. Crowley has worked as a trusted colleague to four Heads of School at Brewster. She has been referred to as Brewster’s secret government, as she knows seemingly every detail of the school and its institutional history,” Kerin said. “Chances are, if you need to know something, Ms. Crowley has the answer or can at least point you in the right direction. Personally, I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to work closely with Susan on a daily basis. Ms. Crowley is a trusted CLP in Estabrook dorm, helps to oversee our AP testing, and works with SEVIS to support our international students. Her job is as varied as her impressive skill set. Ms. Crowley is also mom to two Brewster graduates, Sarah, Class of 2013 and Matt, Class of 2009.”
Lynne Palmer, James C. Curvey Endowed Program Director
“Lynne has done it all, starting as a Development Assistant and climbing quickly through the ranks to Associate Director of Development and then Director of Parents Programs,” Kerin explained. “In 1997 she became Director of Admission and ably led the office for more than 15 years, interacting with thousands of students and their families. In 2017, Lynne served as the Director of External Affairs, until her retirement in 2021. A retirement that quickly became a reinstatement as Brewster’s inaugural James C. Curvey Endowed Program Director where she now works with Brewster’s Curvey Scholar Program. Lynne’s impact can be seen in every aspect of the Brewster experience.”
TJ Palmer, Team Leader and History Faculty
“Mr. Palmer previously taught at the Rectory School and came to Brewster in 1897…I mean…1987,” Kerin said with a smile, getting a big laugh from the honoree standing above the bleachers. “He is one of Brewster’s elder statesmen, an electric educator whose passion for bringing history alive for students is evident in his lively, personable, and enthusiastic approach to teaching. He is a Brewster icon, quick witted and always ready to engage a stated view with a good natured challenging question sallied for the purpose of exploring ideas fully. As comfortable behind the grill as he is in the classroom, he and his tailgate squad have brought many a Brewster home game to life, and he is the driving force behind one of Wolfeboro’s most infamous yearly traditions, the Clark Road Haunted House. Mr. Palmer serves as a Team Leader for one of our junior teams, helping to support students and faculty alike. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are parents to three Brewster graduates, TJ junior, Class of 2008, Jessica, Class of 2009, and Brady, Class of 2012.”
Community Leadership Announcements
Assistant Head of School for Student Life James Reilly made his MUD debut with Dean of Students Maureen Edmonds to present the leadership positions for next school year.
The leaders for the Sophomore Class are:
Prefects for Sophomore Year are:
The Junior Class Leaders are:
Prefects for Junior Year are:
The Senior Class Leaders are:
Our Senior Class Prefects are
After thunderous applause and whoops from the bleachers filled with students, Reilly continued with the Gold Key (tour guide) appointments. “Our Gold Key Tour Guide Club is a collection of students who apply to be ambassadors for Brewster. These are students that want to share their experiences and joys of being here with prospective families who are considering joining our community,” he said. “They also look to make connections with students before they come to campus as a new Brewster student.” Four head tour guides lead this group of important students, and they are
Ben Collins and
Brewster has three student publications—newspaper, literary magazine, and yearbook—that capture the special moments in our community, share information and opinion, and showcase Brewster’s deep well of creativity.
The staff of the Brewster Browser newspaper next year will be
Editor in chief: Liam Fahey
Managing editor: Zoe Hausler
News and Features editor: Audrey Burke
Staff Reporter: Grace Watson
And for Outcroppings, Brewster’s literary magazine, the staff will be
Editor in chief: Liam Fahey
Art Editor: Logan Cliche
Contributing Editor: Audrey Burke
For The Winnipesaukean, Brewster’s yearbook, the editor will be Grace Mouradian.
Next, new senior prefects Gnazzo and Sochaczevski joined the two current school leaders, Delphine Tamborello and Annie Perry, at the podium for the symbolic passing of the gavel and the new Class of 2024 flag. Each Brewster class has its own class colors: The graduating class’s colors have been black and white, and the Class of 2024 colors are purple and gold.
Students hold a special meeting to select the person they will honor in the yearbook dedication. It is a highly guarded secret each year, with the big reveal being one of the highlights of the MUD ceremony. Arts Department Chair Amy Hill introduced Yearbook Editor Gracie Mouradian, who made the announcement. When she said, “The Class of 2023 proudly dedicates this year's Winnipesaukean to Kyle Williams,” the Smith Center erupted into cheers and applause, with students leaping to their feet as a completely surprised Williams, Brewster’s Waterfront Coordinator who wears many other hats as well, walked to the podium to accept the first yearbook. “Mr. Williams can usually be found by the Boathouse helping ensure all water sports are running smoothly,” Mouradian continued. “He is a wonderful coach and friend to the Brewster community. In his seven years of working at Brewster Academy, Mr. Williams has dedicated hundreds of hours of service to the success and safety of the students. If that didn't already fill his days, Mr. Williams also serves our greater community as a firefighter, lifeguard, and DJ. He is a wonderful example of living a life of purpose. Thank you, Mr. Williams, for your services here at Brewster and beyond.”
The Final Moment
With her final congratulations and kudos to the gathered school community, Kerin began the final step of the ceremony—the tradition that gives Moving Up Day its name.
“Seniors and Postgraduates, for the very last time at a Brewster All School, you are dismissed,” she called out. Then, “Juniors, please MOVE UP to the front of the bleachers to take your place as Seniors. Sophomores, please move to the junior rows. And finally Ninth Graders, please move to the sophomore rows!”
Watch MUD highlights below and see the full photo album here.