For members of the Class of 2017, today’s Commencement ceremonies mark the end of their Belmont Hill careers. Although they will be alumni of rather than students at the School, their myriad list of accomplishments will continue to impact future waves of Belmont Hill students. “Whether it be in the classroom, in athletics, on stage, in the robotics lab, or in all the other endeavors we have taken on,” Ray Hunt, class president of the Class of 2017 for six consecutive years, commented, “we have surpassed expectations and set new standards.”
In the realm of academics, the Class of 2017 has been noted for its success in Advanced Science Research. Andrew Kaneb ‘17, who did research on whole exome and genome sequencing of central neurocytoma, and Jack Daley ‘17, who examined maturation of the endoplasmic reticulum translocon complex in stem cell derived beta cells, were both recognized as two of only eight semifinalists from Massachusetts in the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search.
In athletics, varsity football captains Ray Hunt ‘17, Pete Tamasi ‘17, Zach Geddes ‘17, and Nate Miller ‘17 led the team to a co-ISL championship and a decisive victory over Wilbraham and Monson to win the New England championship. Cross country similarly captured an ISL title, while seniors on varsity wrestling, varsity squash, varsity lacrosse, and varsity track continued BH’s tradition of excellence, as the lacrosse program captured its third straight ISL title (and fourth in five years), while varsity track cruised to a fourth straight NEPSTA win.
In music, members of the Class of 2017 participated in a wide breadth of student groups. Musicians like Armin Thomas ‘17, Andrew Kaneb ‘17, Scott Jackson ‘17, JP Champa ‘17, Marshall Knight ‘17, Mack Perry ‘17, as well as multi-talented vocalists like Sebastian Themelis ‘17, Seamus Clair ‘17, Jacob Whitney ‘17, and Bennett Rush ‘17 have blessed Belmont Hill with the joys of song and lyric. For the past couple years, ‘17 boys have been the driving force behind musical events like Coffee House, the Winter Concert, and Spring Concert, as well as groups like the B-Flats and Jazz Combo. When asked to comment about the Class of 2017’s impact on music at Belmont Hill, Armin Thomas responded, “In performances of every vein, from traditional concerts to stand-up Coffee Houses, the Class of 2017 will have left behind an indelible legacy. Their departure will signal the end of a musically prosperous era and hopefully the dawning of a new one.”
In art, seniors like Will Ryan ‘17 helped Belmont Hill get recognized as Program of the Year by the New England Association of Woodworking Teachers. Owen Greenwood ‘17 excelled in ceramics and also helped to teach wheelworking to adults in the Belmont community with special needs.
In theater, seniors such as Peter Knowlton ‘17, Varun Shah ‘17, and Ben London ‘17 assisted in elevating the quality of Belmont Hill’s school productions, showcasing their talents as actors, vocalists, stage managers, and even directors. Knowlton and Shah guided the production of “Of Mice and Men” this past February.
In extracurriculars, boys from the Class of 2017 reinvigorated several key clubs on campus. Brian Tanabe ‘17, Henry Moukheiber ‘17, and William Hintlian ‘17 led a revival of Belmont Hill’s robotics program, utilizing the new iLab to substantially increase participation in both the middle and upper school. Tanabe would also extend the impact of Belmont Hill robotics to the Butler Elementary School in Belmont, where he led a group of boys each week to teach third graders robotics and coding. Alex Czarnecki ‘17, Dan Zakon ‘17, Jason Fischman ‘17, Bradley Hart ‘17, and Hunter Present ‘17 helped resuscitate the School’s debate team. Present became the first Belmont Hill boy to earn a spot on the US debate team in a quarter-century, and he travelled to Sydney, Australia in April for the 2017 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships. Gus Lamb ‘17 inspired students with his duo of poignant speeches, one about an infamous friend named Jack and the other about sea turtles, to win the 2016 Fall Woodbury Public Speaking Contest. Bennett Rush ‘17 created Boys of Faith, a discussion group open to students of all religions and beliefs that sought to increase Belmont Hill’s awareness of spirituality. Sam Hesler ‘17 continued Belmont Hill’s longstanding tradition of visiting and interacting with senior citizens at the Meadowgreen Nursing Home, while William Stonestreet ‘17 spearheaded BH’s Work Crew program.. Tomás Paris ‘17 and Armin Thomas ‘17 struck the school community with both fear and awe as they grew the Government Code and Cipher School. Finally, Michael Armstrong ‘17, Jack Daley ‘17, and Andrew Kaneb ‘17, leaders of Belmont Hill’s Sustainability Club, completed a successful effort to install solar panels on the roof of the science building.
Outside the confines of Belmont Hill’s campus, members from the Class of 2017 pioneered the School’s global education efforts, as seven students spent at least part of their fifth form year studying away from Belmont. Gus Lamb’ 17 spent a semester at CITY Term in New York City, while Lebanos Mengistu ‘17 spent a semester at SEGL in Washington DC. Five students spent an entire year abroad with SYA: Seamus Clair ‘17, Mohammed Osman ‘17, and Owen Greenwood ‘17 in China, James Cardichon ‘17 in Spain, and Sebastian Themelis ‘17 in Italy.
“All in all, I feel confident speaking on behalf of the class to say that we will miss Belmont Hill greatly, and while the future holds exciting prospects, there is truly no place quite like this school,” Hunt concluded. Addressing his final words to younger students and encouraging them to fully engage in aspects of school life as well as members of the Class of 2017 did, Ray continued, “Enjoy your time here; you can’t get it back.”