On June 7, in front of a packed audience of loving families and friends, 56 seniors processed across the stage at the Twentieth Century Club in Oakland, becoming the 128th graduating class of Winchester Thurston School.

The emotion in the room was palpable as the audience switched from tears of pride to laughter and back again throughout the ceremony. The accomplishments of the graduates, from academic achievements, to WPIAL and sectional championships, acceptances to top universities, and impactful City as Our Campus projects, were regaled by proud members of the class and WT’s faculty and staff.

Head of School Gary Niels began his tenure at WT in 2002, the same year this graduating class embarked on their WT journey as Kindergartners. Reflecting on the beginning of their school careers, Niels recalled a Town Meeting held at the beginning of his tenure that focused on answering the question of what a WT graduate should look like. The participants put forth a vision of a graduate who leaves WT possessing the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed and thrive in the world, as well as a nurturing spirit that was truthful and courageous—a person who both does good and is good.

Well Done Class of 2015, Well Done

Krithika Pennathur ’15 welcomed the audience to the ceremonies and reflected on the incredible talent, passion, and intelligence possessed by her fellow classmates, and the dedication and love of the faculty who “aspire to learn from us and strive to create an environment in which we thrive.”

Student Council President, Adam Berkebile ’15 kicked off his speech with a bold statement, “Life is Like a Hamburger.” How? As Berkebile explained, each component of a perfect burger is a vital part of the whole. The components of the burger, the meat, rub, cheese, the toppings and the bun all represent a part of the Class of 2015’s time at WT, from their academic endeavors, friends and caring teachers, to their extracurricular activities and most importantly, their families that hold all of the pieces together. Berkebile concluded with advice for his classmates, “As you go out into the world I encourage you…build your fullest burger, knowing that what we have learned here at WT, perseverance, knowledge, confidence, will carry us through our college years and beyond. Add your own flavor, your own rub…stand out against injustice, strive to help those less fortunate, carry on the WT tradition: think also of the comfort and the rights of others.”

Addressing a captive audience, Maia Rosenfeld ’15 reflected on the courage that it takes to cross bridges, both literal and figurative.
“WT has prepared us to cross our next bridge…Our community has helped shape our identity—the environment and examples around us have taught us to care about one another, and have constantly reminded us that we’re all in this together.”

Doug Campbell, then President of the Board of Trustees, shared the purpose of WT according to its bylaws: “To own, maintain, and operate a school for the education of youth as appropriate in preparation for college or university,” noting that while the purpose seems incredibly basic, there are no instructions for how this should be accomplished. During Campbell’s 12 year tenure, he has watched the board, faculty, and staff work tirelessly to interpret this directive in a meaningful way that creates a vibrant culture that allows students to thrive.

Winchester Thurston School Class of 2015

Rohun John Sundip Agarwal
Katherine Claire Ashwood
Adrian Gabriel Bayemi
Adam Jonathan Berkebile
Madeleine Joan Beyer
Aleksander Herrmann Binion
Britt Maren Bovbjerg
Mieke Ann Bovbjerg
Theodore James Boyd*
Maxwell Steele Calhoun
Adam James Cohen*
James Christopher Counihan
Landin M. Delaney
Summer Marie Devlin*
William B. Farnsworth
Anna Pearl Ferry
David Silver Friedmantinythistle
Lindsay Hanna Gorbytinythistle
Justin Kramer Hare*

Kathryn Foster Hazen*
Natalie Evette Heywood
Sean Edward Holmes
Noah David James
Noa Katherine Jett
Wesley Alan Johnson
Ayeko Jordana Kauffmann-Okoko
Maria Cristina Lagnese
Anastasia Marie Landman
Azania I-Queen Lane-Majestic
Mathieu Fernand Lebiere
Emma Katherine Lee*
Alexa Marie Lehman*
Brendon Robert Maloney*
Manasa Krishna Melachuri
Addie Rose Moritz
Akiko Elaine Nace
Nicholas Lee Pearlmantinythistle
Krithika Saraswathy Pennathur

Emma Jarrell Place
Max Louis Pollack*
Bridget Campbell Re
Hannalea Rachel Resnik
Will Semenza Robinson
Lucas Anton Rosenblatt
Maia Lior Rosenfeld
Elizabeth Maurides Siefert
Joshua Michael Siktar
Ariel Rose Stein
Jared Francis Steinberg*
Alexandra Julieta Uribe
Griffin Theo van de Venne
Jonathan Carl VanBriesen
Ansel Wang
Daniel George Wittig
Max Joseph Zissu
Alexa Morgan Zytnick*

*WT Lifer  tinythistleLegacy

Excellence Honored

The Emily E. Dorrance award for a student whose conduct, interaction, and leadership best demonstrates the school credo, Think also of the comfort and the rights of others, given by friends of the Dorrance family
Elizabeth Maurides Siefert

The Mary A. Campbell award for outstanding scholarship, given by Katherine Houston Rush
Summer Marie Devlin

The Mary A. Graham Mitchell award for character, personality, loyalty, and scholarship
Adrian Gabriel Bayemi

The Alice M. Thurston award for integrity, courageous leadership, and service
Noa Katherine Jett

The Ruth S. Gamsby award for citizenship, kindness, and courteous helpfulness, given by the Daniel F. Mullane family
Joshua Michael Siktar

The Nina Wadhwa Student Council award for a student who best exemplifies Gentle in Manner, Strong in Deed, endowed by the Wadhwa family
Krithika Saraswathy Pennathur

The Jane L. Scarborough Award for teaching excellence was presented to
David Nassar

Upper School Computer Science Teacher and Department Chair. Nassar was recognized for his innovative and creative teaching and his and passion for his students.
Gaylen Westfall was honored for her incredible 40-year service to WT by being named an honorary alumna. Read about her commitment to the school and the impact that she has had on the community.