Skip To Main Content
174th Tilton School Commencement
Sarah O'Neill

Friday, May 24th began the transition of the class of 2019 from high school seniors to graduates. Along with this comes many long standing traditions at Tilton School. Read on for a wrap up of graduation weekend, and follow the fun in photos below.

Moving Up

On Friday afternoon, after returning home from the senior trip with Adventure Bound rafting in Maine, the Class of 2019 joined students and faculty in the chapel for the annual Moving Up Ceremony. This is where current student leadership roles held by 2019 class members are passed on to their successors. This also meant Chenyu “Queena” Yuan ‘19, 2018-2019 Student Body President led her last meeting in the chapel and passed the responsibility on to 2019-2020 Vice President Maddy Kirker ‘20, who will be moving upward into the role of Student Body President next year. Seniors were then dismissed while the Class of 2020 physically “moved up” to the front to take their place as seniors in the chapel. This official move was solidified by the singing of the Tilton School Alma Mater.

The following leadership roles were also announced:

Head Admissions Ambassadors

James Cates ‘20 and Maddy Kirker ‘20

Senior Class President

Robert Hess ‘20

Vice President

Justin Greenberg ‘20

Junior Class President

Mackenzie Saunders ‘21

Vice President

Yiyun “Leo” Yao ‘21

Sophomore Class President

Tobias Patterson ‘22

Vice President

Cayce Taylor ‘22

Seniors formed a receiving line outside the chapel, so all students and faculty could give their well wishes on the class’ official last day of school. The line was full of emotion with happy and sad tears, many hugs, plenty of smiles and well-wishes.


Senior Dinner

Friday night, seniors and their guests were treated to a dinner under the tent on the quad. Peter Saliba P’17, '19, Head of School, spoke to open the dinner and after the meal, opened the floor to students who would like to speak. Voted on by the class of 2019, the invocation was given by faculty member Liam McMahon. A viewing of the senior slideshow created by Anika Tullos ‘19 was followed by Mr. Saliba sharing his reflection of the class of 2019 and what they mean to Tilton School. He also reflected on his role as Head of School as well as that of father to two graduating seniors. Melanie Marken ‘83 welcomed the Class of 2019 into the Alumni Association before everyone was excused to walk over to the chapel.


Baccalaureate is a tradition that began at Oxford University in 1432. Historically, it was a celebration that honors a graduating senior class, where students were required to deliver a sermon in latin. Tilton School celebrates our graduating senior class each year by listening to students reflect on their time here, as well as musical performances.

This year, we heard from the following senior speakers and performers:

Peter R. Saliba

Sarah Schartner

Nikolai Bofinger

Marta Arcate-Bradin

Jake Nardone

Kaitlin Bardellini

Sergei Estany Sanchez

Surasak “Khet” Bandask

Alexis Thomas

Jessica Beaucher

Ziqi “Jacky” Li

Casey Cormier

Imanni Wright

Chujie "Emily" Zhang
Ashlyn Brown
Musical Performance by: Meiwen “Mable” Shao, Yingxuan “Yvette” Gao, Xingyao

“Lucy” Lu and Yutong “Icy” Li

Musical Performance by: Anika Tullos
Muiscal Performance by: Blaine Manning and Chenyu "Queena" Yuan

174th Tilton School Commencement

Peter Saliba P’17, P’19 Head of School, made the ceremonies opening remarks:

“To the Class of 2019, you need to know that I am proud of each of you. We have had a tremendous year in every respect. Our success, the success of this school, has rested squarely on your shoulders. You have inspired all of us and played key roles on our teams, in our plays, in our arts studio and of course, right on this quad. Your spirit has made us better and I’m thankful for that. You have been an integral part to our work on our academic program. We will continue to focus on our essential skills and personalization, finding unique opportunities for each student to demonstrate their learning in meaningful and quantifiable ways. This work will be significant for our Mastery Approach to education which will be shared and strengthened by those that follow you.”

- Peter Saliba P’17, ‘19, Tilton Head of School

Chenyu “Queena” Yuan 2018-2019, President of the Student Assembly, reflected on her time at Tilton School as an international student from China, and how it has shaped her.

“Last year, my junior year, a good friend from American Lit class, Chop, started to call me ‘Chenyu’... A lot of you know me as Queena but my Chinese name is Chenyu...We will be entering the real world soon, while determining who you want to become next year or the following years, stay true to yourself. If you are not sure who you are becoming, don’t be afraid. You are not the only one, I still don’t know how am I gonna introduce myself next year in college, whether Chenyu or Queena, but I think that’s not something I am not worried about. It is more important to keep exploring and taking charge of my own identity, which means I am going to keep finding who I am and what my real passions are.”

- Chenyu "Queena" Yuan '19, Tilton School Student Body President 

This year’s faculty speaker, voted on by the Class of 2019, was Social Science Department Head, Teacher, and Boys’ Varsity A Hockey Assistant Coach Sean Doherty. Mr. Doherty started at Tilton in 2008 as history intern, and this year marks his last attending Tilton School graduation, as he will be leaving Tilton this summer. 

“This school challenges its students in a myriad of ways, but most importantly we ask our students to try new things, take chances and embrace challenges head on...The example I wanted to set was simple; don’t talk about it, be about. In my life I have always admired and respected people for whom their words and their actions align. When creed and deed are one in the same it equals integrity, sincerity and conviction. This is much easier said than done, and there will be times in our lives when this is exceptionally hard; when the easy out is appealing and the circumstances challenging. It is in these moments of challenge that not only build character, but reveal it."
- Sean Doherty, Social Science Department Head, Teacher, Boys’ Varsity A Hockey Assistant Coach Sean Doherty.

Sarah Schartner ‘19, Senior Class President, presented the senior class gift of lawn games for future Tilton students to enjoy on the quad along with a donation to the Tilton Fund.

Diplomas were then presented by Peter Saliba P’17, ‘19, Head of School, Dave McElhinney P’13, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Michael Landroche P’02, Academic Dean.

Caps flew as the graduating class was announced, and our graduates ended their special day with a farewell luncheon, accompanied by hugs, happy tears, celebration, and photos galore.

To our graduating seniors: we couldn’t be more proud of you, and can’t wait to see the amazing things you are surely destined to achieve.  

Many thanks are in order for ensuring a smooth and unforgettable weekend. Our deepest gratitude to: Alumni and Parent Relations Manager Alex Sedgley; Fred Heath and the entire Tilton Maintenance Crew; Brenda Hodgman and the Tilton Housekeeping team; the Tilton Parents’ Association; Tilton Board of Trustees; Charles George Photography; Soundtown Music; Academic Dean Michael Landroche P’02; Dean of Student Life Vinny Giambrocco; Registrar Joy Jones and numerous members of faculty and staff that took part in organizing the weekend.

Watch the Commencement ceremony on Game On Stream.

Learn more about tilton School

inquire now