Montclair Kimberley Academy graduated 110 seniors during its Commencement Ceremony Sunday afternoon, June 9, at the First Congregational Church in Montclair.

Faculty and trustees led the procession of the Class of 2019 graduates, and Dr. David Flocco, the head the MKA Upper School, delivered the welcome address, noting that the beautiful day was a wonderful reflection of the seniors’ impact on the school.

“Yours will be a lasting legacy of kindness, support, compassion, achievement, friendship and a ‘chill-like’ quality for all classes to emulate.” Flocco said. “The people, the random moments, and the gifts that each of you share have not only helped to create this sense of belonging you share, but have made us a better school in the process. As you spend your remaining moments together as a class, think about all those people who have helped make you who you are: your friends, your classmates, your teachers and, of course, your parents who made it all possible. Best of luck, Class of 2019, for we all know that no one deserves it more.”

Senior Casey Rae Borella shared her personal journey of finding a place and a family at MKA. She noted the ways in which the Class of 2019 supported and celebrated one another through the years, saying: “While we learned so many valuable lessons at MKA, we learned how to come together. How to celebrate each other. How to be a community. We will go forth in this world and do great things, but more importantly, we will be great people. We will be outstanding members of a community.”

In addition, Chyna Brodie used her name and her experience to illustrate her exhortation to the class: “I’ve always been Chyna with a Y, Brodie with an IE, and everything that comes with it. I own my extra and the way in which I walk into a room. And I implore everyone to try living in this way. Own your extra, your nerdiness, your love of technology, love of dancing, love of history, and anything that makes you uniquely you.”

Headmaster Thomas W. Nammack was joined by Kathleen M. Logan, president of the Board of Trustees, in awarding the diplomas, together with faculty members and trustees, who as parents of seniors, participated in the tradition of awarding their own children their diplomas.

As the last speaker to address the Class of 2019, Nammack reminded the gathering that the introduction to the school’s mission statement says, “MKA’s diverse, collaborative, and inclusive community inspires students to lead lives of noble character, purpose, and distinction. Evidence of our mission is found in the knowledge, vision, and integrity of our students and our alumni.”

With the conclusion of the ceremony, the seniors became the school’s newest class of alumni, and Nammack assured them, “We will always take an interest in what you are doing and the ways in which your lives continue to unfold. That is a guarantee.”

Student body president Julia Thompson and senior class vice president Harrison Johnson officially concluded the ceremony by ringing the Montclair Academy bell, which dates back almost a century.

Members of MKA’s Class of 2019 from Montclair are:

Defne Akyurek, Mark Apinis, Hugh Bator, Mia Bohi-Green, Lily Breslawsky, Peter Brown, Erin Buckley, Alan Di Geronimo, Aaron Goidel, Michael Golub, Grant Gonsalves, William Goodall, Simone Gulliver, William Hitchcock, Anne Johnson, Grace Jones, Connor LeFevre, Thomas LeFevre, Claire Linaugh, Julia Lipson, James Lukenda, Edward Martin, Cole Privitere, Andrew Rosamilia, Andrew Roselund, Tristan Saidi, Navya Salwan, Anna Schaller, Claire Sharbaugh, Maxwell South, Alexander Stetkevych, Casey Szilagyi, Julia Thompson, Aidan Williams, Joseph Wilson, and Kirsten Zeug.


Twenty-two members of MKA’s Class of 2019 were inducted into the school’s Cum Laude Society at a formal ceremony held a day prior to commencement, Saturday, June 8, at the Upper School.

The Cum Laude Society, established in 1906, is modeled on the Phi Beta Kappa Collegiate National Honor Society and recognizes the scholastic achievement of secondary school students. It is the highest academic honor bestowed on members of the graduating class.

The keynote speaker of the evening’s ceremony was Alexis Tucker, a Cum Laude graduate from MKA’s Class of 2004.

Headmaster Thomas Nammack spoke to the students and acknowledged their extraordinary accomplishment.

“MKA inducts students to Cum Laude on the basis of exceptional contributions to the intellectual life of the school,” he said. “Your capacities for engagement, inquiry, effort, reflection and judgment are why you are here. You have helped to make things go, and you have created academic and intellectual benefits for the faculty and for the students around you.”

The 2019 Cum Laude Society inductees include (Montclair residents in bold):

Mark Apinis, Valerie Bejjani, Ronak Bhatia, Casey Rae Borella, Daniel Cipolla, William Goodall, Simone Gulliver, Dylan Hall, Luke Hunter, Anne Johnson, Ruhee Juvekar, Taylor LeFevre, James Lukenda, Madison Marano, Eleanore Maxwell, Kyra Rude, Tristan Saidi, Navya Salwan, Casey Szilagyi, Julia Thompson, Aidan Williams, and Nyla Williams.

—courtesy Montclair Kimberley Academy