June 2, 2020
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Hansen, Marketing Director
The Rosarian Academy Class of 2020 stands six feet apart on the Oakley Gage Debbs Memorial Field in honor of their late classmate.
Photo Credit: David Scarola Photography
Rosarian Class of 2020 Commences Their Next Step: A Graduation to Remember
Rosarian Academy graduated 42 young men and women from its eighth-grade class on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Although graduation was not a traditional Rosarian ceremony, it was definitely one to be remembered. Faculty and staff honored the Class of 2020 with a drive-thru ceremony in the morning, followed by a live virtual awards ceremony later in the day, honoring the students for their hard work and achievements. Class of 2007 alumna, Dr. Mary Acosta, addressed the graduates as the commencement speaker.
For the drive-thru ceremony, the Class of 2020 gathered in their decorated cars and stood outside of sunroofs and hung out of windows as their names were called and they drove up to receive their diplomas. Faculty and staff lined the school driveway, masked and standing six feet apart, and cheered and held congratulatory signs for the graduates. Many graduates and faculty members wore red shoes to honor classmate Oakley Debbs who died of an anaphylactic reaction to a nut when they were in 5th grade (2016). Following the drive-thru ceremony, the graduates gathered together at the Oakley Gage Debbs Memorial Field in Palm Beach to take a socially-distant graduation photo.
The live virtual awards ceremony was held via Zoom. Dr. Acosta addressed the graduates and shared valuable lessons that she learned over the course of her 9 years as a Rosarian student, “Two of the most lasting lessons I would like to share with you today are a drive for excellence and the Golden Rule. Although neither were explicitly taught, they were woven into the culture that permeated Rosarian Academy and the faculty and staff who I was blessed to learn from during those years.”
After graduating from Rosarian in 2007, Dr. Acosta went on to Cardinal Newman she served as Student Council President and was an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient. She attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Science/Business and a minor in Catholic Social Tradition. She attended Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine where she graduated in 2019 with a degree in Medicine. She graduated with top Honors, Alpha Omega Alpha, and the Caroline McConnell McGill award which is given to the top female medical school graduate. Dr. Acosta is currently at the University of Chicago working as an Internal Medicine Resident in the COVID unit. She spends her days treating countless patients who are fighting for their lives and some who are nearing the end without loved ones by their sides.
Following the commencement address, eighth-grade co-presidents, Nicholas Stewart and Harper Throop, presented the class gift—donating a red bench, made entirely of recyclable material, in honor of their classmate Oakley Debbs. Nicholas and Harper also announced that the Class of 2020 will put together a time capsule as a way to convene their class at a future date since they were not able to end their last three months of school together in person.
Students who have been enrolled at Rosarian continuously from the Montessori school through eighth grade were honored as Charter Club Members: Natalie Acosta, James Cohen, Molly Lanahan, Gavin Marchese, Loran McGruder, Melissa Rooney, Andy Vargas.
Every year, student athletes vote on Female and Male Athlete of the Year. This award goes to an all-around athlete that has made an impact on his and her teams throughout the year, is a standout on the field or court, and shows great leadership qualities gaining the respect of his or her peers. Female and Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Natalie Acosta and James Smeenge.
Prior to the presentation of the Oakley Debbs Red Sneaker Award, a moment of silence was observed in honor of Oakley who will always be remembered as an athletic, strong, kind, young man who loved to wear his red sneakers. The Red Sneaker Award was presented to Brewer Rehm, Molly Lanahan, and Olivia Debbs for excellence in athletics and participating in four or more sports and receiving at least two or more athletic awards.
Olivia Debbs and James Smeenge received the Rowdie Award for participating in three or more varsity sports in 6th, 7th & 8th grades.
The 2020 President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence is awarded to students who achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher cumulative on a 4.0 scale, a 90th percentile or higher on all state tests and nationally-normed achievement tests and high achievement in reading or math during their middle school career: Natalie Acosta, Alexandra Beauchamp, Eaton Dunn Flom, Angela Frankland, Juan Lucas Gonzalez-Cabanellas, Quinlyn Janson, Molly Lanahan, Daniele Mischke, Harry Scarola, James Smeenge, Layna Steele, Nicholas Stewart, Harper Throop, Amelia Walsh, Tucker Yavinsky.
The 2020 President’s Education Award for Educational Achievement is awarded to students who show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment or intellectual development in academic subjects: Samuel Hernandez and Olivia Wagner.
Highest Standing Academic Accomplishment at Rosarian Academy was awarded to Juan Lucas Gonzalez-Cabanellas for earning a 4.0 GPA as well as excellence in both effort and conduct throughout the entire 2019-2020 academic year.
The St. Dominic Award was presented to Harry Scarola and Harper Throop for demonstrating a strong belief in God, the pursuit of truth in all forms, and the Christian values of kindness, respect and integrity.
Outstanding achievement in subject area awards went to: Pre-Algebra, Loran McGruder; Algebra I, Molly Lanahan; Geometry, Alexandra Beauchamp; English, Quinlyn Janson; Literature, Daniele Mischke; History, Angela Frankland; Science, Amelia Walsh; Religion, Layna Steele; Spanish, Tucker Yavinsky; Art, Iliana Beauchamp; Drama, Nicholas Stewart; Music, Alexandra Beauchamp; Physical Education, Natalie Acosta; STEM, Jacob Kurtz.
Head of School Linda Trethewey closed the ceremony with a few words to the Class of 2020:
“Without warning, the pandemic changed your world; but we will get through this…One thing that we can not lose and something that you must hold onto is your eagerness to expect hope and celebrate what is yet to come. Hope is everything…Hope ignites innovation, stirs reform, and summons vibrance to change for the future. The future is yours. You have the foundation, not it is your turn to go and be great. Remember the foundation that you have received at Rosarian Academy. Have the courage to follow your heart and dreams and become you!”
Rosarian Academy’s Class of 2020 will matriculate to the following high schools:
Agape Christian School, Bahamas
Juan Lucas Gonzalez-Cabanellas
Ashley Hall, Charleston, SC
The Benjamin School
Cardinal Newman High School
Dreyfoos School of the Arts
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Washington, D.C.
The Madeira School, McLean, VA
Eaton Dunn Flom
Mattingly “Lulu” Lang
Saint Andrew’s School
St. George’s School, Middletown, RI
St. Mary’s School, Raleigh, NC
Suncoast High School
Jeffrey “Brewer” Rehm
Rosarian Academy, founded in 1925, educates students from early childhood through eighth grade and offers an exceptionally strong academic program enriched by athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities. STEM, coding, art, drama, music theory, and Spanish classes begin in kindergarten. The independent, Catholic school is located on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach and is sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Bus service is available throughout Palm Beach County. For more information, visit www.rosarian.org or call 561.345.3106.