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Keeping In Touch



TABLE OF CONTENTS David Feldman Head of School Denita Banks-Sims Director of Development Keeping in Touch Editorial Committee Katie Buchmann Editor Bonnie Schemm Art Director

FEATURES OPENING REMARKS: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 David Feldman, Head of School FOUNDERS’ FAMILY MESSAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Peter Roeper ’63* SENIOR CLASS FAREWELL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Joseph Allen, President – Class of 2017 INTRODUCING OUR NEWEST ALUMNI . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 THE GRADUATES & THEIR PRESENTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Contributors Joseph Allen ’17 Lisa Baker Denita Banks-Sims Katie Buchmann David Feldman Anna Gillikin ’16 Peter Roeper ’63* Marcia Ruff

SENIOR PROFILES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Katie Buchmann, Editor, and Anna Gillikin ’16, Development Intern

9 10

CLOSING REMARKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Lisa Baker, Upper School Director SENIOR PROJECTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


AWARDS & HONORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

COLLEGE ACCEPTANCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 THE ROEPER SCHOOL 41190 Woodward Avenue Bloomfield Hills Michigan 48304 248/203.7300

The Roeper School is an independent coeducational day school for gifted and talented students preschool through grade 12 and an equal-opportunity institution

A NOTE FROM JULIETTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juliette Olejnik, Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Fund


COMMENCEMENT “OUTTAKES” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 PARTING THOUGHTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Denita Banks-Sims, Director of Development

ON THE COVER Garden by Kenji Otani, Class of 2017


PHOTOGRAPHS Commencement photos by Mark Adrian Wright



David Feldman Head of School

ROEPER COMMENCEMENT 2017 When I meet with prospective Roeper families for the very first time, I share with them that we will be visiting classrooms during their tour. I ask them to pay particular attention to the relationships that exist between teachers and students and between students with each other. That is what I will ask of you today. It is the power of these relationships that will become clear to you as you witness today’s unique graduation ceremony. Originally, George Roeper would stand here and tell a story about each graduate; over time that practice has transformed into graduates’ selecting adults in our community to speak on their behalf — testament to the deep and powerful relationships that we form over a student’s journey through our school. It is this total investment in the academic, social, emotional, and ethical development of our students that makes us so successful and so connected to celebrations like today. Whether you have been at Roeper for two years or you are a “lifer,” you know that our faculty provides the inspiring energy and deep dedication that makes for meaningful personal development and an incredibly rich academic program. As George Roeper told us, in this school “students find teachers who respect them as individuals, where they are able to make mistakes and learn from them, and where they search for the unknown and the unseen.” To my colleagues — thank you for your deep dedication, your love of teaching and learning, and your thoughtful commitment to our students. Family members, you are your child’s first teachers. You are there for the first steps, the first words, and the first day of school. A milestone like today is only possible because of the care and nurture you provide. Thank you for sharing your children with us, and for the opportunity to be a part of your child’s story. This day is a celebration for your whole family! A few weeks ago, our student newspaper — Tuna Talk — wrote a humorous piece in the April Fools (well, May) issue of our newspaper — in which they selected Hollywood actors to play the role of Roeper faculty and staff in a new film about our school. In a moment that I will take as kindness and generosity they chose the actor Tom Hanks to play me in the film.


As I thought about the selection, I got to thinking about which Tom Hanks the paper had in mind as they selected my doppelganger — was it the boyish romantic hero — Tom Hanks chasing a mermaid in Splash; the young problem-solving heroic astronaut Tom Hanks of Apollo 13; the quickthinking, veteran crisis manager Tom Hanks in Sully, or the creepy privacyinvading Orwellian Tom Hanks of The Circle? There certainly have been more than a few moments in my time with this class when I have felt a little like the Forrest Gump Tom Hanks as I had the chance to be a witness to their history. One of the great joys of my role as Head of School is I get to be present for musical concerts, theatrical performances, athletic competitions, academic projects, collaborative school activities, and all of those life moments that happen throughout a student’s PreK-12 journey that make for an enriching school experience. I get to see you find your voice that first time you take on a musical solo, or that moment when you stretch yourself and step on stage as an actor after being in the crew for the prior three years, or when you share your first movie, recite the song you’ve been struggling to complete, or present a forensics piece to a full theater audience. I get to be present when you experience the joy of being accepted to your college of first choice, or the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a senior project and realize for the first time the next step you want to take. I’ve been present when you comforted each other through moments of grief and challenge and seen your growth as empathetic friends. I watch you stand against injustice and seek ways to extend your voice beyond the walls of Roeper. Like Gump, we have run the school year marathon together and grown by being part of each other’s life experience. While our setting may be a school campus, this has not been a journey of merely going through years of school, rather as Annemarie would remind you,

As George Roeper told us, in this school “students find teachers who respect them as individuals, where they are able to make mistakes and learn from them, and where they search for the unknown and the unseen.”

Our Philosophy of Education is a Philosophy of Life. We do not limit our goals to education for college or to earn a living or to become a lawyer or a doctor; we are concerned with the whole impact of life on the young person and the impact they will make on society.

… as Annemarie would remind you, … we are concerned with the whole impact of life on the young person and the impact they will make on society.

You’ve been surrounded by Gumps like me for all your years at Roper — people who provided you with guidance to think through challenges, and most of all, the opportunity to have a voice. This environment is designed to help you become stronger, more reflective, and to have a deeper understanding of yourself. As the Tom Hanks Gump, I want you to remember that graduating high school is only one of life’s chapters — your box of chocolates has many more offerings. Maybe Tuna Talk saw me more as the Tom Hanks of Castaway. My beard may not be as long, but I can see what they might be trying to say. There is a certain sense of loneliness and isolation that comes from being part of the world of the gifted. There are those who hear the word gifted and immediately think we are talking about academic talent and ability. They place you on an island, distant, alone, outside the everyday world, and think of you in a very narrow perspective. The challenges of life must come easy to you, school must be simple, and your test scores are certainly superior. You don’t need support, friends or nurture — you have everything you could ask for or need. I hope you have come to understand that being gifted is far more complicated and not just about academics, it’s not something that you are during a particular class for a particular set of minutes. Being gifted will not end when you leave Roeper. Being gifted really isn’t even about school — it’s not what you do — it’s who you are! As George reminded us, Giftedness is a blessing a child is born with and is not the product of any effort the child could be credited with. If a child is blessed with giftedness, it is also bound to an obligation to make use of it to nurture and develop it for the benefit of themselves and of society.

As you know through experience, this takes time; this takes reflection; and this takes guidance. As gifted people you see the world through a different lens, perhaps more like Tom Hanks in Big, you came to understand the complexity of the adult world as a young person. You have always known that, “The truly gifted person is one who is capable of revising what is known, exploring the unknown and constructing new forms.” (George Roeper) But you have also felt the intensity of the world and perceived a deep sense of justice and fairness. Your intensities have made you persuasive in debate, perceived by those around you as smart — but that is not enough. There have been many brilliant leaders in the public and private sector who were smart and did not embrace the interdependent nature of our world — the humanistic needs of our global community. Having a strong voice does not mean the same thing as speaking without thought. No, you understand that being gifted is more than playing a giant piano or inventing new toys. Maybe the Tom Hanks Tuna Talk had in mind is the one in Saving Private Ryan, someone surrounded by a strong group of colleagues with a common goal while at the same time trying to hold on to our humanity and ethical principles. George Roeper wrote, I hope our school will help youngsters to make a difference in the future; to change what has brought on war, violence, hate, hypocrisy, corruption in our society, and instead shape a new society committed to an awareness of the needs of fellowmen of all races and beliefs, to an openness which does not allow clandestine manipulation, to an intolerance of solving conflicts by force — yes, committed to taking the future into their own hands to build a better world. As Roeper alums you will have a responsibility to continue to live the philosophy beyond your years in our school. The philosophy is certainly complex, but it is not the DaVinci Code. We did not take you through this school experience to merely live the philosophy for two, four, 10 or 15 years. You have been given a great gift. Your Roeper education has certainly opened some doors for you into the world of higher education, but that in itself has never been the purpose of your work here at our school.


We prepare [you] for college. This is a matter of course. But I consider preparation for college as half of our job. We also want to help [you] to be amply prepared for this world in a social and human sense. We want [you] to have values, to understand [your] values, and to help [you] uphold [your] values ... (George Roeper) This Tom Hanks metaphor has had me thinking deeply, reviewing the actor’s film archives and searching for that right Roeper parallel — maybe it’s about the power of mentoring like in his film, That Thing you Do! where he coaches and guides a young band to success, helping them to find their voices, to mature into self-actualized adults. After all Annemarie said that, “A child’s greatest need is the need for a trusted adult.” But ultimately, after all of the clips, after all of the character studies, after all of the late night screenings it finally came to me. I was reading George’s remarks to the first high school graduating class, and I heard his German accent begin to shift to the Tom Hanks voice I’d been looking for for weeks. See if you hear it: You may have immense success, you may fail. Regardless, you will have an outlook toward life that is open-minded, progressive, more understanding and accepting of differences among human beings. Do you hear it — do you hear the Tom Hanks voice? You have learned to relate honestly and naturally to one another, how to express yourself openly and directly, yet with sensitivity and consideration for other persons involved, how to respect the individuality of friend and teacher, how to incorporate in your life new ideas.

Like George, Woody had a very clear set of expectations for us; he didn’t see our time together as sheltering, but rather as preparing us to engage more deeply in this interdependent world. To quote the real Tom Hanks: I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candor. And there it is: It’s his belief in the importance of humanism — that’s the connecting link. Tom Hanks, the actor, is able to morph into a variety of different characters from a variety of different backgrounds; he is a successful actor because of this “everyman” quality. But, look closely — the thread that runs through his work, and the element that I am so grateful that Tuna Talk saw in the casting is his humanism. It is man’s capacity to improve human relationships; to have our lives guided by what is just. We don’t have to battle a volcano, seek the Road to Perdition, walk The Green Mile, get stuck in The Terminal, or find ourselves Sleepless in Seattle, we merely need to be respectful of each other’s voices and make a commitment to justice rather than power. For your entire time at Roeper you have been asked to do just that, and now it is time to bring those ideas to the greater world. We need your intensity; we need your complexity; we need your precocity. And know that you will never have to do it alone. Because, Roeper Class of 2017, while your script has yet to be written and cast, keep this mind —

It’s Woody ... from Toy Story! Maybe these years have given you a sense of community with the school, a sense of having gotten values dear to you, a sense of having had meaningful relationships with friends. If that is so, I cannot see how we can ever forget each other.

When the road looks rough ahead And you’re miles and miles From your nice warm bed You just remember what your old pal said Class, you’ve got a friend in me Yeah, you’ve got a friend in me! Congratulations Class of 2017! F


To quote the real Tom Hanks: … we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candor.


Peter Roeper ’63*

Founders’ Younger Son

FOUNDERS’ FAMILY MESSAGE Good Afternoon. I want to thank The Roeper School community for continuing the tradition of inviting a Roeper to speak at every commencement. My brother, sister, and I take turns now that our parents have died, and this year is my turn.

This pedagogical approach leads to students who think critically, who have an excitement about learning and are creative in their endeavors. The questioning and discovery develops in a student a strong sense of their own abilities, and hence, a sense of self-worth.

I also want to thank the Roeper community, students, teachers, board and staff for keeping the school alive and thriving in its 75th year. My parents would be very pleased.

In my view, another insight of my parents is that pedagogy is not just important in the classroom, but pertains to the whole school.

My parents would be particularly gratified to know that their core pedagogical approach, within their overall philosophy, continues.

My parents would be particularly gratified to know that their core pedagogical approach, within their overall philosophy, continues.

They worked to create a learning community, a school, where diversity is encouraged and differences respected. A place where the culture is conducive to psychological health and security. A school where subject mastery is a positive experience, not one fraught with anxiousness and self-doubt. Most importantly, where the humanistic principles that guide the community and the process of living together successfully are factors central to the education process. I used the term pedagogy — an old-fashioned term. Pedagogy refers to how one learns, not what one learns. In the traditional pedagogy, the teacher stands in front of a bunch of passive students and is the knowledge authority, and the goal is transfer of information. My parents rejected this approach for one based on using young people’s creativity and curiosity as a dynamic in the process of education. Led by educators such as my parents and by Roeper School as a whole, pedagogy has since turned to focusing on discovery and experience as the way students learn. My mother was particularly creative when addressing these new learning styles. She designed classrooms that had no front or back, and in many other ways worked to change the classroom environment away from the traditional. She wanted the most common interactions to be questioning, not telling, and doing, not watching.

A school is a cauldron, a large mix, of different people, teachers, students and staff with various backgrounds, desires and goals, all trying to exist together. As in the larger society, there is opportunity for misunderstanding and conflict. My parents saw this cauldron of different needs and wants as an educational opportunity. They wanted the school to offer an opportunity for discussion and cooperation on issues as preparation for living in the larger society. Specifically, when everyone is included in actively addressing the school subjects of the day, very important learning by questioning and probing takes place. When one is given an opportunity to participate, one learns how to participate. Perhaps this may be best understood when thinking about morals. My parents had clear morals, those inviolate notions about right and wrong, and they wanted their students to have morals. However, their approach was not to say “good or bad,” or “don’t listen to those people because they are wrong”, or to make pronouncements. They understood, intuitively, that the strength of their convictions, or the authority with which they are stated, did not determine the effectiveness of an argument or the way to teach morals. In fact, an argument tinged with moral righteousness could be sanctimonious and, thus, counterproductive. Their approach to moral education was to guide students through their experience of living together, through explanation, through example, and through discussing intensely what is fair and unfair. Being able to consider different points of view is critical. Considering issues with a sense of responsibility is essential. My parents wanted students to think about context and implications, and long- and shortterm consequences as they considered issues and formed their views. This is what my father tried


to do in his human relations classes: discuss moral ambiguity in real life circumstances.

These statements reflect the purpose at the core of Roeper School’s foundation.

They believed the power of morals came from the thoroughness of understanding developed over time of how values affected the principles of living together. This is what my parents wanted students to comprehend and the school to offer.

For my parents, the community, what happened as people interacted, was vital to the value of an education. From a distance, it is this element of their educational approach that makes Roeper unique.

As my parents wrote in 1981: “The Roeper philosophy … is the framework for living and learning within the school and a ‘way of life.‘”

Hopefully, you current graduates feel that you have received not only a strong education, but also have learned how to live in, and perhaps influence, the larger society.

Or, as the Roeper Board put it in 2010: We believe that each person has responsibilities as a member of communities — the family, the school, and ultimately, the world. In our learning community, relationships are important and central. We help each learner find the essential balances between rights and responsibilities.


So, I wish you well as you take the lessons of Roeper with you. Thank you. F

For my parents, the community, what happened as people interacted, was vital to the value of an education. … it is this element of their educational approach that makes Roeper unique.


Joseph Allen

President, Class of 2017

SENIOR CLASS FAREWELL Greetings graduates, faculty members, and esteemed guests. I cannot describe how much of an honor it is to speak before you today. Near universally, graduating from high school is the capstone of one’s childhood, and a pivotal transition to the world beyond. We are all gathered here today to celebrate such an occasion and reflect upon the sheer importance of education. However, the most important lesson I have ever learned was not one proclaimed to me in a classroom, but like most pieces of wisdom, one from my father. From a young age he has stressed to me the colossal importance of not only a good education, but a superior education. That one’s wealth, possessions, and titles are mere vicissitudes, always subject to change, and most importantly, that education and knowledge are foundational bedrocks that no man can ever take away.

… one’s wealth, possessions, and titles are mere vicissitudes, always subject to change; … education and knowledge are foundational bedrocks that no man can ever take away.

Such a lesson is one that every person in this room has taken to heart and drives their very presence here today. Parents, who have gone to this world’s end to ensure the best education for their child, sacrificing everything and expecting nothing in return. Teachers, who have poured their hearts and hours into education so that every student cannot only pass a class, but strive in it. And perhaps most importantly, students, students who work into the dead of night, conquer challenges, and overcome every hardship in their never-ending quest for knowledge. Indeed, these are the reasons why we have gathered here today. In a world as turbulent and tumultuous as the one we live in today, let us not forget this desire, nay, this thirst for knowledge. Let us not forget how such a thirst galvanized 14 seniors to pursue ambitious senior projects, from building a car to researching a cure for cancer. Let us not forget how such a thirst manifested itself into thousands of hours poured into passions from film production to national debate, from jawdropping forensics pieces to next-generation robot creation. Graduates, when you step off that stage, your quest for knowledge will take a new and exciting turn. I may not be that Oracle we so fondly remember Regis teaching us about in 6th grade history, but if past is prologue, then the future is most certainly bright. From Palo Alto to Boston, and from Tuscaloosa to Marquette, never stop learning. Surround yourself with a community that thrives on knowledge. Find yourself another Roeper, and remember that if you accomplish only half of what you’ve done the past four years, the world will be a far better place. So graduates, as we enter this brave new world deemed life outside of Roeper, remember the wisdom of my father. Remember the quintessential motive that brings us all together today. And remember that with your education and incredible passion for knowledge, the world is yours. Thank you. F




Class of 2017

1 Phoenix Bieneman. 2 John Kruszewski. 3 Jonathan Harris. 4 Ryan Mersol-Barg. 5 Jonathon Borja 6 Jake Janowitz. 7 Cameron Johnson. 8 Shelby Raminick. 9 Alex Exler. 10 Simon Roennecke. 11 Ellie Moskowitz. 12 Andrew Dietz. 13 Emma Kretchmer. 14 Melanie Wells. 15 Kyler Cousins. 16 Kenji Otani. 17 Nate Lee. 18 Adam Harris. 19 Reyne Lesnau. 20 Nadav Pais-Greenapple. 21 Ethan Silk. 22 Drew Dagenais. 23 Peyton Kinchen-Reed. 24 Alexis Johnson. 25 Evan Buikema. 26 Rishabh Iyer. 27 Audrey Batdorf-Barnes. 28 David Degazio. 29 Jeremy Goldman. 30 Brandon Davis. 31 Leora Bernard. 32 Lukas Sznewajs. 33 Elizabeth Stayton. 34 Ben Fisher. 35 Clayton Spevak. 36 Peter Karmanos. 37 Joe Allen. 38 Kory Hamblin.



THE GRADUATES & THEIR PRESENTERS Relationships are important at Roeper. Each senior chooses an adult member of the Roeper community to present him or her at commencement. Speeches are factual, humorous and poignant, with words drawn from student records, friends, family and staff members. Historically, George Roeper spoke a few minutes about each graduate, and upon his retirement, the Upper School Director assumed that commitment. As the classes grew larger, it became a daunting task for one person to undertake, so in the mid-’80s a group of five or six teachers was designated by each graduating class from which the seniors could choose. In the early ’90s the choice was widened to include any current or former staff member. It is considered an honor to be invited to present. Graduation order is determined by the student’s length of time at The Roeper School. The newest student to Roeper graduates first; and the student who has attended the longest is presented last.

Relationships are important at Roeper. Each senior chooses IN GRADUATION ORDER an adult member of the Roeper graduate* communitypresenter to him or her EVAN CLAY BUIKEMA (25) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .present . . andrew brock at commencement. BENJAMIN ZACHARY FISHER (34) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Speeches . . . . are dan jacobs factual, andcarozza LEORA ELLIE BERNARD (31) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .humorous . . regis ANDREW MEIER DIETZ (12) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . poignant, . . . .with dan jacobs words drawn from KORY AMIR HAMBLIN (38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .student . . ttari hellmer records, ADAM BENJAMIN HARRIS (18) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . friends, . . jason cintosh familymand members. PETER KARMANOS IV (36) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .staff andrew blechman NATHANIEL JUSTIN LEE (17) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . andrew blechman Historically, KENJI MATTHEW OTANI (16) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .George . . hale williams Roeper spoke a few minutes ELIZABETH LEANNE STAYTON (33) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . kelly piontek each nichols MELANIE ELIZABETH WELLS (14) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .about susannah graduate, and upon SOPHIA KAHN BIENEMAN (1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . his . retirement, . karen johnson the BRANDON REED DAVIS (30) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Upper . . School . matt vallus JEREMY DOV GOLDMAN (29) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Director . . . assumed dan jacobs that commitment. JONATHAN ROBERT HARRIS (3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . As . the . .classes laura panek grew KYLER WILLIAM COUSINS (15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .larger, . . it linda vernon became a task for ALEXANDER GERALD EXLER (9) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . daunting . . regis carozza one person to RISHABH RAGHU IYER (26) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . jamie benigna undertake, so in the EMMA BROOKE KRETCHMER (13) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .mid-’80s . . . a dan groupjacobs of teachers JAKE MITCHELL JANOWITZ (6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .five . or . six . max collins designated by PEYTON AMIER KINCHEN-REED (23) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . was . jamie lyons-eddy each graduating JOHN GOFF KRUSZEWSKI (2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . class . . from . matt whichvallus could LUKAS JOHN SZNEWAJS (32) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the . seniors . jamie benigna In the early DREW DAVID DAGENAIS (22) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .choose. . . ttari hellmer ’90s the choice was JONATHON LEE GOLDEN BORJA (5) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .widened . . . to laura panek include REYNE KYAN LESNAU (19) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . any . . current karen orjohnson staff member. AUDREY ANNA BATDORF-BARNES (27) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . former . susannah nichols It is considered an DAVID CHRISTOPHER DEGAZIO (28) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (no speaker preferred) honor to be invited CAMERON HALE JOHNSON (7) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .to .present. kelly mcdowell SHELBY MATTHEW RAMINICK (8) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . laura panek order is JOSEPH DAVID ALLEN (37) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graduation . . . matt vallus determined by the ALEXIS CHRISTINE JOHNSON (24) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . student’s . christina miceli length of at Thelyons-eddy Roeper ELLIE RACHEL MOSKOWITZ (11) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . time . jamie Themcnewest SIMON IGNATIUS ROENNECKE (10) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . School. michal conville student to Roeper ETHAN MEIR SILK (21) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . graduates michal first; mcconville and NADAV GAVRIEL PAIS-GREENAPPLE (20) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .the . student . linda whovernon has longest RYAN PATRICK MERSOL-BARG (4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . attended . . . .the dan jacobs is presented last. CLAYTON JOSEPH SPEVAK (35) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . linda pence


* the numbers in parentheses correspond to the numbers in the class photo on the previous page



Katie Buchmann

KIT Editor

Anna Gillikin ’16

Summer Intern Development Office


Evan participated in Debate, Forensics, and the Roeper chapter of Society of Women Engineers for both of his years at Roeper. As a Junior, he participated in Physics Club, and as a Senior he joined band and the Roeper Theatre Company. Evan will attend Michigan State University in the fall.


EVAN … passionate, caring, lighthearted, and sincere

Jay and Laura Fisher of West Bloomfield. Last year we had a glut of Bens at Roeper. So, to distinguish himself from other Bens, Ben Fisher dubbed himself, “Ambiguously Ben.” Ambiguous: meaning “unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made.” Ben did often seem to be continuously struggling with choices between alternatives.

BEN … kind, funny, genuine, and zealous

May your Roeper circles be slightly more circular.

EVAN CLAY BUIKEMA is the son of Eric Buikema ’88 of Farmington Hills and Stephanie Murphy of Spring, Texas. “This is Evan, from Texas.” This is all I was told when we were introduced last year in Dan Jacobs’ class. In these last two years, I have learned any number of things about Evan that would have been useful to know in that first introduction. For example, while reading a script for Shakespeare Star Wars, Evan read first for Obi-Wan Kenobi and then Princess Leia, using a princess voice that was very entertaining and, frankly, a little disquieting. During a bus ride we discovered we’d both been at the same cello concert the night before. We geeked out over classical arrangements of Iron Maiden tunes which led to Evan singing Baloo’s part of Bare Necessities while doing a stupid dance. In debate Evan happily explained to the class about theory shells and framing techniques and then proceeded to help novice students write case outlines. At a tournament, Evan took a student from another school under his wing and spent his prep time between rounds answering the student’s questions. So this is Evan, from Texas, who does debate, fully commits to being silly, has excellent taste in music and excitedly shares his interests with others. This is Evan. From Roeper. He is caring and passionate and is happiest when his friends are happy. He is part of this community, and both he and it are better for it. We have helped you learn that you need to trust yourself more, open up a little, to care for yourself as much as you do for others, and you have shared your passions and made us learn and laugh. ~ presented by Andrew Brock


One of his and his friends’ favorite memories was watching him face plant into the ground at the Mackinac tournament two years ago as he fumbled an imaginary energy ball they were passing around in a group. Kat Moore was impressed: “He went full-on for it,” she says, “and then he just lay there after hitting the ground.” Maddy Harner says, “I think that was the pivotal point where we were like, ‘this kid is all right.’” Ben says that the greatest Roeper-related change he has undergone is the “ability to express ideas effectively and confidently.” In his achievements throughout the past year, it’s clear that Ambiguously Ben has become Ben Fisher. The imprints of his ambiguous past have filled in with a drive to understand all perspectives while building and defending his own solid opinions. In the persuasive speech Ben wrote and competed with throughout his senior year, Ben writes: “We … often find ourselves trapped in a world of these one-sided discussions. I talk, you listen, we go our separate ways. I invite you to talk with me. Challenge my ideas, agree or disagree with me, ... we need to speak, but we also need to listen.” ~ presented by Dan Jacobs

Ben participated in Band, Forensics, and Linguistics Club all three years he has been Roeper. He also joined Debate as an upperclassman and participated in Tuna Talk for a year. Ben will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall.

LEORA … insightful, dependable, determined, and moral

ANDREW … intellectual, philosophical, complex , and witty

Happy 75th. It’s your job to justify another 75th. LEORA ELLIE BERNARD is the daughter of Dennis and Hadas Bernard of Birmingham and sister of Aaron Bernard ‘13. Real leaders are not only brilliant scholars of particular subjects, possessed of ferocious work ethics, but they are, invariably, dedicated and disciplined students of themselves. Leora is precisely this kind of person. Although dyslexic and dysgraphic, Leora refuses to be defined as such. She has, however, become an expert on the dyslexic brain, and how she learns and makes meaning out of information. The academic results have been astounding; from an external perspective, her challenges are inconsequential. Effective self-examination also requires the courage to be honest with the person with whom it is most difficult to be candid: yourself. It is, fundamentally, an issue of moral integrity. Deeply spiritual and a scholar of Judaism, Leora is described by her rabbi as “someone who, when nobody is looking, still does the right thing.” That is the description of someone whose ethical compass is unerringly on target. She has the insight and the ethics to see the path, ask the tough questions, and confront the hard issues head on, not only for herself, but as a mentor for others. Whether on the sports field, in the classroom, or in an interpersonal setting, she has an uncanny ability to perceive, to anticipate, and to guide, with humor, compassion, and humility. I believe it is how she creates meaning in her life. It is what makes a true leader; it is what makes Leora Bernard great. ~ presented by Regis Carozza

Leora played soccer and participated in the Film Festival Committee all four years of high school. She has also participated in Debate, Fun Fun Fun, Volleyball, Forensics, Linguistics Club, Robotics, and Girls’ Mentoring. She joined Spirit Squad as an upperclassman and was on the Spirit Week Committee her senior year. Leora will attend Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in the fall.

I am so thankful for all that Roeper has given me. I am blessed to have had such wonderful teachers and classmates inspire me every day while attending Roeper. Goodbye everyone, I wish you luck! ANDREW MEIER DIETZ, son of Debra Meier and Brian Dietz ’83 of Birmingham and brother of Rachel Dietz ‘20 and Claire Dietz ‘20, wrote on his questionnaire for admission to Roeper going into the ninth grade his trademark complex responses to the various prompts. It isn’t so much his responses per se that catch the eye, but his disclaimer marked with an asterisk at the end, which states: End note: All fragment sentences and short paragraphs are done for style and narrative voice, not out of error. Also, I apologize that my first answer exceeds 250 words, but I feel the length was necessary to articulate it the way I wanted to. I hope you understand. Talking with Andrew is never an individual interchange; it’s more like a long-term investment combined with a really engaging cross-curricular college lecture. And conversations can literally last years. Andrew’s intricate web of disclaimers is the manifestation of a worldview that understands how important yet difficult it is to come close to anything resembling objective truth. The 1981 Roeper Philosophy states that our goal is to make “equal human rights for all people a priority, and to have ‘a complete commitment to justice rather than power.’” Andrew Dietz is doing everything he can to enact and embody these ideals, stating that “people with resources need to take responsibility for righting wrongs they see in


the world.” He goes on to say: “I think a radically different and radically better world is possible, and it’s worth fighting for.” ~ presented by Dan Jacobs Andrew participated in the Roeper Theatre Company as an underclassman, joined the Film Festival Committee as a sophomore, joined Amnesty International and founded the Young Democratic Socialists as a senior. He will attend the University of Chicago in the fall.

So long, Roeper. It’s been a very weird four years, but usually in a good way. KORY AMIR HAMBLIN, son of Dana and William Hamblin of Southfield, is secretly a superhero. I didn’t realize this at first, but after four years, I’m convinced. His super-senses can tell that someone is hungry. Whether it is a simple “forgot my lunch money” emergency in the halls of Roeper, or a misplaced marshmallow stick catastrophe in the forests of Pennsylvania, Kory always comes to the rescue. Kory is a force to be reckoned with when he senses monstrous injustice. He organizes water drives for Flint as an active member of Roeper’s Black Student Union or plans Diversity Day activities for the entire campus with the Diversity Committee. Kory stepped out from behind the theatre curtain this year, and made his onstage debut. Now, he sings, dances and acts whenever and wherever he gets the chance. Kory brings joy and happiness to all when he decides to entertain us. Kory will continue to devote his life to making all of us feel safe, comfortable, included, welcomed and well-fed. We will miss the benefit of his superpowers here at Roeper. However, if we one day find ourselves in trouble, Kory has promised to keep an eye on the skies. When we need him, we can send a sign. Leora said that this skyward symbol should include his iconic superhero tools, the headphones of empathy, the wide-rimmed glasses of generosity and the awe-inspiring hairdo of humanity. He is sure to see it and return to save us. ~ presented by Ttari Hellmer


Kory participated in Track, Black Student Union, and the Roeper Theatre Company all four years of high school. He participated in Model UN as a junior and joined the Film Festival Committee and the Student Diversity Advisory Committee as a sophomore. Kory will attend Michigan State University in the fall.

Roeper is my home, and I am eternally grateful for the friends I made and the things I learned. Thank you.

KORY … devoted, generous, confident, and loyal

ADAM BENJAMIN HARRIS, son of Edwin and Cynthia Harris of Pontiac and brother of Alisa Harris ‘22 and Andrew Harris ‘25, enjoys and is good at everything he does. He holds nothing back, and we love him for it. When most give 100%, Adam gives 3000%. If he loves it, he’s all in, complete with sound effects. Adam volunteers for everything — and eats more than anyone. Entering the room is a production — he’s loud and silly, and he fills it with surprises and practical jokes. Time after time, teachers have said, “Adam has an incredible sense of humor and a warm, friendly personality that makes our classroom a nicer place to learn.” That was Laura Panek. Kelly McDowell says it’s “your generosity of self and your sincere kindness — you are a very present person.” Hale Williams believes that “having Adam in class was one of the best parts of my every day.” Shelly Fager-Bajorek told me that what she appreciates most is that “Adam doesn’t settle. He thinks about his choices. He’s conscientious and cares about his product.” Alex agrees that Adam has been a staple on the Acheson stage the last four years and says, “It’s fitting that his final performance at Roeper included a song called Extraordinary, asking for the chance to show the world how great he is (while jumping rope, spinning a basketball on his finger, and dancing up and down a rolling staircase). This is how we will always remember Adam.” ~ presented by Jason McIntosh

ADAM … funny, sincere, friendly, and conscientious

PETER … zany, curious, introspective, and sincere

Adam was a member of the Roeper Theatre Company, the Black Student Union, the Basketball team and the Track team for all four years of high school. He has also participated in Choir, the Student Diversity Advisory Committee, Spirit Squad, and Soccer. Adam will be attending Michigan State University in the fall.

Thank you for allowing me to have the chance to try everything. Freedom of expression and choice is what makes Roeper special. PETER KARMANOS IV is

NATE … giving, dedicated, calm, and thoughtful

the son of Peter Karmanos III and Laura Pierce Karmanos of Birmingham and the brother of Sophia Karmanos ’19. Those who know Peter know that when he buys you a hat, that is as close to “I love you” as he gets! Shelby Raminick told me all about his trip during spring break with Peter, when Peter declared to them all that he was going to buy each of them a hat, and they knew that was true friendship. His parents told me the story of how his eye doctor asked, “Can you see the bottom line of the eyechart?” To which Peter said, “Yes.” She then said, “Please read them,” to which he replied, “I did.” This happened three times during his appointment, and he was doing this with total sincerity. He wasn’t even trying to be funny! Kelly Piontek describes him as a “voracious reader” who will read ahead of many of their assignments. And not just in English: I have seen it myself that Peter has purchased books in physics and math and started reading them, too! He has even taken to trying to read old physics papers I wrote 10 years ago, and interrupting my Modern Physics lesson asking me about them. His parents tell me that he absolutely loves physics and math, he just doesn’t seem to know why. This is the mark that Peter Karmanos will leave on Roeper: a zany, wacky, deadpan sense of humor that will reverberate every time someone randomly declares today to be “Pajama Day.” ~ presented by Andrew Blechman

Peter participated in Robotics all four years of high school and was a member of the Track team for sophomore and junior year. He will attend Calvin College in the fall.

Stay out of the SLC, little middle schoolers. NATHANIEL JUSTIN LEE is the son of Arthur and Phyllis Lee of Detroit and the brother of David Lee ’19. Maya Angelou said: “If you get, give. If you learn, teach!” This is Nate’s favorite quote, and for anyone who knows anything about him, it’s easy to understand why. His passions are virtually boundless, but they tend to coalesce strongly around two central themes in Nate’s life: athletics and robotics. His contributions to athletics are almost legendary: He is pretty sure his Roeper-record 17-minute-mile will stand the test of time! From that he rose all the way up to starting defender in the 2014 Soccer Championship. Nate decided for a senior project that he would design and teach a LEGORobotics course at the West Side Christian Academy Middle School. He always said that one of the best parts of building robots was building them with friends. Nate is always quick to lend a helping hand to anyone who is struggling; as simple as giving a hint on a homework problem, to giving up his seat at the front of a Shakespeare play to sit with his friend who was consigned to a wheelchair and needed to sit in the back. Nate said to me, “I care a lot about what my legacy will be. I want to make a difference with the skills that I have gained in my education.” I have another Maya Angelou quote for you: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Remember that as long as you stick to that ideal, your legacy will be a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. ~ presented by Andrew Blechman Nate played Basketball and Soccer and participated in Robotics for all four years of high school, played Baseball for one year, and participated in both


Track and Spirit Squad for two years. He will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.

senior. Kenji has also participated in Track and Sierra Club and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

I’ve had an amazing high school experience at Roeper, and I will cherish all the incredible bonds that I formed with classmates, teachers, coaches, and faculty.

See you, space cowboy. ELIZABETH LEANNE STAYTON, daughter of Matt

son of Ernest and Karyn Otani of West Bloomfield, is one of the hardest-working students I’ve ever met. I have come to know him as a musician, a robot designer, an artist, and an amazing friend. He has a commitment and focus that are rare for a high school student, and he brings these qualities to his academics, the Sierra Club, robotics, art, and everything else to which he puts his mind.

Duda of Ortonville and Judyth Stayton of Birmingham, came to Roeper in ninth grade, and immediately, she clicked both academically and socially with the class of 2017. Phoenix Bieneman recalls, “The first day of biology class, when Laura had all the students choose ‘buddies’ to make taking attendance easier. Elizabeth looked at me from across the room,” Phoenix says, “and made it clear that we should be buddies — even though I had never actually spoken to her.”

During calculus class I grew to know Kenji as an extremely hard worker and a student who always went above and beyond. Every time he got back a test, he would go through each question to make sure he knew the right answer and had the process down. Even if he’d gotten the right answer, he would analyze the question to see how else it could be solved.

Roeper’s small, safe environment was the right fit for Elizabeth. It allowed her to experiment, explore her identity, and build many meaningful relationships. Fellow graduate and friend Alex Exler has kept a diary for many years, so he has literally taken note of how “hardworking” and “fun” Elizabeth is. He also observes that she is a “jack-ofall-trades when it comes to activities.”

In Robotics, Kenji is an integral team member. He is devoted to the success of the robots that he and his teammates build. He spends much of his free time in the robotics lab. When working with others, he is happy to take the lead or be a part of the team. He doesn’t force himself into the spotlight, but any project he is a part of has his signature quality of work and panache.

But Elizabeth is particularly proud of being cast in a leading role in Peter and the Starcatcher last fall. Jonathon Borja recalls, “In the days and hours before opening night, Elizabeth always seems to get really nervous. Part of that’s natural, of course, but her performances always turn out well. I think she gets nervous because she really is passionate about it … She cares about doing well, making the rest of the cast look good, and giving the audience a good show.”


He not only has superb ideas and work ethic, but he sees projects through to the end. Followthrough is incredibly important in life, and Kenji has it in spades. In Lisa Baker’s words, “Kenji keeps showing up to work.” ~ presented by Hale Williams Kenji participated in Band, the Roeper Theatre Company, Amnesty International, and Robotics all four years of high school. He joined Roeper Tabletop as a sophomore and Film Festival as a


Elizabeth’s homeroom advisor, Karen Johnson, describes her as “highly perceptive,” “incredibly driven,” “persistent,” “resilient,” and “tough as nails.” ~ presented by Kelly Piontek Elizabeth was a member of The Roeper Theatre Company, Linguistics Club and The Muse all four

KENJI … hard-working, focused, analytical, and devoted

ELIZABETH … fun, passionate, perceptive, and resilient

years of high school. As an underclassman, she participated in Chess Club, Forensics, Dance, and Girls’ Mentoring; she joined Film Festival, Robotics, and Spanish Club in senior year. Elizabeth will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

MELANIE … pragmatic, unflappable, purposeful, and empathetic

PHOENIX … compassionate, intellectual, strong, and creative

Thank you for making my high school experience great! Roeper will always be close to my heart.

Melanie was a member of the Basketball team all four years in high school. She joined the Student Diversity Advisory Committee in tenth grade and was a member for three years. She also participated in Band, Cross Country, Track, Volleyball, Black Student Union, and Robotics. She will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

I am happy I had the opportunity to attend Roeper. It was a great four years.

MELANIE ELIZABETH WELLS, daughter of Deborah and Henry Wells of Detroit graduates with a sterling transcript and the unflinching respect of her teachers and peers. If you’ve casually watched her over the past four years, you might only have seen a quiet young woman going about her business. You might have missed the way her self-sufficiency, humility, and pragmatism contributed to her accomplishments. Melanie is, in the words of Jamie Lyons-Eddy, “an intellectual powerhouse,” but she’s made the most of those talents by staying on the track to success, no matter what. Teachers have consistently praised Melanie’s ability to be, in Hale’s words, “the calm in the storm,” and to excel in the midst of challenges both minor and daunting. Jamie Benigna observes that “in many ways, Melanie seems unflappable; nothing seems to rile her or get her off-kilter.” Melanie leads by example and leads with love. When Kalie Foxwell was new to Roeper and new to basketball, Melanie was an encouragingly warm role model for her: “She made my first sports season as well as my first year at Roeper enjoyable. She was a caring teammate and a respectful opponent. She taught us underclassmen what it meant to be a Roeper student-athlete.” And this year, when the girls didn’t have enough players to yield a team, Melanie refused to relinquish her passion for the game and played for the boys’ JV team, neither boastful nor ornery about the unique situation. Hale Williams admires that in all things, Melanie “doesn’t put on a show for people. She’s very much herself.” ~ presented by Susannah Nichols

SOFIA KAHN “PHOENIX” BIENEMAN is the child of Ann and Charlie Bieneman of West Bloomfield and the sibling of William Bieneman ‘22. Over the past four years that we have studied Latin together, Phoenix has over and again brought a contagious ebullience to my classroom. They have the mind of a linguist, understanding not only the analytical, almost mathematical, nature of Latin, but also the creative and generative aspects of the language. Beyond the bracing presence they have in the classroom and intellectual pursuits, Phoenix is one who has buoyed a variety of activities around school. For Phoenix, the accomplishments for the sake of the group outrank any one personal victory they themselves might have. Their vital force is felt and capitalized upon for the greater good, even if their own efforts are not readily apparent. One of the best illustrations of Phe’s advocacy for common understanding has come with their involvement in Gender Blender. When the group was asked to provide feedback on our school’s newly formulated gender inclusion policy, they were the first student to speak up after the initial presentation. They quickly noted that it was headed in the right direction but, without sounding condescending or exclusive, they also explained the ways in which the language of the policy could be improved to reflect growing notions of gender identity at Roeper and beyond. It was a brief commentary that has had a lasting impression and it was communicated in a constructive way. When they speak up, people listen because they know that they will give them the honest truth delivered with kindness and empathy. ~ presented by Karen Johnson


Phoenix was involved in Choir, Forensics, Gender Blender, Linguistics Club, and the Roeper Theatre Company all four years of high school. They have also participated in Book Club, Tuna Talk, The Muse, Physics Club, Spirit Squad, and the Young Democratic Socialists. Phoenix will attend Marlboro College in the fall.

Thanks, folks. Couldn’t have done it all without you.

Brandon is unique; he loves challenges because they only motivate and propel him to new levels of success. He is one of the most successful students I have taught, and he accomplishes his goals with a degree of compassion and assertiveness that is inspiring. As Patti Bostwick put it, “He is someone who can always be counted on to do his best whether in class or in life.” ~ presented by Matt Vallus Brandon participated in Debate all four years of high school. He has also participated in Basketball, Track, Forensics, and Spirit Week Committee. He will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall.

BRANDON … tenacious, committed, reliable, and positive

Thank you Roeper for helping me become the person I am today. I will forever be grateful for all that the school has done for me. JEREMY DOV GOLDMAN, child

BRANDON REED DAVIS is the son of Howard and Michelle Davis of West Bloomfield. Through reading all of his teachers’ reports, I was astounded by how many times the term “hard worker” was referenced. Time and time again, the same vocabulary appeared: dedicated, tenacious, hardworking, resilient, diligent, dependable. Brandon’s work ethic is part of his core, and it is reflected through his academics, his advocacy, and his relationships. There is nothing I appreciate more than progress. Academically, Brandon is a relentlessly committed student and has methodically and consistently made progress over the years. During ninth grade US History, he made adjustments to hone his understanding of major concepts. Thanks to his tenacity, he was able to develop a strong and more precise understanding of our objectives. Without a doubt, Roeper has been a place where Brandon could push himself and be himself. Through simple, old-fashioned hard work he has adapted, made progress, and fine-tuned his work ethic. In turn, he was also able to fine-tune his character and find his voice.


of Ezra and Jennifer Goldman of West Boomfield, says, “When I first came to Roeper five years ago, I don’t think I knew myself. I wasn’t a fully formed person.” And, Jeremy did, indeed, seem to be in a transitional state five years ago, more liquid than solid, taking the shape of whatever impulse was present in the moment. When I asked what about Roeper helped them solidify as a person, Jeremy said the school supports a wide range of diversity and has a “very aggressive ‘be yourself’ policy.” “I was able to discover myself here,” Jeremy says. “I really came to understand myself and the world around me better.” Jeremy is interested in studying to be a writer for film and television and talks about the folks

JEREMY … witty, passionate, unique, and insightful

JONATHAN … stealthy, driven, generous, and kind

involved in creating films like real people, like friends. Not in the obnoxious fan/celebrity way, but in a way that lets you know Jeremy could be — or already is — one of them. Jeremy sees all elements of film making as a form of art, explaining, “Art is a conversation, and you’re either starting one or continuing one, and when an artist dies, their legacy is that conversation.” When it comes to writing, Jeremy describes seeing different forms of expression — scriptwriting, short stories, poetry, stand-up routines — as all being part of the same family of expression. And that’s where pretty much everything with Jeremy comes together in one distinct, coherent, solid form: the trivia, the human film and actor database — it’s all part of a widescreen perspective.

pounds then. He also recently qualified for the State Finals in Long Jump with a leap of 19’5”. Oh, and he took the risk to play soccer for the first time the last two seasons. According to Ed Sack, his ability to shut down the best player from the other team put Roeper’s squad in a position for success. After reflection, I think that I have come to the truth of who Jonathan is. Jonathan is an incredibly hard worker who cares deeply about those around him. Ed commented, “Jon is a unique individual demonstrating commitment, loyalty, and a passion for athletics. He has always puts others first and has never been one to step into the spotlight, although he is very worthy of it. He will be missed.” ~ presented by Laura Panek

~ presented by Dan Jacobs

KYLER … passionate, sensitive, curious, and funny

Jeremy participated in Gender Blender and Linguistics Club all four years of high school. They joined Forensics and The Muse board as a sophomore and was a member of the Young Democratic Socialists and Film Festival as a senior. They have also participated in Debate, Book Club, Tuna Talk, and Yearbook. Jeremy will attend Sarah Lawrence College in the fall.

The Roeper community is a community in the truest sense of the word. I love y’all to death. JONATHAN ROBERT HARRIS, son of Gregory and Lynn Harris of Detroit, has a way of quietly appearing in different places. Jamie Benigna wrote in his grade report, “Jonathan is a bit stealthy.” Perhaps he is spying on us — Does he work for the CIA? Of course, it is possible that he is secretly a chef. He always has food. He has a blender in his locker for his famous smoothies. He loves to take friends to Kroger, and he knows his way around the life skills kitchen. Of course, he loves to feed everyone else and is always offering his food. In tenth grade this guy improved his dead lift by 150 pounds. I’m pretty sure he didn’t weigh 150

Jonathan participated in Track all four years of high school. He also played Basketball and was a member of Choir and the Black Student Union for two years, was a member of the Roeper Theater Company for three years, joined Fun, Fun, Fun as an upperclassman, and joined Soccer and Model UN as a senior. He will attend Eastern Michigan University in the fall.

Thanks to Roeper for helping to shape me into the person I am today, with all the friends and experiences that have made my time here great. Thank you to all my teachers who have worked hard to assist me in my studies, you’ve made my life easier. KYLER WILLIAM COUSINS is the son of Lance and Andrea Cousins of Birmingham. Many agree that one of Kyler’s best qualities is his passion for the things he loves. “Find something Kyler enjoys, and I guarantee he will be giving it 100% effort,” Joe Allen says.


Dan Jacobs wrote: “Kyler passionately argued for his ideas and interpretations in class discussions and his writing. Indeed, when something or someone hit a nerve, Kyler was willing to go to the mat to defend his view, which led to some tense moments on the one hand, but certainly helped make sure that everyone was paying attention, on the other hand.” Kyler does have a softer and more sensitive side. Ellie Moskowitz says, “Kyler really cares. He can be all fun and games, but at the end of the day, he will always be there for you if you need support.” Kyler’s care and dedication is evident in his academic work as well.“ He has a natural curiosity that is vast and refreshing to see,” teacher Jamie Benigna says. “When Kyler puts his mind and full effort to the task, greatness results.” I saw greatness when Kyler came in during free blocks and lunch to make sure the yearbook was finished by the last deadline, helping to proof the index and complete a number of outstanding layouts. And I won’t ever forget Kyler happily Photoshopping while singing along to Lil Yachty or to The Little Mermaid soundtrack. ~ presented by Linda Vernon Kyler participated in Yearbook and played Baseball and Soccer as an upperclassman. He participated in Model UN for sophomore, junior, and senior years and will attend the University of Alabama in the fall.

Roeper is the devil I know when I think of the future, except the devil is actually one of my favorite places in the world. ALEXANDER GERALD EXLER, the son of Jill and Dietmar Exler of Dearborn, is perfect. He is a brilliant student, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the ancient world and an amazing affinity for languages, including those to which he has been exposed through his multinational upbringing.


Intellectually, he is creative and hilarious, with a deadpan delivery style. When Jamie Benigna asked Alex what he had contributed to a group project, Alex replied, “charisma.” He blends genius and humor seamlessly; in a philosophy paper, he analyzed traditional metaphysics in the context of modern quantum physics, adopting an approach that he deftly described as “putting Schrödinger’s Cat in Plato’s Cave.” Yet, Alex reminds us of a critical fact, one that too many people forget: that intellect and wit are not what make a human being good. He reminds us of the value of being kind and caring, and of making an extra effort to brighten someone’s day. Friends rave about his loyalty, and teachers laud his unwavering courteousness. Nobody talks about Alex without mentioning that he never stops smiling. He reminds us of the importance of being true to ourselves. A friend invoked Thoreau, telling me that “Alex has always marched to a different drummer and stepped to the music he hears.” He reminds us never to underestimate the powerful impact that a sweet, loving, and decent human being can have on the world. Would that more people had the courage to step to Alex’s music. ~ presented by Regis Carozza Alex participated in Amnesty International his senior year. He will attend Calvin College in the fall.

I came to Roeper in sixth grade. I left it in twelfth grade. Goodbye everyone! RISHABH RAGHU IYER is the son of Raghu Iyer and Geetha Raghu of West Bloomfield. If there is any fault in Rishabh, it is that he is focused on being too perfect. Certainly, Rishabh’s precision, attention to detail, and encyclopedic knowledge are integral to his profound academic success. Rishabh’s grades result from his focus on complete understanding of not only the details, but how they connect and why they matter.

ALEX … brilliant, witty, caring, and independent

RISHABH … driven, earnest, dedicated, and attentive

EMMA … confident, outspoken, highachieving, and compassionate

Rishabh never settles for good enough; he always maximizes. As classmate Charlie recollects, when there is an appropriate moment for a joke to be made, Rishabh takes the joke above and beyond where it needed to go. So maybe Rishabh isn’t always 100% perfect. But even in his flawed moments, Rishabh’s earnest nature makes others cheer for him. He is completely comfortable with what he knows, and he can openly admit when he doesn’t know something, but then he’ll fervently study it until he’s mastered every detail. In Japanese culture, there is an aesthetic called wabi-sabi, which describes a concept of art where the imperfections are intentionally left in the piece, such as a large knot in the wood, or a crack left unsmoothed. The idea of the aesthetic is that by keeping the imperfection juxtaposed with the final piece, one appreciates the natural beauty even more. Just as the imperfections in diamonds give their radiance, the imperfections in Rishabh allow us to appreciate the brilliance of this man beside me. ~ presented by Jamie Benigna

perspectives. You get an uninterrupted soapbox.” She also sees forensics as a means to transform herself and others. “I get to put on this full emotional costume so I can talk about the human experience,” she explains. In the book I hope she writes that will be entitled, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Forensics, I expect to find the following Emma quotes, which could easily be incorporated into the Roeper Philosophy: “Listen to all feedback. You can decide not to take it, but honest criticism is a necessary part of development.” And, finally, “We only have one perspective: through our own eyes. Live the human experience as much as possible through other people’s eyes.” ~ presented by Dan Jacobs

Rishabh participated in Golf, Forensics, and Linguistics Club all four years of high school. He was also the class treasurer in ninth, tenth and twelfth grades. Rishabh will attend Stanford University in the fall.

Without a doubt, Roeper has changed me for the better. I will always value the personal relationships with my teachers and supportive community. EMMA BROOKE KRETCHMER, daughter of Jody Lipton and Geoff Kretchmer of Huntington Woods, fights for what she believes in. When she was in third grade, she focused her wrath at puppy mills on designing an anti-mill website, then walked around the park in a sandwich board getting people to sign a fake petition she had made. In fifth grade, she wrote: “When my class voted if homework should stay or not, I was the only one who raised my hand for homework to stay. At that moment, I stood firm and confident. I don’t care if they judge me; I don’t care if they make fun of me. I am Emma Kretchmer, and this is how I stand.” Emma says, “Forensics is a social justice platform where you can talk about issues through different

Emma has participated in Forensics for all four years of high school. She was a member of Student Government, the Roeper Theatre Company, and the Student Diversity Advisory Committee for three years. Emma will attend Eastern Michigan University in the fall.

Thank you for the consistent encouragement. Roeper has given me the confidence to continue pursuing my dreams. JAKE MITCHELL JANOWITZ, son of Marla Must of Birmingham, staked out some areas of strong academic performance. He’s done excellent work in Economics. Jake aced the course in the fall, and he’s been a steady presence in class whom I could count on for an on-target response


when I put a question to the students. Jake’s strongest subject has been English. Kelly McDowell has repeatedly commented on Jake’s enthusiasm, growth, and strong ability in her classes. Kelly and his other teachers have also praised Jake’s willingness to pitch into course activities, especially when it involves helping other students. It’s great that Jake has performed solidly in academics. But Roeper is committed to education in the broad sense of the term, and Jake has embraced this outlook. In his final semester, Jake wandered into a couple of drawing and painting classes and has fallen in love with these disciplines. Jake is also an avid musician — he plays guitar and bass, something that he’s really passionate about. Jake’s sense of humor is basically sound. It revolves around beverages — chugging from big jugs of water with his friends until they break out laughing. This is the kind of humor that I can really get behind. You’re not likely to break anything by drinking water. This is good, clean fun. And of course, this is humor that keeps you hydrated. ~ presented by Max Collins Jake participated in Debate for two years, joined Film Festival as an upperclassman, and the Young Democratic Socialists as a senior. He will attend Michigan State University in the fall. Bye.

PEYTON AMIER KINCHEN-REED, daughter of Kymberly Kinchen of Oak Park and Ernest Reed of Detroit, is constantly seizing the next opportunity, looking to become her best self. She’s not content to coast on her natural abilities like her musical talent or what Jamie Benigna calls “the habits of mind of a great scientist” — instead, she


seeks out challenges that develop her talents into something more. She picked up the guitar she got for her 13th birthday, played it for hours every day and became a songwriter and polished performer. She crammed her high school schedule with world languages and science classes. She squared her shoulders and stepped up to serve as president of her Jack & Jill chapter. Tricia Haslinger, assistant volleyball coach and Roeper alum, admired Peyton’s perseverance and accountability — she knew Peyton would lead by example, working hard through injury or adversity. Linda Vernon and I saw the same unflappable sense of responsibility in the final stretches of yearbook production and talent show preparation. I hope you are lucky enough to have that one person in your life who you know will get something done right without adding drama to a stressful situation; for so many of us, that person is Peyton. Peyton’s hard work put her on this stage, accepting her high school diploma at the age of 16, and it’s how she’ll become a physician — by being not a dreamer, but a doer. ~ presented by Jamie Lyons-Eddy Peyton played Volleyball all four years of high school, was a member of the Black Student Union for three, was a member of the Roeper Theater Company as a freshman, participated in Soccer and Track in her junior year, joined Spirit Squad as an upperclassman, and joined Yearbook and the Student Diversity Advisory Committee as a senior. She will attend Howard University in the fall.

Thank you to the whole Roeper community for all of the love and support throughout my Roeper Experience. I have grown so much these past seven years, and I have you all to thank! I will miss all of my friends and teachers so much. See ya! JOHN GOFF KRUSZEWSKI, son of Kevin Kruszewski and Michelle Goff of Bloomfield Hills, has a very strong passion and curiosity for math and physics. John is not afraid to dig deep in other content

JAKE … perceptive, creative, funny, and analytical

PEYTON … responsible, hard-working, ambitious, and level-headed

JOHN… curious, analytical, sincere, and genuine

areas as well. If a moral, philosophical, or ethical question is being discussed, John never hesitates to apply his analytical skills. John loves to think on his feet and tackle complex questions.

LUKAS … confident, eloquent, determined, and strong-willed

Although John is mostly described as a sincere, kind-hearted, down to earth person, his friends note that his sense of humor is not to be missed. He doesn’t have to try too hard — his own laugh, which has been described as somewhat hyena-like, is contagious. Friends joke about John’s “gifted fascination” with food that borders on obsession coupled with a limitless capacity of eating said food. While in Myrtle Beach for spring break John really let loose with fellow foodie Peter Karmanos and consumed a “memorable all-meat pizza.” In addition to school life and friendships, John has an active lifestyle. He has an enormous love of the outdoors and has seemingly “done it all.” John has tried almost every sport, including ice hockey, lacrosse, and tae kwon do. Ever the outdoorsman, he enjoys hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing with friends. Most importantly though, John is an extremely successful swimmer. John attributes his character to two people; his parents, Michelle and Kevin. John stated “my parents have always done everything in their power to allow me to seize these opportunities, to help me reach my potential, achieve my goals, and become a well-rounded person.” ~ presented by Matt Vallus John participated in Debate for the last three years of high school, was class president his junior year, and joined Film Festival and the Young Democratic Socialists as a senior. He will attend the Virginia Military Institute in the fall.

Thanks for a fun seven years. LUKAS JOHN SZNEWAJS is the son of Marcy and John Szenwajs of Bloomfield Hills and the brother of Emma Sznewajs ’19 and Peter Sznewajs ‘21. Anyone who’s met Lukas knows of his penchant for procrastination, and that his concept of “time” differs greatly from the rest of ours. In Einstein’s 1905 paper, he described time dilation, which is where time passes more slowly as it approaches the speed of light. This seems possible

for Lukas, given his lightning-fast processing speed. Time passing in his frame of reference is vastly shorter than for the rest of us on Earth. In Lukas’s world, he spends only one or two minutes travelling between his classes or to a concert ... it’s just five, 10, or 30 minutes later for the rest of us. Joe Allen reminisces that “no matter the stress or gravity of the situation, Lukas has a special way of staying calm … despite the procrastination, he always manages to get the work done (not always on time though).” Lukas is years ahead in his intellect and simultaneously minutes behind any Earthly schedule. As Karen Johnson put it, “as Lukas finds even more things to do, he has dispensed with the notion of finite time to get it all done — for him, Einstein’s observation that time is an illusion has become an anthem.” But Karen also offers advice from the ancient Romans: “Hurry slowly. You will get to where you’re going and make good time; just remember to enjoy the journey because it happens only once.” But Lukas, maybe leave a few minutes earlier; you never know what you’ll find along the way that is worth the investment of your time. ~ presented by Jamie Benigna Lukas was a member of Band, the Roeper Theatre Company, Golf, and Student Government all four years of high school. As an upperclassman, he participated in Model UN, Soccer, Spirit Squad, and Spirit Week Committee. Lukas has also participated in Linguistics Club and Forensics. He will attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

Roeper, thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me for the past seven years. I am very grateful to have been a part of such an amazing community, and wish all the best to my friends, mentors, and family still on campus.


DREW DAVID DAGENAIS, son of David and Linda Dagenais of Troy, has a theatrical career that began when I snatched him out of the sixth grade hallway, threw a trench coat on him, and made him the drunk bum in Guys and Dolls. Since then, he has worn the robe of many characters. In between those roles, he found time to wear the hat of a stage manager and a house manager. Now it is time for him to put on something new, a suit … made of responsibility and integrity. Not a child’s costume, but the suit of a man. He has crafted it himself. It hasn’t always been easy, and he has made us a bit nervous in the process, but he has learned much in the making. For years now, Drew and I have been congratulating each other for our respective accomplishments with a reference to an old episode of Friends. The one where Joey was in a play, and everyone went to see the play, and the play was so bad that all anyone could honestly say to Joey afterwards about the play was, “You were in a play! I saw you! I was there!” This year, with so many milestones to celebrate, we’ve been saying that to each other often. “You were in a play! You sang a Senior Solo! You passed Physics! I saw you! I was there!” So, for the last time. Drew … You graduated! I saw you! I was there! I have always been so honored to be there! ~ presented by Ttari Hellmer Drew has been a member of the Roeper Theatre Company all four years of high school. He was in Band as an underclassman, joined Yearbook as a sophomore, and was a member of Choir for his senior year. He will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

It’s been real. JONATHON LEE GOLDEN BORJA, son of Paul and DeLana Borja of Bloomfield, has performances that have become Roeper legend. Jonathan’s time at Roeper is a story of quiet


bravery. A story of pushing himself to try new and different things. A story of creative growth. Susannah shared an experience when Jonathon was very reluctant to share his writing but finally did: “Your willingness to be vulnerable not only let many people know that someone felt the same way they did, but also inspired others to bring similar candor to their own writing.” Sometimes being brave means stepping out of your comfort zone, and for Jonathon, that sometimes meant being angry. I was surprised to learn that Jonathan’s favorite roles were ones that had a darker side. You see, Jonathon is really bad at being angry. In fact, his friend Kory commented, “He is the most consistently positive person I have ever met in my entire life. The only thing I have ever seen him struggle with is pretending to be angry.” When you speak with others about Jonathon, the most common word you will hear is “nice.” However, this word just doesn’t do Jonathon justice. Leora Bernard commented, “He’s incredibly loyal. He will drop anything, do anything, be anywhere if you ask him to — and never asks anything in return.” Abha Dearing said it best when she said: “In a society that sometimes values the ‘miracle’ of someone’s artistry, Jonathon proves that hard work makes you BETTER, and he is not afraid to put in the time and push himself to the next level.“ ~ presented by Laura Panek Jonathon ran Cross Country and was a member of the Roeper Theatre Company, Forensics, and Linguistics Club for all four years of high school. He also founded Spanish Club, joined Student Government as an upperclassman, participated in Choir, Physics Club, and Track, and was a Golden Apple Award presenter at the Gala this year. He will attend Stanford University in the fall.

I’m definitely ready (dare I say eager?) to move on, but I’ll miss this place, these people. Through countless conversations, classes, and events, you’ve made me who I am.

DREW … responsible, authentic, playful, and loyal

JONATHON … brave, positive, loyal, and kind


REYNE … conscientious, independent, sincere, and artistic

AUDREY … talented, perceptive, motivated, and diligent

child of Roman and Kathleen Lesnau of Troy, is analytical, brilliant, conscientious, creative, curious, dedicated, humble, independent, reflective, sincere, trustworthy, and unassuming. All of these things are wonderful, but what is it about a person that makes the world seem clearer? What is it about Reyne that leaves a vibrancy in their wake? In Middle School, Reyne was one of those students who was constantly doodling on their notes and assignments. Actually, calling it “doodling” doesn’t do it full justice: Reyne’s tests and quizzes and worksheets included full-blown sketches and works of art. Reyne was going to Motor City Comic Con, and cosplay was a must, but the character they wanted to dress as required a pair of chaps. We talked through the mostly thrifty, yet thoroughly awesome, way to do the costume. The project was a detriment to my sleep, and we worked for two solid weeks putting it all together; the details had to be right. Reyne wanted some help with something that had nothing — I mean nothing — to do with school, and they had no problem coming to me. Reyne wasn’t asking a favor, I wanted no payment, and I wasn’t under any professional obligation — it was just a collaborative project between two people who respected each other’s talents. Thoreau tells us that “a single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.” Aside from the obvious play on words, this quote reminds me of you; you have left Roeper many shades greener. ~ presented by Karen Johnson Reyne participated in Band, Gender Blender, and Linguistics Club all four years of high school and joined the Young Democratic Socialists as a senior. They will attend Middlebury College in the fall.

Thanks for everything, it’s been real. AUDREY ANNA BATDORF-BARNES,

ethic, but what brings it all together, what allows her to capitalize on these abilities and contribute so positively to the world around her is her razorsharp perception. As described by Ryan MersolBarg, “She often picks up on things, even if she doesn’t show she does. She is much more attentive and observant in the moment than people realize. Something that might not seem to have an obvious impact, she notices, she knows.”  When Cathy and Susie described Audrey in Stage III as someone who “enters the classroom open and ready for whatever the day has to offer,” they weren’t just referring to a plucky attitude, but also to Audrey’s internal motivation as a scholar and her zeal in exploring and questioning the world around her.   The results have been remarkable: she’s excelled in every subject area not only through diligence, but also via creativity and risk-taking. In writing classes, I’ve seen Audrey challenge herself again and again to take on exceedingly challenging topics, choosing to eschew a more pedestrian path when a subject truly compels her.  Audrey’s success is born from the ownership she takes over her life. She looks at the landscape, selects her desired destination, charts her course, and gets started. She never closes off paths or pigeonholes herself, but rather honestly assesses her place in the world around her and considers what needs to happen to achieve her goal. ~ presented by Susannah Nichols Audrey played Volleyball and participated in Yearbook for three years. She also participated in Choir, the Roeper Theatre Company, and Forensics for two years as an underclassman. She will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

I am beyond grateful to The Roeper School for molding me into the person I am today, and to my parents for dedicating themselves to advantaging me in this world with the best education and community for which I could have asked.

daughter of David and Ann Batdorf-Barnes of Rochester Hills and sister of Chris Batdorf-Barnes ’10, has many natural talents and a relentless work


DAVID CHRISTOPHER DEGAZIO is the son of Dean and Jennifer Degazio of Birmingham and the brother of Julia Degazio. He participated in Forensics all four years of high school and has also participated in Linguistics Club, Robotics, and Roeper Tabletop.

I’m finally free. CAMERON HALE JOHNSON, son of Maureen Dailey and Douglas Handsford of Bloomfield Hills, is an academic phenom, a creative genius, and a brilliantly socially-aware advocate. Anyone who knows Cameron has been at some point astounded by his searingly sharp intellect and inspired by his intense creativity and his abiding concern for social justice. But this is only half of the truth … because what endears Cameron to many is the simple fact that he is fun to be around! When it comes down to it, punk is nothing if not fun. And like the genre, Cameron’s form of questioning and deconstructing the world around him is always done with a joyful irony and a wicked sense of humor. Cameron views what he is passionate about, not simply in terms of aesthetics. More than this, he sees something profound, human, and truthful. He sees the necessary relationship between art and humanity — and the ability of art to save lives. Ttari Hellmer believes that Cameron’s strength is in his advocacy and the way in which he defends any and all who need help protecting themselves, as an understated and powerful example of someone who knows himself and how he can best help others. Andrew said that “Cameron is intellectually honest and self-aware and that he doesn’t rush his intellectual pursuits, even while they are crazy ambitious.” Andrew is also impressed with Cameron’s sense of humor and “unique ability to say creatively disturbing things.” Cameron’s mother, Maureen, considers Cameron to be the most ethical person she has ever known, and says:


“Because of him — my mind and heart have been opened.” ~ presented by Kelly McDowell Cameron participated in Band and Gender Blender for all four years of high school and was a member of the Roeper Theatre Company and Choir for three years. He joined Film Festival as an upperclassman and participated in Spanish Club and the Young Democratic Socialists as a senior. He will attend Swarthmore College in the fall.

“Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its sleep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.” – Herman Melville SHELBY MATTHEW RAMINICK, son of Dena and David Raminick of West Bloomfield and brother of Noah Raminick ‘15, delights in anything absurd or outrageous and loves to keep surprising his audience. As his friend Kory recounts, “Shelby is completely unpredictable and has the most obscure sense of humor.” Shelby began doodling long ago to help him focus in class. It always delighted me to find Homer Simpson or some other character on his lab reports. Janet Szeto describes his work as “boldly imaginative and fun to look at.” She also appreciated Shelby’s habit of visiting every other student in class to say an encouraging word. Jamal Alaswad describes Shelby as a Renaissance Man, and I couldn’t agree more. His creative spirit goes beyond drawing to include music: Shelby plays guitar everyday — he also plays the mandolin, didgeridoo, melodica, bongos and sometimes even Jake Janowitz’s bass guitar played upside down. In Neurobiology I found Shelby to be one of the deepest thinkers I have encountered. He sees the world in a very unique way that allows him to explore ideas and make new connections others miss. Karen appreciated his written reflections in Anthropology and commented that, “The lucid

DAVID … thoughtful, sarcastic, intelligent, and empathetic

CAMERON … creative, intellectual, passionate, and ambitious

SHELBY … artistic, thoughtful, absurd, and insightful

JOE … sincere, patient, compassionate, and authentic

manner with which Shelby would express himself left me feeling somewhat envious, for the clarity with which he shared his powerful insights was something I spent years in graduate school trying to achieve.” I asked his mother, Dena what she was proudest of, she said that he has a strong moral compass, and she knows that he will always do the right thing. ~ presented by Laura Panek Shelby participated in Robotics in eleventh grade and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.


ALEXIS … boisterous, honest, tenacious, and confident

son of David and Colleen Allen of Detroit and brother of Tom Allen ’13 and Francis Allen ’21, was described in Stage II as “sweetness, sincerity, and exuberance in the form of a human child.” In Stage III he was referenced as “one in a million.” In seventh grade Colleen Potocki stated, “I had never imagined that one of my students might be President of the United States — but Joe could do it.” In eleventh grade Susannah Nichols recalled a message from Emery stating, “Joe has so many good recommendations that I am skipping Ohiopyle and applying for canonization for him.” On the bus to Model UN events you can always find Joe mentoring a student that is new to MUN. “He doesn’t make our Middle School kids feel like middle school kids” says Cori Hatcher. His patience and compassion for other students are endless. In another selfless act, Joe is known for showing up simply to help teachers move furniture during building construction. Joe epitomizes the saying that actions speak louder than words (even though his words very often lead to action). True perfection is multi-faceted. It includes leadership, standing up for others and for what you believe in, and being authentic. Having a gentle heart, humility, and integrity. It is taking yourself seriously, and knowing when not to take yourself so seriously. How did he come to possess all of

these traits? Joe simply says, “My parents have taught me that leadership is not about titles, it’s about what we do.” ~ presented by Matt Vallus Joe has participated in Debate, Fun Fun Fun, Soccer, Forensics, and Student Government all four years of high school. He’s been a member of the Baseball team, the Basketball team, Track, Sierra Club, Spirit Squad, and Spirit Week Committee. Joe joined Model UN as a sophomore and was the class president for both junior and senior years. He will attend Yale University in the fall.

After 13 years, I cannot believe that I will be leaving the community that made me who I am today. I cannot thank enough every teacher, coach, friend, and everyone else who made this experience so incredible!

ALEXIS CHRISTINE JOHNSON, daughter of Junior and LaShonn Johnson of Southfield, makes her presence known. Her big boisterous personality immediately fills a room, her dominance in athletics is unmistakable, and the impression on those around her is lasting. Alexis is direct, honest, and straightforward. Jamie Lyons-Eddy calls Lexi “whip-smart and decisive,” and appreciates that she never backs down. Lexi does what Lexi wants to do, jumping in head first and then making the best of every situation. Ellie Moskowitz says Lexi’s persistence and tenacity is one of the things friends value most. “Lexi is the first one to have your back and is not afraid to confront whoever has done us wrong head on.” Alexis grasps each challenge, ready to prove herself and stand by those she cares about.


Alexandra Klee values Lexi’s ability to push teammates, not because she wants a win, but because she cares about her friends’ individual improvement, learning, and enjoyment of the sport. Her enthusiasm is contagious, the type of spark that gets an entire crowd at Spooky Volleyball on their feet cheering when she gets the third block in a row. This passion makes her a great leader and a true teacher of the game. Lexi has been involved in our community for a long time, and her growth through the years is profound. She’s gained poise and maturity, all while maintaining the spirit, love, and drive to help others that draws everyone in. Lisa Baker said, “Her confidence and dedication makes me proud beyond measure at the journey she’s taken and the person she’s become. She’s a force of nature.”  ~ presented by Christina Miceli Alexis has participated in Band, Basketball, Track, Volleyball, and Yearbook in all four years of high school. She also participated in Choir, Dance, Black Student Union, and Girls’ Mentoring as a freshman, was a member of Spirit Squad as a junior, and joined the Tuna Talk staff as a senior. She will attend Wittenberg University in the fall.

Thirteen years of great memories, and friends that were made who I will never forget. I am going to miss this school that made me the person I am today. ELLIE RACHEL MOSKOWITZ, is the daughter of Leslie and Michael Moskowitz of Bloomfield Hills and sister of Asher ’19 and Nathan Moskowitz ’19. As early as Stage II, Ellie’s teachers saw her burgeoning passion for social justice, noting that she was “intensely interested in topics … about the larger world.” Ellie’s idea of fun is doing community service. But she doesn’t just tackle large-scale social issues; she’s pretty great at dealing with personal ones,


too. Courtney Fox, Class of 2015, speaks for many when she says that Ellie is always available with “supportive advice and a fresh perspective.” Akwia Tilton says Ellie is a “super soccer star,” and her teammates agree that Ellie not only kept the team going by joining, but also became a role model for the younger players. Leora Bernard says: “She doesn’t do anything halfway. As a friend Ellie supports your passions no matter what, and as a teammate she tries to be the best she can be for herself and her team. She doesn’t just start things; she finishes them.” Ellie has done more community service in her 18 years than most of us will ever do, but her greatest gift may be her ability to inspire others to serve. In seventh grade, Dan observed that Ellie alternated between sounding like a kid, and like a “powerful, confident speaker on a mission to convert the passive masses to become enthusiastic fellow healers of our world.” ~ presented by Jamie Lyons-Eddy Ellie was a member of the Forensics team and Student Government all four years in high school. She was a member of Yearbook as a freshman, a member of Sierra Club and Spirit Squad as a junior, and was a member of the Student Diversity Advisory Committee in tenth and eleventh grades. She joined the Soccer team as an upperclassman and founded the Jewish Student Union her senior year. Ellie will attend Elon University in the fall.

Thank you to this incredible community for shaping me and pushing me to do what I love. If it were not for the Roeper community, I truly believe that I would have never reached the potential to be the person that I am today. SIMON IGNATIUS ROENNECKE, son of Werner Roennecke and Patricia Ignatius of Pleasant Ridge, brother of Werner Roennecke ‘11 and Eric Roennecke ‘12, was practically born on Roeper’s campus. Even at a young age, Roeper was making its mark on Simon, but no one could have known the impact that Simon would later have on Roeper.

ELLIE … passionate, supportive, empathetic, and powerful

SIMON … athletic, humble, focused, and lighthearted

ETHAN … adventurous, loyal, genuine, and imaginative

NADAV … enthusiastic, engaged, caring, and confident

Today, we all know that Simon is a veritable soccer star. Winning the Soccer State Championship was one of Simon’s greatest memories at Roeper and a dream come true. If you ask Simon, he modestly explains that he felt exhilarated playing with a team of friends that he respected and trusted. Humility has been Simon’s M.O. all along. Simon has mastered persistence and focus when it comes to academics, all while maintaining his humble attitude and appreciation of others. As the end of Simon’s Upper School career approached, Zach Hobson admired Simon’s determination saying, “He only became more motivated to become the best student and soccer player that he could be, proving that complacency is not part of his DNA.” But Simon isn’t all business all the time. Soccer also taught him how to have fun and keep it lighthearted. These small, sometimes routine jokes may seem simply endearing if not totally silly, but they are Simon’s way of ensuring that everyone is having as much fun as he is. That’s what makes us love being on Simon’s team the most. He enjoys being a fan just as much as being the star player. ~ presented by Michal McConville Simon participated in Soccer and Tuna Talk all four years of high school and will attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

Thank you to The Roeper School for the past 13 years of my life. This school has made me who I am today. Thank you to all of the teachers who have devoted so much of their time into their students — this school would be nothing without you.

of Ethan, like a chameleon changing with his moods. Each new look, a statement. Each change, an adventure. Despite his passion for excitement and all things new, Ethan still values tradition. A Roeper student of 13 years, Ethan has maintained ties to Lower School teachers. Jarie Ruddy remembers Ethan as always being a “bright spot in her day” and says that he still visits her regularly. Ethan gets great joy from solidifying these relationships, cementing these bonds that are so precious to him. He cherishes each person he comes across as they are woven into the fabric of his life. Ethan somehow manages to be experimental while maintaining time-honored tradition. He has rejected all norms and stereotypes in order to evolve into the most complete form of himself. Anna Gillikin explains, “Most of us reign in the parts of ourselves that we think people would object to … Ethan is one of the most confident people I’ve ever met. He’s entirely genuine.” Ethan is unapologetically himself in every way. This selfacceptance and certainty of who he is have, in turn, given permission to everyone around him to be comfortable and feel free to be themselves, too. ~ presented by Michal McConville Ethan was a member of Gender Blender and Theatre as an upperclassman and participated in Yearbook for two years. He will attend Clark University in the fall.

These past 14 years have been the most lifechanging and happiest ever. Thank you to Roeper and all of my friends at it.



is the son of Steven and Donna Silk of Birmingham and the brother of Elliot Silk ’18. Teaching Ethan for five years has been like having front row tickets to the most epic avantgarde fashion show of life. Over the years, we have seen many varieties

Pais and Beth Greenapple of Southfield, seems to be bursting with enthusiasm about whatever is being discussed, or seen — as in the case of the ninth grade trip to Washington, D.C. where Nadav was heard exclaiming, “This is amazing!” as he encountered a museum exhibit, the Senate Floor and Arlington National Cemetery.


Nadav’s comfort and confidence with writing has been present since Stage III, when teacher Mary Windram observed, “Words and phrasings, unique to him, seem to fall effortlessly from his pencil.” Nadav possesses not only an innate gift for writing, but also a genuine desire to make the most of that gift. Even better, he wants to use his talents for good — to tell important stories, to make people think and feel, to communicate ideas that need to be discussed. But as his mom Beth wrote on his application to Roeper 14 years ago: “Nadav is first and foremost a people person. Nadav cares for and genuinely enjoys other people.“ “You love to find ways to build connections with those around you — you always make others feel appreciated and valued,“ teacher Laura Panek wrote. “More importantly than anything else, I see a great number of people who will have been far better off for knowing Nadav,” Nick Lyon says. “This is, in my view, the most important contribution anyone can really make, and a contribution that not many are capable of in quite the way he is.” ~ presented by Linda Vernon Nadav participated in the Roeper Theatre Company, Tuna Talk, Gender Blender, and Linguistics Club in all four years of high school. As a senior, he joined Amnesty International and the Young Democratic Socialists. He has also participated in Robotics and the Jewish Student Union. He will attend Michigan State University in the fall.

Roeper’s community of teachers and faculty supported me through thick and thin, and I hope this school keeps that love and philosophy close to its heart through coming change. RYAN MERSOL-BARG is the son of Mike and Mary Jo Mersol-Barg of Bloomfield and the brother of Mike Mersol-Barg ‘04, Amy MersolBarg ’05, and Kevin MersolBarg ‘09. After interviewing Ryan and his friends, I’m convinced that his family is part of a government program to train lethal undercover debate ninja spies. His intense spy training, however, is obvious.


Audrey Barnes, who has known Ryan since Stage III, says, “I would walk into their kitchen and say, ‘Hi,’ and then the entire family would launch into a political barrage.” Audrey goes on to say that, “If he comes to the part of the argument where he knows he’s gotcha, then he gets his little smile on his face. And then he looks at you and he’s like, ‘I know I have you.’” Joe says, “If we have a class clown, it would be Ryan. But Ryan is also someone you can have a deep conversation with. Not just politically, or about black holes, but a deep heart-to-heart conversation. He can snap from the person who’s working mischief at 2am to someone who I can tell my secrets to, someone who is truly empathetic.” Two years ago, Ryan demonstrated wisdom and perspective that no 16-year-old could have. He explained in a free write in our class that science fiction is writing where “the future is still possible to experience … This makes the freedom of fiction more relevant because we may experience or affect it … Science fiction is interactive fiction.” Ryan may be a lethal undercover debate ninja spy, but it is clear that he is one of the good guys. ~ presented by Dan Jacobs Ryan participated in Band and Jazz Band and will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

CLAYTON JOSEPH SPEVAK, son of Clint Spevak of Bloomfield Hills and Theresa Tobkin of Beverly Hills and brother of Catherine Spevak ‘11, entered my life through sixth grade homeroom, science, all manner of elective classes and free blocks. I wrote then, “Give him a challenge, a lab, a problem to solve, an invention to build, and he is there 110%.” Using his free time, he created and installed multiple additions to enrich the habitat of our beloved Teddy the Wonder Lizard and gave countless free time to help me out. But, first and foremost, we spent hours a week over months and years as he passionately took on LTU’s Robofest Autonomous Challenges. From a piano-playing robot to rescue bots, his innovation and persistence brought him great frustration and great joy. Entering Upper School he continued his passions: Robotics through OCCRA and Avondale’s Nationally ranked First Robotics teams, achieving

RYAN … funny, empathetic, smart, and wise

CLAYTON … clever, curious, driven, and innovative

Jamie Lyons-Eddy says, “Clayton is a curious, creative thinker who hasn’t always fit into the ‘boxes’ that school requires. The fact that he is primarily motivated by curiosity may make him more ready than some higher achieving students who have been conditioned to work for scores rather than for true understanding.” ~ presented by Linda Pence Clayton was a member of the Robotics and Golf teams, and he was active in Student Government. He will attend Michigan Tech in the fall.


SARAH VICTORIA SHAYA is the daughter

SARAH … kind, imaginative, self-assured, and compassionate

Eagle Scout honors, building a handicap ramp, investigating how all manner of things work, while committing to the community and friends. Friend Peter Karmonos shared that, “Even though I have only known Clayton for three years, he has become one of my best friends”

of Barb and Jeff Shaya of Birmingham. Sarah participated in Choir and the Women’s Affinity Group as a junior. She will attend the University of Michigan in the fall. I will be forever grateful for the teachers and

students who shared their knowledge and love of learning with me! F



Lisa Baker

Upper School Director


We gathered today to celebrate these uniquely brilliant students and because of the nature of a “Roeper graduation,” and the commitment and insight of each of our speakers today, we have glimpsed into their high school journey. This time of year is filled with weeks of graduation parties and wonderful visits with family. You deserve a great celebration. You have all worked hard and developed into some pretty fabulous people. However, your life has just started. Trust me, you don’t want to peak in high school. In fact, this moment is merely a pause, a time to reflect and celebrate and be proud. So what’s next? How do you move into the world beyond this school? When I look back and think about you as your “ninth grade selves,” I wonder if you would have ever believed how you would grow in four years. Maybe if you begin to think about it, you might believe more firmly in the changes that are sure to come in the next four. Ellie, could you have imagined organizing the first Pontiac SOUP and learning how to deal with people who do not always share well? Reyne, could you have hoped to create the comic-con costumes you crafted this year or teamed up with Ethan to visit offices of your Senators and Representatives in Washington and advocate with such clarity and purpose as you both did in February? Could any of us have considered Jonathon Borja as a Spanish singer-songwriter or Leora Bernard as an author? Did any of us imagine that Jonathan Harris would take over the fridge and become a smoothie-making bandit and State finalist in Track? I know few realized how funny Ben Fisher would become, or the bravery and courage Brandon Davis would muster to launch a website to help those with disordered eating. Do you all know that John K will be swimming collegiately or that Audrey is recording an album that will surely blow us all away. We all knew that Emma had a gift for forensics, but did we know it would provide her with the confidence and grace she is developing? Or did we realize that Evan would end up devoting most of his time to the Forensics Team? Simon and soccer go hand in hand; we’ve all seen that. But his senior quote reads, “I’m not going to college to play school.” No one should, for a moment, believe he is a one-dimensional person. Ryan and Joe, we all know you’re excellent


debaters — but now you’re in the top 10 in the Nation! I think Jake would have laughed me out of the room if I’d suggested that in his senior year he’d create an art portfolio that would move me to tears. Lexi, I’m not surprised by your interest in teaching — but math? Only Christina could have predicted that one. Melanie, did you even imagine you’d end up spending hours coaching kids in robotics? I think that’s more of a testament to your unwavering support of friends like Nate, who loves robots but lives for service. Rishabh, we know you’re a brilliant scientist, but I’m most impressed with the man you’ve become. Like Peter, you have a sense of what is important in friendship and fun. As Shelby’s often repeated senior quote reminds us, “Saturday is for the boys.” I am not sure that the seventh grade film festival provided much in the way of foreshadowing for Nadav’s film-making prowess, but he’s developed quite an eye. Peyton, I could not have known that your kind heart and supportive spirit would continue to grow — that seems impossible. It’s no wonder that Howard University wanted you and Kory to join the Class of 2021 — you’re two of the most generous people I know! Cameron, the courage and confidence that has grown in you since our first meeting the summer before ninth grade is remarkable — I will never forget what you and your family have done for our community. Andrew Dietz’s addition to this class pushed every student to lean in just a little bit more — and I imagine that will remain true at University of Chicago. Drew, at the end of our trip to D.C. you said, “I used to think Roeper was small. Now I realize there are alums everywhere.” Congratulations on being one of them! Over the last four years Kyler has started to develop a little, positive voice in his head, and I think it may be that of Sterling Archer saying, “Phrasing.”

… this moment is merely a pause, a time to reflect and celebrate and be proud.

David Degazio is a gentle, intellectual force in this class, and I predict he will help us to reshape our computer programming and engineering curriculum in the future — he’s brilliant, and we’re lucky to have him. Kenji and Elizabeth are two of the most dedicated and hard-working students in this class — that’s something that never changed. Your work ethic and commitment to community will continue to serve you well at University of Michigan. They’re lucky to have you.

Please remember to imagine — to dream — and to never settle for less than you can give or less than you deserve.

Phoenix and Jeremy are off to the Northeast and will continue to write, imagine different approaches like Romeo and Juliet as a comedy or reminding the world to #freejerm. Lukas is just a few hours south of you, and what I’ve learned about him is that if he chooses to do something, nothing will stand in his way of accomplishing it! Alex and Clayton, you may have different interests, but I think you have honed an ability to ask deeply thought-provoking questions about how we live and work together in this world. And Adam Harris … you keep looking. You will find your corner of the sky — it’s the one where all the light shines in. Life does not come with guarantees. The truth is that a life well lived, is a life filled with hope and possibility that you create. We may look back

fondly at our past, and if we’re wise, we will hold onto the lessons of that past without living in it. The world beyond Roeper’s walls may push back at you. People you encounter may want to oversimplify or pigeon-hole you. They may ask you to fit into a mold they have created for you that does not fit. Be gentle with these people. Often they mean well, and you will know better. You will know that complexity is beautiful, and that there are multiple paths and methods to problem solving. There is no one “right way.” You will notice the false dichotomies that exist around us, and I hope, you will challenge them. You will discover friends and allies along your journey. Hold them close as you do your Roeper connections. These people are your glue. Enjoy the next few weeks. Bask in the Michigan summer sun and take a well-earned break. Please remember to imagine — to dream — and to never settle for less than you can give or less than you deserve. It has been an honor and a pleasure to witness this portion of your journey. Now it’s time. Go be brilliant in this wide world — and have some fun doing it. Good people of The Roeper School, it is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce the graduates — the Class of 2017! F



SENIOR PROJECTS 2017 The George A. Roeper Senior Projects are designed to allow students to follow their personal passions and extend their learning beyond the classroom. These projects represent skill sets that students have developed over time. The students have managed at least one semester of independent, self-directed learning. They have been supported by mentors within our walls as well as professionals in their respective areas of interest outside the Roeper Community. It would be easy to focus solely on the results these students have produced; however, the process they employed and relationships they developed are likely what will impact them most in the years to come. Listed here are the Class of 2017 participants and their projects.

Leora Bernard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marathon Readers

Phoenix Bieneman . . . . . . . . . . Romeo and Juliet: A Comedy

Jonathon Borja . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cรณmo Escribir una Canciรณn

Brandon Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Becoming Yourself Again: Eating Disorders

Andrew Dietz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Name

Rishabh Iyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontiers in Modern Medicine

Alexis Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 + 1 = 5

Emma Kretchmer . . . . . . . . . . . Forensics: The Quest for Truth

Nathaniel Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M.A.R.S. Mission: Making Awesome Robots in Schools

Reyne Lesnau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bionis and Mehonis

Ellie Moskowitz . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pontiac SOUP

Nadav Pais-Greenapple . . . . . . For the World to Come: A Tale of Love, Hope, and Diaspora

Lukas Sznewajs . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gotta Go Fast!



AWARDS & HONORS The Order of

The Roeperian Empire

The Fighting Tuna

In 1975, David Jaffe ’74 proposed the creation of a new award to recognize exceptional Upper School students. George accepted the proposal, and each year since, the school has awarded individuals who, by virtue of their extraordinary sharing of time, effort and self, made outstanding contributions to the Upper School community. Remarkable achievements alone do not qualify a student for the award. Contributing to the community is most important. Richard B. Morris ’72 coined the term “Order of the Roeperian Empire” for the award, and designed the official crest.

The Order of

The Order of The Roeperian Empire 2017 Recipients

Each year the reigning Knight or Dame Commander of the Order of the Fighting Tuna appoints a successor from the Junior Class. The Order of the Fighting Tuna was established in 1985 to “protect the honor of the members of the community of the Roeper City and Country School.” Each year, the new member of the Order is knighted during a ceremony befitting the mock-seriousness of the occasion.

The 2017/18 Fighting Tuna 24th Knight of the Order Ryan Mersol-Barg appointed


25 th Knight of the Order


L to R: Simon Roennecke will play soccer at the University of Notre Dame. Alexis Johnson was signed by Wittenberg University to run Track; she was also one of Roeper’s Athletes of the Year. Nathaniel Lee was also named Athlete of the Year. Lukas Sznewajs was a George A. Roeper Sportsmanship award winner. Joe Allen was a ScholarAthlete, as was Audrey BatdorfBarnes. Adam Harris was the third Athlete of the Year. Not pictured: the female GAR Sportsmanship awardee Melanie Wells.

2017 Roeper Athletic Awards

George A. Roeper Sportsmanship Award

lukas sznewajs melanie wells

Scholar-Athlete Award

Athletes of the Year Award

joe allen adam harris alexis johnson audrey batdorf-barnes nathaniel lee



PASSIONS & PURSUITS Roeper students are not simply products of the curriculum; they are an integral part of the learning process and are encouraged to be fully engaged community participants by uncovering their passions in a myriad of venues. This important dimension allows students to experience the special rewards and self-awareness that come from exploration and mastering. Here is a snapshot of the Class of 2017 journey:

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Andrew Dietz Alexander Exler Ryan Mersol-Barg Kenji Otani Nadav Pais-Greenapple

BLACK STUDENT UNION Kory Hamblin Adam Harris Jonathan Harris Alexis Johnson Peyton Kinchen-Reed Melanie Wells

BOOK CLUB Phoenix Bieneman Jeremy Goldman Cameron Johnson

CHESS CLUB Elizabeth Stayton

FILM FESTIVAL Leora Bernard Andrew Dietz Jeremy Goldman Kory Hamblin Jake Janowitz Cameron Johnson John Kruszewski Kenji Otani Elizabeth Stayton

FORENSICS Joseph Allen Audrey Batdorf-Barnes Leora Bernard Phoenix Bieneman Jonathon Borja Evan Buikema Brandon Davis David Degazio Benjamin Fisher Jeremy Goldman Rishabh Iyer Emma Kretchmer Ryan Mersol-Barg Ellie Moskowitz Elizabeth Stayton Lukas Sznewajs

DEBATE Joseph Allen Leora Bernard Evan Buikema Brandon Davis Benjamin Fisher Jeremy Goldman Jake Janowitz John Kruszewski Ryan Mersol-Barg

FUN, FUN, FUN Joseph Allen Leora Bernard Jonathan Harris Ryan Mersol-Barg


GENDER BLENDER Phoenix Bieneman Jeremy Goldman Cameron Johnson Reyne Lesnau Nadav Pais-Geenapple Ethan Silk

GIRLS’ MENTORING Leora Bernard Alexis Johnson Elizabeth Stayton

JEWISH STUDENT UNION Leora Bernard Ellie Moskowitz Nadav Pais-Greenapple

THE MUSE Phoenix Bieneman Jeremy Goldman Elizabeth Stayton

MUSIC SPIRIT SQUAD Joseph Allen Leora Bernard Phoenix Bieneman Adam Harris Alexis Johnson Peyton Kinchen-Reed Nathaniel Lee Ryan Mersol-Barg Ellie Moskowitz Lukas Sznewajs

LINGUISTICS CLUB Leora Bernard Phoenix Bieneman Jonathon Borja David Degazio Benjamin Fisher Jeremy Goldman Rishabh Iyer Reyne Lesnau Nadav Pais-Greenapple Elizabeth Stayton Lukas Sznewajs

INSTRUMENTAL Evan Buikema Drew Dagenais Benjamin Fisher Cameron Johnson Alexis Johnson John Kruszewski Reyne Lesnau Ryan Mersol-Barg Kenji Otani Lukas Sznewajs Melanie Wells

VOCAL Audrey Batdorf-Barnes Phoenix Bieneman Jonathon Borja Drew Dagenais Jonathan Harris Adam Harris Cameron Johnson Alexis Johnson Sarah Shaya

PHYSICS CLUB MODEL UN Joseph Allen Kyler Cousins Kory Hamblin Jonathan Harris Cameron Johnson Ryan Mersol-Barg Lukas Sznewajs

Phoenix Bieneman Jonathon Borja Evan Buikema Nathaniel Lee Ryan Mersol-Barg



Leora Bernard Jonathon Borja David Degazio Cameron Johnson Peter Karmanos Elizabeth Stayton Nathaniel Lee Ryan Mersol-Barg Kenji Otani SPIRIT WEEK Nadav Pais-Greenapple COMMITTEE Shelby Raminick Jospeh Allen Clayton Spevak Leora Bernard Elizabeth Stayton Brandon Davis Melanie Wells Ryan Mersol-Barg Lukas Sznewajs

ROEPER DANCE ENSEMBLE Alexis Johnson Elizabeth Stayton

ROEPER TABLETOP David Degazio Kenji Otani

ROEPER THEATRE COMPANY Audrey Batdorf-Barnes Phoenix Bieneman Jonathon Borja Evan Buikema Drew Dagenais Andrew Dietz Kory Hamblin Jonathan Harris Adam Harris Cameron Johnson Peyton Kinchen-Reed Emma Kretchmer Ryan Mersol-Barg Kenji Otani Nadav Pais-Greenapple Ethan Silk Elizabeth Stayton Lukas Sznewajs

STUDENT DIVERSITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Kory Hamblin Adam Harris Emma Kretchmer Ellie Moskowitz Peyton Kinchen-Reed Melanie Wells

STUDENT GOVERNMENT Joseph Allen Jonathon Borja Emma Kretchmer John Kruszewski Ryan Mersol-Barg Ellie Moskowitz Clayton Spevak Lukas Sznewajs

Joseph Allen Ellie Moskowitz Kenji Otani

VOLLEYBALL Audrey Batdorf-Barnes Leora Bernard Alexis Johnson Peyton Kinchen-Reed Elizabeth Stayton Melanie Wells

BASEBALL Joseph Allen Kyler Cousins Adam Harris Nathaniel Lee

BASKETBALL Joseph Allen Brandon Davis Jonathan Harris Adam Harris Alexis Johnson Nathaniel Lee Melanie Wells


YEARBOOK Audrey Batdorf-Barnes Kyler Cousins Drew Dagenais Jeremy Goldman Alexis Johnson Emma Kretchmer Ellie Moskowitz Peyton Kinchen-Reed Ethan Silk

CROSS COUNTRY Jonathon Borja Evan Buikema Melanie Wells

GOLF Rishabh Iyer Clayton Spevak Lukas Sznewajs

SOCCER Joseph Allen Leora Bernard Kyler Cousins Jonathan Harris Adam Harris Nathaniel Lee Ellie Moskowitz Peyton Kinchen-Reed Simon Roennecke Lukas Sznewajs

YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS Phoenix Bieneman Andrew Dietz Jeremy Goldman Jake Janowitz Cameron Johnson John Kruszewski Reyne Lesnau Nadav Pais-Greenapple F

SWENEXT (Roeper Chapter of Society of Women Engineers) Evan Buikema



Phoenix Bieneman Benjamin Fisher Jeremy Goldman Alexis Johnson Nadav Pais-Greenapple Simon Roennecke

TRACK Joseph Allen Jonathon Borja Brandon Davis Kory Hamblin Jonathan Harris Adam Harris Alexis Johnson Peter Karmanos Nathaniel Lee Kenji Otani Peyton Kinchen-Reed Melanie Wells






Of the 39 members of the Class of 2017, all will go on to college immediately. Five students were named National Merit Finalists, and one is a National Merit Scholar. Several students won prestigious scholarships from their chosen universities: Marlboro College Renaissance Scholarship, EMU Emerald Scholarship, University of Alabama Presidential Scholarship, UofM Alumnae Club Scholarship as well as a number of Regent’s Scholarships. Three students will attend college on athletic scholarships. Class members were admitted to the listed institutions and enrolled at colleges and universities in BOLD CAPS.


Juliette Olejnik

Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Fund

A NOTE FROM JULIETTE Juliette’s comments were delivered at the traditional Junior-Senior Dinner the evening before commencement.

As the Alumni Director, it is my honor to be the first to officially welcome you into the Roeper alumni community. Welcome, Class of 2017! Even though you are moving on, I am here to remind you that you will always be a part of the Roeper family. You are simply transitioning from being Roeper students to the next phase of being Roeper alumni. From my experience, our alumni are some of the most extraordinary and inspirational people I have ever met. With the addition of you all, that will be more true than ever.

We want to keep in touch with you and celebrate your milestones because you are, and always will be, a part of the Roeper family.

Some of you are probably ready to move on and leave this place where it can seem like everyone knows a bit too much about you. But there will be times when you think back and realize what a gift it was to have so many people care about you so deeply. Just last weekend we held a reunion for anyone who had ever attended or graduated from the school. Roeper alumni and their families representing nearly every class year going as far back as the 1950s came back “home” to reunite with old classmates and teachers. It was truly remarkable to see how strong their connection to the school was even after being away for years, and sometimes decades. Throughout the reunion, I heard phrases like “how Roeperians adjust in a non-Roeperian world” and what it’s like to “be gifted in a non-gifted world.” These are things that your new colleagues won’t necessarily be able to relate to or quite understand, but something that all Roeper alumni face as they integrate into new schools, new communities, and new jobs after leaving Roeper. With nearly 2,000 Roeper alumni out there, you can be sure that wherever you are headed, there will be a Roeperian nearby who is eager to connect, to answer questions, and to serve as a resource for you because that’s what they do — they support each other. Our hope is that as a Roeper alum, you will do the same for those who come after you. Please know that all of us want to hear from you in the upcoming years. We want to keep in touch with you and celebrate your milestones because you are, and always will be, a part of the Roeper family. I promise to do my very best to serve as a bridge that keeps you connected to the school. And while I have no doubt that you will all find your way, know that you will always have an entire community of Roeper alumni to lean on. As is tradition, the alumni office has included a small gift in the bags you are receiving today. A mug listing all of your classmates as well as a Roeper branded laundry bag to remind you of us… and to remind you to do your laundry. Again, congratulations, Class of 2017! F







Denita Banks-Sims

Director of Development and Publications

PARTING THOUGHTS In this dizzying year of celebration, we planned and created events, publications, websites, paraphernalia, parties, picnics and parades that reflected the significance of the school’s 75th Birthday. It was grand! We hosted visiting educators of international renown … became happy parade and puppet troubadours …regaled in the simple magic of reimagined cardboard … adapted a grassy patch of field to a living greeting card … transformed 9,000 square feet of Roeper real estate … and embraced a humanitarian of incalculable measure. It was grand! And still, the highlight of this past year and every other in our 75 years, is the passionate commitment of Roeper teachers. They are the core and the strength of the program and the essential reason that Roeper remains the oldest independent school for the gifted in the country. Their remarkable talents are interwoven in the profiles of our 2017 graduates. They teach and mentor and guide and befriend and encourage and caution and care. My customary commencement perch affords a view of the graduates and all of the beaming family members gathered to soak in this important milestone — and it never gets old. My vantage point also provides a clear sight line to occasionally observe the faculty and staff that are assembled to present a narrative that exacts the significance of this milestone moment — the noteworthy and celebrated “Roeper Graduation speech.” Roeper teachers delight in the privilege of preparing and delivering graduation speeches and skillfully imbue their remarks with meaning and a deep understanding of their students’ intellectual and emotional journeys. Each speech is laced with the palpable connection of student and teacher, and you are immediately assured of the next 75 years and more … We salute the Class of 2017 and offer our endless appreciation for the “grand” gift of Roeper teachers. Have a wonderful summer, and please keep in touch! Yours,



… the highlight of this past year and every other in our 75 years, is the passionate commitment of Roeper teachers.







Class of 2017 Parents, Families & Friends ~ Commencement photos & video are available! TO PURCHASE PHOTOS, PLEASE VISIT … > Clients > Roeper > Class of 2017 TO REQUEST A VIDEO, PLEASE CONTACT …

KIT Senior Edition 2017  

KIT Senior Edition Volume 10: 4 Summer 2017

KIT Senior Edition 2017  

KIT Senior Edition Volume 10: 4 Summer 2017