Winnetka, Community

8 ‘lifers’ highlight NSCD commencement

North Shore Country Day seniors crossed the stage to receive their diplomas during a ceremony on June 7.

The event capped the commencement season for The Record’s coverage area. In a previous article, The Record recapped graduations of New Trier, Loyola Academy, Highland Park and Regina Dominican high school.

To cap NSCD’s commencement, the school’s eight lifers — Tessa Adamson-Tate, of Skokie; Aram Dombalagian, of Glenview; siblings Geoff, Mariel Flickinger and Smith Flickinger of Winnetka; Carissa Shultz, of Lake Forest; Leif Steele, of Evanston; and Bo Stevenson, of Winnetka — lowered the flags and one by one rang the school bell, to mark an end to their 13- or 14-year journeys as NSCD students.

Ellen Darku crosses the stage as a graduate of North Shore Country Day.

Steele gave the senior-class message and compared a firsthand near-drowning experience — in which he stopped fighting and let the current guide him to safety — to tense moments in life, according to a press release from NSCD.

“The best way to maximize our wellbeing is to neutralize our ego,” he said to his classmates. “Go into every situation with no concrete expectations of what should and shouldn’t happen. Embrace what is happening, live it and thrive in it.”

A selection from the school’s seniors, longtime school counselor Kristen Kaczynski — or Dr. K — also addressed the graduates and spoke of life challenges.

Gabriel Rosen during commencement

Relating her own experiences, Kaczynski talked about preparation and determination.

“One thing you can count on as you leave this place is that, at some point, there is going to be more that is hard,” Kaczynski said. “Yet I’m also confident that as you face those challenges — no matter what they are — you leave here incredibly well prepared to lean towards elegance and grace.” 

Head of School Tom Flemma capped the speeches by using the words of legendary comedian Steve Martin, who once said “Be so good that they can’t ignore you.” Flemma said the quote plays on two notes: be good at what you do and be a good person.

Kyle Banner fist-bumps to Mullery Doar, NSCD’s director of admissions and financial aid.

“There’s a lot to unpack in that short statement, but I think it nicely represents the aspirations and expectations that we have of you graduates as you leave this place,” Flemma said. “You see, I recognize in Steve’s advice multiple truths, and perhaps a duality that he didn’t intend.”

To cap the ceremony, the graduates sang the school song, “Wake the Echoes,” for the final time together, the release says.

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This article was developed using publicly available information, such as press releases, municipal records and social media posts.

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