Congratulations to Gaynor’s Class of 2022

Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

The Class of 2022 enjoyed a two-day celebration of their time at Gaynor beginning with a Graduate/New Alumni Breakfast on Thursday, June 16, followed with a formal graduation ceremony on Friday, June 17, at the W83 Ministry Center on the Upper West Side. 

One theme in particular was clear throughout each of the speeches on graduation day — that of advocating for yourself and fighting for what you believe in. 

Board of Trustees President Megan Hogan, mother to Jackson in the Yellow Cluster, welcomed the graduates, family, friends, and faculty members to the ceremony. She said, “With all its warmth, support and caring faculty and staff, Gaynor has been a second home to not just Jackson but to us as his parents. In thinking about all the impact you’ve made during your time at Gaynor, I gained a great deal of comfort about Jackson and what it will feel like for my family four years from now.”

Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor introduced student speakers Gabriel Soriano and Joseph Haller, both of whom had inspiring words for their fellow students and the audience.

Traci Lester, parent of graduating student Hailey, encouraged her fellow parents and the graduates to continue to advocate for themselves and for causes they believe in. To the parents in particular, she said, “As we prepare to leave this school, my message to all the parents listening is that…you are the parent that advocates for your child every day and in every way. You, as their parent, are their first teacher. You reinforce their self-esteem. You bolster them to go forward, to move on, to tackle the next challenge and to embrace the next opportunity. You are that parent. And you’ve done it because they are graduating today.”

Alumni speaker Zoë Vorisek graduated from Gaynor in the Class of 2011, attended Dwight School, and is now attending Harvard College. She was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician the summer before her freshman year at college, and took two years off school to work full time as an EMT in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her remarks to the graduates, Vorisek talked about the importance of never giving up, and of finding resilience in the face of adversity. She told the graduates, “There are many tools my Gaynor education gave me, but the two most important tools to me are self-advocacy and resilience.”

She continued, “There have been several times throughout my life where I was told I couldn’t do something, which encouraged me to write a children’s book for kids who have learning disabilities in high school. The Early Childhood Program students at Gaynor helped illustrate the book and the basic message was that with hard work you can do anything you set your mind to. I know personally how Gaynor’s personalized learning approach has given us the tools we need to be successful outside of this nurturing environment.”

As he invited the graduates to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, Dr. Gaynor recalled the recent march against gun violence in which Gaynor students and faculty participated. Prior to the march, they met in front of the William Jay Gaynor memorial in Cadman Park, Brooklyn. While William Jay Gaynor had no connection with Stephen Gaynor the person or the school, his dedication to causes he believed in exemplified the characteristics of many Gaynor students.

William Jay Gaynor was a Brooklyn attorney, New York Supreme Court Justice, and was elected to one term as NY Mayor in 1909. According to Dr. Gaynor, William Jay was an independent thinker who was willing to fight the corruption that plagued Tammany Hall at the time.

Dr. Gaynor said, “While William Jay Gaynor has no relation to our school, his unapologetic approach to fighting for what he believed in relates directly to what you have achieved and we hope you aspire to after you graduate from Stephen Gaynor School.” 

Dr. Gaynor called particular attention to the graduates’ self advocacy work, their strong bonds as peers and friends, their dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, and their commitment to taking action for the things they care about, whether that be, “advocating for animals, the environment, or fighting to make our communities safe.”

The ceremony was live streamed for those who were unable to attend in person. A recording of the ceremony is available here.

2022 Award Winners

President’s Education Award

  • Cassie Ball

 

Comptroller Community Service Award

  • Savannah Randle
  • Graham Lindsay

 

Attorney General Letitia James Triple C Award

  • Thailandi Tanis
  • Meg Rauenhorst

 

Gale Brewer City Council Award for Math and Science

  • Grant Bennett

 

Gordon Gaynor Award

  • Scarlett Neubauer

 

Class Representatives

  • Cassie Ball
  • Iris Johnson
  • Meg Rauenhorst
  • Thailandi Tanis
  • Madeline York

 

 

The Class of 2022 will be matriculating at the following schools this fall:

  • Bay Ridge Prep
  • The Beacon School
  • Brewster Academy
  • Cheshire Academy
  • Churchill
  • Community School
  • Dublin School
  • Dwight School
  • Ethical Culture Fieldston School
  • The Leffell School
  • Grace Church School
  • Little Red Elisabeth Irwin (LREI)
  • Mary McDowell Friends School
  • More House School
  • The Pennington School
  • Poly Prep Country Day School
  • Proctor Academy
  • SAR Academy
  • Trinity-Pawling School
  • Yeshiva Prep High School
  • York Preparatory School