The 34th York Prep Commencement Exercises celebrated the accomplishments of the senior class with moments of joy, inspiration, lightness, and gravity during an elegant ceremony on May 25, 2004.
The 59 graduating students quietly entered the packed Weil Sanctuary of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue while the Diaspora Chamber Players performed classical accompaniment. After an energizing senior slide show timed to Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young,” Salutatorian Louise Enten welcomed the audience with a speech about the power of change. Master of Ceremonies Donn Ogilvie cracked a few jokes and introduced Principal Chris Durnford and Mr. Neal Neuhaus, who recognized the senior members of the National Honor Society. Dr. Robert Reese and Upper School Dean Robin Stark followed with departmental and special awards. Headmaster Ronald Stewart offered a touching and encouraging farewell and, with the assistance of Mrs. Jayme Stewart and Mr. Durnford, presented diplomas to the Class of 2004.
The school was privileged to have the Honorable Rudolph Giuliani as keynote speaker. In his eloquent address full of humor and moving anecdotes, the former mayor talked about the qualities of an effective leader. He encouraged the graduates to have a set of beliefs, to be optimistic, and to develop a moral compass to guide them into the future. Valedictorian Hajin Lee followed this “tough act” with a touching and heartfelt speech about her intellectual growth at York.
At the end of the program, graduates, guests and faculty rejoiced at the York Prep Gymnasium with hors d’oeuvres, hugs, and photos.