A Joy Almost Impossible to Describe: St. Luke’s Commencement 2021 in New Canaan

Saturday, June 5, was a beautiful day at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, as family, friends, faculty, and staff gathered on the Hilltop to celebrate the Class of 2021. St. Luke’s Head of School Mark Davis captured the feeling of the day:

“Today, we celebrate with a joy almost impossible to describe, given the year from which we have begun to emerge; a joy so different from what the St. Luke’s Class of 2020 experienced; an in-person Commencement that reminds us of the joy of being...simply...together.”

Davis shared a personal comment about each of the 88 graduates—a beloved tradition at St. Luke’s School. “At St. Luke’s, where we value the individual you, not just the collective you, each one of you has mattered in distinctive and powerful ways. The faculty and I have loved watching you contribute, prosper, and grow up before our eyes here on the Hilltop. We will remember you and miss you terribly.”

Valedictorian Cate Mathews of Wilton is headed to Northwestern University. A St. Luke’s STEM Scholar, skilled debater, cross country runner, rock climber, and leader of the Women in STEM club, Mathews is an extraordinary student who, as one teacher noted, “is so absolutely special that you earnestly look forward each day to the opportunity to teach her.” “I love the person I’ve become at St. Luke’s, and I want to remember her,” says Mathews. “I can’t wait to look back ten years from now at these memories and remember how lucky I was to want to hold onto this moment, these people, this version of me so much. Thank you, St. Luke’s, for the people we are right now.”

Salutatorian Elyse Kim of Greenwich addressed the class. After a tribute to her twin sister Molly, who heads to West Point Military Academy in the fall, Kim described her classmates: “Painters are Global Scholars. Chemists are stage managers. Actors are team captains. You pour yourselves into everything you do and always make time to support others. Your manifold passions have made St. Luke’s a more exciting and engaging place. You don’t just fly; you soar.” Kim was a St. Luke’s Global Scholar, editor-in-chief of St. Luke’s student newspaper The Sentinel, captain of the volleyball team, and co-founder of the student-led Eye of the Storm video and podcast club. Kim is headed off to the University of Pennsylvania.

Davis concluded the ceremony with some final words for the graduates: “We have great hopes and dreams for you. But this morning, we celebrate you - who you are today, and the journey through St. Luke’s that has brought you to this day. Each of you gave us faith in your ability to lead, your capacity to make a difference in our world, and your readiness to see difficult tasks through. Indeed, we would have been hard-pressed to design a tougher test of your mettle and resilience than the pandemic that forced us to close the campus in March of your junior year and painted your senior year with brush strokes much different from what you had dreamed of. But you met that test. You are ready for the future. And here on the Hilltop, you leave behind a legacy of growth and accomplishment, marked by the countless memories of St. Luke’s that you’ll cherish in the years to come.”