It was a historic 119th commencement at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School on Sunday, May 15 as the School celebrated its largest and most accomplished graduating class.
Rabun Gap graduated a record-breaking 102 students at the outdoor ceremony surrounding statues of school founders Andrew Jackson and Addie Corn Ritchie. Members of the Class of 2022 represent 22 countries and seven U.S. states. Graduates from Macon County were Sarah Katherine Brenner of Franklin, Alexandria Beth Burnett of Franklin, Alexander Porter Haiss of Franklin, Genevieve Elle Maddox of Franklin, Larissa Katlynn Orr of Franklin, Paloma Sofia Robles of Franklin, Grace Maranna Spoon of Otto, Samuel Ford Templeton of Franklin, and George Yates Underwood of Highlands.
Graduates from the Class of 2022 are headed to the top colleges and universities in the United States and across the world. All were accepted to college. Overall, the class received more than 350 acceptances and earned more than $4 million in college scholarships. Academically, the Class of 2022 is very strong, with 52 students earning high honors, the highest percentage of any graduating class to date.
The Rev. Dr. George Wirth, retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and chair of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School Board of Trustees, delivered the baccalaureate address during Sunday’s commencement ceremony.
Asia Amina Hamid, a four-year boarding student from Brooklyn, NY, was the student speaker.
Alexander Haiss and Genevieve Maddox, both of Franklin, NC were named valedictorians with the highest GPA in the class. Haiss will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Maddox will attend the University of Pittsburgh. Jameson Madden of Cashiers, NC, and Anh Pham of Vietnam received The Crystal Eagle Award. This is the highest award given to Rabun Gap seniors, which honors outstanding service in campus and community life.
Senior class president Sam Templeton delivered the Prayers of the Class of 2022 and was thanked for his exceptional leadership.
Special music, “The Blessing,” performed by Lucy Barry of Rabun Gap, GA, Eryn Blakeley of St. Micheal, Barbados, and Laura Grace Schmeichel of Palmetto, FL ended the graduation ceremony before the Class of 2022 graduates were officially announced as Rabun Gap alumni.
“The Class of 2022 will always have a special place in my heart,” said Head of School Mr. Jeff Miles. “These graduates represent the very best of Rabun Gap. The Class of 2022 will be remembered as one of the most talented and relentless classes of all time and one that created a positive impact on our community. They overcame three years of school during a global pandemic, achieved outstanding college acceptances, celebrated the 20th anniversary of Cirque, and helped bring home two state championships in athletics. We can’t wait to see the bright futures ahead for these new Rabun Gap alumni.”