June 3rd marks the end of the Class of 2019’s time at Belmont Hill. Their commencement is bittersweet; while teachers, peers, and friends celebrate their accomplishments and their transition to the world beyond, their joyous presence here will be missed and their academic, athletic, and arts contributions will leave an enduring legacy. “The class invigorated Belmont Hill with their camaraderie and spirit; the class has always been tight-knit and it continues to be so,” remarked President Shane Rockett.
In a successful athletic year, the senior class led Belmont Hill sports teams to championships across the board. Varsity football, under senior captains Shane Rockett, Jaylen Bailey, and Justin O’Neil-Riley, defeated Suffield Academy in the Dave Coratti Bowl, capping off their season with an ISL title and a New England championship. “Winning league championships has become the standard at Belmont Hill, so I think we did our job,” observed captain Rockett. During the winter season, wrestling likewise achieved historic victories, with captains Luca Pontone, Colin Vallis, and Matt Smith leading the team to an ISL and New England victory. Pontone, who placed third at the National Championship Tournament for his second consecutive year, and Vallis were hallmarks of the program; the team will miss their leadership and talent. James Eysenbach and Nick Daley led the Varsity Cross Country Skiing team to their first-ever Lakes Region Championship. In the spring, senior captains Matt Goguen, Matt Smith, Isaiah Gomes, and Gabe Peterkin ran the varsity track team, which captured yet another ISL title and New England Championships. On the baseball diamond, Evan Sleight, Jake McOsker, and Jaylen Bailey led the team to an ISL championship with a victory over BB&N. The sailing team, helmed by seniors Peter Wade, Michael Wade, Ned Whelan, and Ben Awtrey, attained victory at the Massachusetts State High School Championship. Jackson Stone, John High, and Teddy Danziger captained the crew team, which earlier this season broke the all-time school record for the fastest crew on the ergometers, and won the New England Championship over prominent rivals such as Deerfield and Nobles. “From months before the season even started, our goal was to win the team trophy at NEIRAs,” reflected captain Stone. “The competition in our league has really grown over the past few years, so this was quite a lofty goal, but we knew that it would be possible if everyone on the team pulled through like we knew we could. And pull through we did. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone on the team. Whether they raced at NEIRAs or not, every person on the team got us to where we are now.” Stone, High, Danziger, and Robert Paré, eagerly anticipate competing in the 1v4 event at Youth Nationals in the coming weeks.
Academically, the school says goodbye to Nick Daley, who reached the Semi-finalist stage of the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search. Reflecting on his two years of work on DNA folding and expression, Daley remarked, “ASR was an amazing opportunity – it was really special to participate in real laboratory research, take a deep dive into a topic, and constantly learn new things. I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Courtney and the school for the program; it’s not something that many high schoolers get the chance to do.” The class was also distinguished by its high levels of achievement in mathematics, characterized especially by Matthew Smith. Two grades ahead of his peers in math, in 2017 Smith was awarded the Mathematical Association of America Award, given to the highest individual scorer on MAA contests; Smith also received the Rensselaer Medal Award from Belmont Hill in 2018 for his outstanding work in mathematics.
In the physical arts, the class of 2019 made its mark with talented woodworkers such as Liam Durbin, Colin Vallis, and Jake McOsker. “My experience in the woodshop has been a fundamental portion of my Belmont Hill career,” stated Durbin, a celebrated artist. “Having a place to go on campus where I can immerse myself in hands-on, rewarding work was and continues to be an integral relief from the work and pressures of a traditional classroom setting.” In the performing arts, musicians such as Andrew Herrera, Kerby Louis-Roberson, and Antoine DeRosa have left their mark. Herrera, who played the saxophone and led the jazz ensemble, fondly looked back on his time as a musician at Belmont Hill: “The music program provided 45 minutes of relief and relaxation each day for me. Coming back from a test or a very intense class, I would head towards the music building knowing I am going to enjoy playing music with a group of guys who look forward to the same thing. It has been a wonderful experience, playing and being able to watch all the families enjoy the music their sons are playing.” Louis-Roberson, a talented violinist, has played in ensembles such as the local Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Rennes Orchestra Symphonic in his year abroad in France. He also worked with STEP, a program that helps to introduce people of color to the classical music industry. DeRosa’s artistry extends from creative writing to Woodbury speeches, to top-notch singing performances at Coffee House and the Senior Talent Show. The artists of the Class of 2019 were invaluable to Belmont Hill and have left a remarkable legacy behind them.
The Class of 2019 greatly impacted the Belmont Hill community in extracurriculars with their sound and passionate leadership. The Sustainability Club, led by Colin Braun and Josh Fairman, reached new heights this year. “I learned a lot not only about how much potential this school has in becoming a more sustainable campus, but also about the intricacies of pushing initiatives through the layers of administration at the school. With the help of Mr. McAlpin, my co-heads, and the regulars in the club, we were able to incorporate composting into our waste management on campus as well as create a pilot program for electric maintenance equipment,” Braun stated, discussing the club’s efforts to support composting. In terms of his workload with the club, he added that “It’s easy to become overwhelmed with how much work there is to be done in order to make campus as sustainable as possible, and because of this I think a part of me will always wish I could have done more during my time here, but I have faith that the future leaders of Sustainability on campus will continue the progress we have begun to make.” SAFE, led by Julian Wambach and Justin O’Neil Riley, led a successful Diversity Day and attended SDLC, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Finally, Model United Nations ended a successful year, with several award-winning delegates in the program. Matt Smith, Rishi Banerjee, John Gaudian, and Matt Goguen led the club and helped secure its strength and performance for the future.
The class also contained a significant number of global travelers. During their junior years, Kerby Louis-Roberson and Alex Manioudakis spent a year abroad in France, Brian Gleason and Ned Whelan spent a semester in China, and James Eysenbach spent a semester at the Alzar Mountain School in Idaho. In their sophomore years, Colin Braun spent a semester at the Island School in the Bahamas and Ben Awtrey spent a semester at The School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, DC. These travelers represent the outward-looking spirit of the Class of 2019, and their global interest bodes well for their futures beyond the Hill.
Athletically, academically, artistically, and beyond, the Class of 2019 has stamped a lasting legacy upon Belmont Hill. The brief summary of accomplishments listed here could never seize the full scope of this their impact. The class made the 2018-2019 school term a hallmark year of league championships, contest victories, improvements in sustainability, music performances, and an incredible cap on their careers at the school.