Commencement 2018

by: Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
On Sunday, May 20, 2018, Shorecrest Preparatory School held its Commencement Ceremony for the 73-member Class of 2018. Among the graduating class were twins Samantha and Allison Epstein and twins Karli and Maverick McDonough. Together with Will McLoughlin, Jack Ledford and Breck Tanner these legacy students, with a family member who attended Shorecrest in the past, share a very special bond with the school. The connections for this class are strengthened with more members having relatives who have served on the Board of Trustees or who are faculty members. With nearly half the class honored as "Lifers," having been at Shorecrest for 12 years or more, it only makes sense that they would be as close as they are.

Ten students were recognized by the National Merit Program and two were Presidential Scholars semifinalists. Three Chargers will be pursuing athletics in college. Collectively the Class of 2018 completed over 14,150 service hours over their four years of high school, including Juliette Shelton helping to found the Youth Partners with Haiti program.

A packed Janet Root Theatre watched as Trustees, teachers and the Class of 2018 processed to their places on stage. The ceremony began with Salutatorian Kyle Mullins welcoming guests and using giant visual aids to illustrate how much the parents of his classmates had done for the grade.

"I know I will look back on my Shorecrest years with the knowledge that they shaped me into a lifelong learner, that they inspired in me a drive to be the best that I can be, and that they have nurtured in me a gratitude I am unable to fully express."

The Valedictory Address was given by Charity Chen, who had a unique persepective as a student who had been homeschooled for her academic life thus far.

“Shorecrest has helped me to open my mind. Never before had I been exposed to such a variety of perspectives, from my books, Willis Leadership Lecturers, my teachers, and my peers. This dynamic way of learning and viewing the world through different lenses has taught me to question my own preconceptions and be more tolerant of others’ opinions.”

Charity Chen - Valedictorian

It is a tradition at the Shorecrest Commencement to name an Outstanding Senior. This member of the graduating class returns in ten years to speak at the Commencement of the group that is currently in second grade. Tom Dillow, Head of Upper School, named Hunter Holland the Outstanding Senior of the Class of 2018. He came back to campus this week to have a photo taken with the second graders, the future class of 2028.

Hunter Holland - Outstanding Senior

Blake Frieman, the Outstanding Senior of the Shorecrest Class of 2008, then gave the Commencement Address. He suggested the class look back on the Shorecrest Lower School motto as a great guide for life.

"At Shorecrest Preparatory School, we respect ourselves, each other and the environment. When you respect something you look around, soak things in, and think about it."

The Upper School Vocal Ensemble then performed an a cappella rendition of "Roots Before Branches."

Headmaster Mike Murphy officially introduced the Class of 2018 along with many of their accomplishments and accolades over the years.

Mr. Murphy awarded diplomas along with Chair of the Board of Trustees, Elizabeth Samuelson, while Chas Reynolds '81, representing the Alumni Association, presented Alumni pins to each graduate.


The final member of the class to receive a diploma was Samuel Benjamin, who then donned the golden mortarboard.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from the President of Student Council, Juliette Shelton.

"I have come to love so many things about every one of you, and that is what has made my time here at Shorecrest most meaningful and special. So, I thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this family, one that I will never forget and will never be able to replace."

Juliette has traveled extensively - both for service and to extend her education - and she shared this global view with her classmates: 

"I realized the great battles that envelop us all publicly, they're really all the same battle. Throughout time really. It's about embracing the outlier; it’s about bringing in those who are just visiting but who want to be a part. Let us bring in these people with their noses pressed against our window, these people who aren’t like us. Let's find the shared humanity, because it is shared. As we leave Shorecrest to continue our lives at different colleges and universities, let’s not forget the values of kind heartedness, goodwill and inclusion that we have all endowed for the past eighteen
years. Let us seek new opportunities with different people and never refrain from accepting different perspectives, world views and opinions."

Cap toss

Good luck to our newest alumni, the Class of 2018!
  • Read about Baccalaureate here.
  • Read more personal stories from the Class of 2018 and find links to all of the PHOTOS from the weekend here: Meet the Class of 2018.
  • Professional photos from Commencement are now available online for viewing and ordering. The order deadline is June 20th. Please share this link with any friends or relatives who may be interested in seeing the pictures:  Use the password: Shorecrest 2018


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St Petersburg, FL 33703
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.