Skip To Main Content

Tabor’s Class of 2024 Graduates with the Spirit of the Seawolf

Tabor’s Class of 2024 Graduates with the Spirit of the Seawolf

Tabor’s mascot the Seawolf, or killer whale, is an intelligent and social creature. Its characteristics allow the orca to adapt, overcome, and succeed despite the challenges of living in a rapidly changing environment. Just like the Seawolves that swim in the ocean, the Seawolves that crossed the stage at Tabor’s Commencement on May 31, 2024, are resilient and remarkable.

Entering the School by the Sea in 2020, the Class of 2024 began their high school career in the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic. As Covid policies updated and they embraced their “new normal,” the Class of 2024 also underwent transitions in school leadership and facilities on campus, like the Travis Roy Campus Center. No matter what change was thrown their way, though, Seawolves—like their namesake—adapted and prevailed in the face of adversity. They won National Merit Scholarships; placed at International Science and Engineering Fairs; earned department awards, naval honors, and entered the Cum Laude Society; performed for sold out crowds in the Black Box and Hoyt Auditorium; broke records, won championships, signed National Letters of Intent, and made school history in athletics; attended conferences around the globe; and so much more. As the 145 Tabor graduates gathered to confer diplomas under the tent at Commencement, it was a bittersweet culmination of their immense talents and efforts.

“Remember the values you have learned at Tabor,” advised Head of School Tony Jaccaci in his remarks to the Class of 2024. “We are preparing you for a world of unexpected twists and turns and you have demonstrated that you are people who care, can collaborate, show courage, and lead with curiosity.”

In addition to hearing from Jaccaci, there were also speeches from the Co-Heads of School Julian Badger ’24 and Taylor Darby ’24, Olympic gold medalist Colleen Coyne ’89, and Chair of the Board of Trustees Regina Shakin P’15, ’17, ’19.

Badger discussed the Portrait of a Graduate, and the skills and values strengthened at Tabor. “We have been exposed to people with completely different backgrounds and upbringings. In our grade alone, we have students from 12 different countries and 13 U.S. states … We have been molded to be better students, but more importantly, better people. Thank you, Tabor, for a fantastic four-year sleepover.”

Darby began her reflections with an anecdote about asking for assistance on homework from a friend. Through this experience she learned that vulnerability, and admitting you need help, is not a weakness. She also added, “Being one of the Co-Heads this year has been such a rewarding experience. I have learned that leadership isn’t about having all the answers, but about listening, learning, and growing with those around you.”

Colleen Coyne ’89 recounted her journey as a Seawolf to an Olympic gold medalist and offered reminders and advice on how to overcome obstacles, make mindful mistakes, and achieve authentic success. She emphasized, “I never took the opportunity to attend Tabor for granted. I always felt lucky; the connection I felt, and still feel towards this school, had less to do with hockey, and more with the sense of belonging I felt at Tabor.”

Many of Tabor’s graduates invited family and friends to campus to partake in this momentous event. However, for those who were not able to travel to the School by the Sea, video livestreaming was shared on Tabor’s website. There were supporters cheering the seniors on from around the world. Before the Class of 2024 collected their diplomas at Commencement, the following awards were celebrated:

  • Outstanding Contribution to Athletics: Timothy Bengtson
  • Outstanding Contribution to Athletics: Ana Margarita Quijano
  • Outstanding Contribution to Co-Curriculars: Sarah Adams
  • The Travis Roy Humanitarian Award: Ali Alanaisi
  • The Alumni Award for Excellence in Scholarship: Elizabeth “Lizzie” Simmons
  • The Hamilton Webster Thayer Prize: Natalie Konowicz
  • Cum Laude Society Award: Fiona Hoben
  • Cum Laude Society Award: Ruilin “Richard” Ye
  • The Tabor Academy Purchase Prize: Kentaro “Ken” Suzuki

As the ceremony came to an end, Jaccaci added a few more drops of unique advice to, what he described as, an already overflowing “chalice of wisdom.” Making connections to lessons learned at Tabor, he listed tips on how to survive a zombie apocalypse: sneakers for balance and speed, binoculars for clarity and truth, teammates for support and strength, books for wisdom and inspiration, and a compass for guidance and direction. Jaccaci offered the following suggestions:

  1. Zombies have trouble bending their knees and are slow. Get some good sneakers and continue practices learned at Tabor to keep your mind and body strong.
  2. Zombies have poor eyesight. Get binoculars to help see things with clarity, just like you have done at Tabor to seek your own truth in a world increasingly governed by algorithms and misinformation.
  3. Zombies work alone. Find teammates to work with. Seeking help and support is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength and preparation. You have been on many teams at Tabor that have shown how the collective efforts can outweigh the efforts of one. You have learned that no one person is an island, and the sum is truly greater than the parts.
  4. Zombies are not good readers. So, pack your favorite books that offer genuine thought, engagement, and discussion.
  5. Zombies are usually not the most ethical or moral beings. Make sure to follow your own moral compass and they will struggle to keep up.

“Zombies may not be real,” confessed Jaccaci, “but what is of course is your preparation for the future ahead … that’s why I took a page from the ‘Last of Us’ to let you know you are ready … When I think of you [Class of 2024] I think of hope—hope that your Tabor education will lead you to great success and hope that your success will be in service of others.”

Following Jaccaci’s closing remarks, Seawolves threw their programs up in the air in triumph. The Class of 2024 had processed into the tent as students and recessed out as Tabor’s newest class of alumni. After the ceremony, graduates and their families enjoyed refreshments, shared hugs, and took photographs to commemorate this milestone achievement.  

Darby captured the essence of the day’s emotions—excitement, relief, nerves—in a poignant address to her classmates. Like the Seawolves in the sea, she reminded them, “Even in the face of uncertainty, we can adapt. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t fear uncertainty. But I find comfort in words of wisdom from Matt Reynolds, Class of 1982. He said, ‘Don’t ever worry that you made the wrong decision. Because you didn’t. If you felt comfortable with the decision you made, it was the right decision.’ The future may be uncertain, but life is full of choices, each shaping our life journeys in ways big and small. Let’s embrace the uncertainty, as we have the power to shape our own stories. As we bid farewell, and set sail on our different paths, remember the journey may be uncertain, but the possibilities are endless.”

Class of 2024, we wish you the best of luck as you prepare for the future and pursue your dreams. Once a Seawolf, always a Seawolf. All-A-Taut-O!

All end of year event pictures captured by Tabor’s photographer can be downloaded for free, or purchased as packages and merchandise, by clicking here. Photos from Highpoint Pictures will be sent directly to the Class of 2024 and their families via email. Other Commencement resources, such as the recap video and full recording of the ceremony, can be found on the Class of 2024 celebration page of the website.