On Saturday, June 3, 2023, sixteen student-athletes graduated from Carrabassett Valley Academy in a Commencement Ceremony held in the Richard Bell Chapel at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.
"Together, you have traveled the world, endured a global pandemic, survived van rides in questionable weather, taken on physical testing, studied for exams, supported one another through disappointments, celebrated each other’s successes, and begun your plans for the next step in your journey," CVA Head of School, Kate Webber Punderson '89, told the Seniors. "You have shown courage, tenacity, fortitude, kindness, and gratitude."
This year's Commencement speaker was Doug Lewis, World Cup and Olympic athlete, Hall of Fame inductee, global ski racing commentator, and owner and head coach of ELITEAM athlete development camps. Class Valedictorian, Dahlia Saifee (in photo), and Salutatorian, Summer Saifee, addressed the class, along with Senior Class Choice speaker, Ruby Poland, and Faculty Choice speaker, Althea Noyes. Dory Michaud performed her original song, “The People Made Me Go,” and Kiernan Mann presented the dedication of the Class of 2023 Yearbook to CVA French Teacher, Beth Hamblet.
During Commencement, five awards were presented to student-athletes that best exemplify the criteria for each award. Award recipients were:
- Dahlia Saifee '23 received the John Ritzo Headmaster's Award. This award is presented to the Senior who has best-exhibited leadership qualities and has made the most contribution to the betterment of the school and the local community.
- François Meloni '23 received the David Holmes Most Improved Student Award. This award was established by former math/science teacher, David Holmes, to honor the student who has shown the most growth over the course of his or her time at CVA.
- Sasha Jansujwicz '23 received the Benjamin Weisbein Award. This award was established in memory of former CVA student Ben Weisbein, and is presented to the Senior who best exemplifies the qualities that Ben possessed - superb athleticism, a tireless work ethic, high academic standing, and the admiration of his peers.
- Charlie Koenig '24 received the CVA Alumni Association Award. This award, established in 1993 by the CVA Alumni Association, is a scholarship funded each year by members of the CVA Alumni Association. The award is designated to a rising Senior who exhibits a strong and steady character, reliability, a consistently positive attitude, and respect for others.
- Amy Latendresse '24 received the J. Keith Penninger Memorial Fund Award. This is a tuition award that was established in 1998 in memory of J. Keith Penninger, Class of ’96, and is presented to the Junior who best represents CVA in terms of leadership and commitment to the CVA mission and community.
CVA Board of Trustees Chair, Lindy MacKinnon Gruen '92, presented the H. King Cummings Service Award to the Town of Carrabassett Valley. This award was established in 1989 and is given annually to an individual or individuals within the CVA community who have performed valuable service beyond normal expectations and have made an outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Carrabassett Valley Academy.
Bob Luce, Chair of the Carrabassett Valley Select Board, accepted the award on behalf of the town.
"The town of Carrabassett Valley has certainly made, and continues to make, outstanding contributions to the growth and development of Carrabassett Valley Academy," remarked Gruen. "The town is a significant part of every CVA student’s experience. The character and support of Carrabassett Valley play a critical role in making sure that CVA delivers on its mission for the student-athletes of today and tomorrow. It’s a perfect partnership, in the perfect setting."
After the ceremony, students, families, and friends gathered together to celebrate the graduates. It was a beautiful and memorable day. Congratulations to the CVA Class of 2023!