On Saturday, June 11, at 2 pm, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School (HVS) will graduate its 40th class of seniors under a tent on its Ghent campus. Environmental policy expert Judith Enck, who served as a Regional Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama, will serve as commencement speaker.

Enck is currently a Senior Fellow and Visiting Faculty member at Bennington College, where she teaches classes on plastic pollution and is the founder of Beyond Plastics. She also runs the Environmental Action Fellowship at the college. Beyond Plastics works with community leaders and policymakers to become informed and active on plastic pollution issues.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Judith for many years and have always admired her work and passion for environmental stewardship,” says Martin Ping, Hawthorne Valley Executive Director and HVS Economics Teacher. “I’m thrilled to welcome her to Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School to meet the Class of 2022 and offer them words of wisdom as they prepare for the future.”

Judith Enck

The graduation will be preceded on Friday, June 10, with a Rose Ceremony, in which the first graders give the seniors a rose in an all-school assembly to wish them well as they depart HVS and begin the next phase of their journey. At the start of the year, the reverse happened at a special Flower Ceremony, where the seniors welcomed the first graders to the school.

“What a privilege to work with the seniors, first as 11th graders for their economics block and again in January for the High School Intensive in Civil Rights,” says Ping. “They are a dynamic, thoughtful, and highly creative group. I hope that their time at Hawthorne Valley will serve them well as they step out into the world, and I wholeheartedly wish each of them a fulfilling future.”

The HVS Class of 2022 includes: Sylvie Bergquist (attending Barnard College), Luke Cichowlaz (participating in a semester with Outward Bound in Costa Rica then attending Stony Brook University), Dezjuan Smith (attending SUNY Purchase), Quinn Haley (attending St. John’s College Annapolis), Gaetano Hamilton (attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Violet Hoppe (attending Fashion Institute of Technology), Zoe Jansen (taking a gap year), Violet Middlebrook (attending Pratt Institute), Ingrid Pilgrim (attending Skidmore College), Lila Porcelly (attending Fashion Institute of Technology), and Ayaka Suesada (attending Syracuse University). Profiles of the members of the class can be found here.

The talented HVS seniors applied to over 60 colleges and all were accepted to at least one college. Our students were admitted at the following universities: Bard College, Barnard College, Bennington College, Drexel University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Gettysburg College, Hartwick College, Hofstra University, Indiana University (Bloomington), Maryland Institute College of Art, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Montserrat College of Art, Moore College of Art and Design, Otterbein University, Pratt Institute, Purdue University (Main Campus), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Skidmore College, St. John’s College (Annapolis), Stony Brook University, SUNY at Purchase College, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY College at Cortland, SUNY College at Plattsburgh, SUNY Oneonta, Syracuse University, Temple University, The American University of Paris, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of New Hampshire (Main Campus), University of Oregon, University of Scranton, and Washington & Jefferson College.