TMI graduates ready for varied futures

TMI Episcopal’s class of 2018 graduated May 24 in Oak Hills Community Church.“Commencement means beginning,” the Rev. Scott J. Brown, headmaster, said in his welcome. “That’s exactly what we celebrate tonight – a new beginning. A new start. A new chapter which you, class of 2018, are completely ready to embrace.”

tmi-graduates2018.pngThe 76 graduates have a variety of plans for their next steps. Some will attend Texas colleges and universities including A&M, Baylor, St. Edward's, St. Mary's, SMU, Southwest School of Art, Southwestern, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Trinity, UTSA and UT-Austin. Others will attend out-of-state colleges including Brandeis, Drexel, Elon, Florida State, George Washington, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Goucher, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Northeastern, Penn State, Pepperdine, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sewanee (University of the South), UCLA, U.S. Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Denver, University of Pennsylvania, Vassar, Virginia Tech and others. Internationally, TMI graduates will attend Regent's University London and the University of St. Andrews.

Three graduates have been accepted to special programs that will allow them to create multidisciplinary majors and to pursue independent study; and two will take a gap year, doing volunteer work or internships and studying languages and cultures abroad.

“We want you and your families to know how proud of you we are,” Brown said, “not just because you’re going on to an astonishing array of fine colleges and universities but because you’re on your way to fulfilling the TMI mission statement’s goal of developing your ‘full potential in service and leadership.’”

The faculty speaker, chosen by the graduating seniors, was History Department Chair Greg Smith, who told them, “Graduation is not the end; it is not the final seal on your growth. It is a useful reminder that time keeps ticking forward, and we need to both reflect on our victories and learn from our mistakes before jumping into the next thing.”

The class speaker, chosen by the faculty, was Jacob Saenger, who will study next year at UT-Austin’s Moody School of Communications. “Find what you’re passionate about,” he encouraged his classmates. “Too many people have believed in you, loved and supported you, for you to leave here and give anything less than a hundred and ten percent.”

 Top senior honors went to Alec Bassett and Ally Kotopoulos. Bassett, who will attend the University of Texas at Austin, was the recipient of the Bishop’s Cup, awarded to the student who has demonstrated the finest qualities of Christian citizenship, shown due regard for the rights and needs of others and is dedicated to the service of God. Kotopoulos, who will attend Northeastern University, received the Founder’s Award, presented to the student who best embodies the mission of TMI and is thus dedicated to excellence, cares deeply for others and is motivated to be a servant leader.

 Class president Kayla Wisnowski, who will attend the University of California, Los Angeles, presented the class gift and Faculty Award. Funds raised by the class of 2018 during the past four years will be donated toward a new café lounge, Cafe18, where students will be able to purchase quick lunches and snacks and seniors will be able to enjoy break times next year in a repurposed space on campus. “Cafe18 will be one of the many jewels that make TMI special,” Wisnowski said. “Cafe18 is our way of ensuring that the vibe of encouragement lives on long after we leave.” She also presented the Faculty Award to Sarah Murphy, TMI’s Director of College Placement. This award is voted on by the seniors, who decided that it should go to “someone who works behind the scenes, is determined, humble, helpful and hard-working.”

Photo: The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, and the Rev. Scott J. Brown, headmaster of TMI, congratulate Alec Bassett, who received the school’s Bishop’s Cup, presented to the graduate who has demonstrated the finest qualities of Christian citizenship. Bassett will attend the University of Texas at Austin.

Founded in 1893 by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, TMI Episcopal is a private, co-educational, college-preparatory school for grades 6-12, with optional military (JROTC) and boarding programs. For information, visit www.tmi-sa.org or call 210-698-7171.