Prize Day 2021

Courtesy+of+Mei+Matsui+%2723

Courtesy of Mei Matsui ’23

When asked about her thoughts on her upcoming graduation, Beatrice Agbi ’21, the student speaker elected by her form for this year’s Prize Day, responded: “There’s something magical about wearing white.” This seems to be a shared feeling among not only those who await their graduation this year but also among those who have graduated in years past. The white dresses, the suits and ties, the boater hats – the day does seem to convey something “magical.”

This year’s Prize Day celebration will be held on Sunday, June 6, with ceremonies commencing at 10 a.m.. In accordance with proper health precautions, only six guests per graduate will be allowed on campus. All other students will depart from campus on June 2, including siblings of seniors who will return for the ceremony. Faculty will be allowed to remain on campus to celebrate the Sixth Formers. To maintain proper social distancing, three tents will be constructed – one with seniors and faculty and two with families.

“I’m so excited that the form of 2021 has the opportunity to be here, to be honored … and to be in the chapel as a form, to walk together into the tent, and to have family members close by,” said Assistant Head of School Megan Harlan. Director of Groton Health Services Maureen O’Neil-Britt added that she has been very happy with how the school has followed safety protocols, resulting in very few cases and allowing for the in-person celebration of seniors. 

Aroon Sankoh ’21 said that he has mixed feelings about graduating; he said that he’s “very excited to leave” but is sad that he “won’t be able to come back in the same way as a student.” In reflecting upon how his form dealt with the challenges of the pandemic, he said, “We accepted the circumstances and that nothing could’ve been done, and we were just happy to be able to be on campus.”

Four speakers will offer remarks throughout the day: Headmaster Temba Maqubela, President of the Board of Trustees Benjamin Pyne, student speaker Beatrice Agbi ’21, and guest speaker Richard Stengel. Stengel, an American author and editor, served as Time magazine’s managing editor from 2006 to 2013, was the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs during the Obama administration, and collaborated with Nelson Mandela on his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom

While necessary precautions must be taken, this Prize Day should in most ways resemble that of a normal year. Sixth Formers will come up to the podium to receive diplomas and awards. All students, alumni, or other interested parties are encouraged to watch a livestream of the ceremony on Groton’s website.

Congratulations to the form of 2021 on persevering through a challenging year!