Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn’s Class of 2021
Honored at 151st Commencement Exercises
BAY RIDGE – Members of Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn’s Class of 2021 took part in the historic Academy’s 151st Commencement Exercises on Sunday, June 6th, 2021, inside the John Lockwood Auditorium Theatre, named for Adelphi’s founder. The new graduates are looking forward to continuing their academic careers in college and pursuing a variety of rewarding career paths. Graduates looked back fondly on their time at Adelphi and expressed excitement about the future.
Class of 2021 Valedictorian William Chen delivered an inspiring address at the Commencement that highlighted Adelphi’s commitment to educating the “total child” and the importance of receiving a well-rounded education through academics as well as student involvement. William looked back on his own personal high school journey, during which he balanced his meticulous study habits with a desire to become a leader of the Adelphi community. He joined The Adelphi Oracle in his freshman year and became a featured columnist before earning the title of Production Manager, specializing in the design and layout of each issue. He also became a leader behind the scenes of Adelphi’s Theater Arts Program, serving on the Stage Crew before ultimately earning the role of Stage Manager for The Adelphian Masquers’ 5 Year Anniversary Show! and Adelphi Strong! William also used his love of puzzle-solving to eventually serve as co-moderator of Adelphi’s Brain Games Club. In addition, he shined as a member of Adelphi’s Student Advisory Board.
“We shape our own experiences, so the more prepared we are, the more open-minded, the more we think outside of and inside of the box and the more we try new things, the more rewarding those experiences will be,” William said in his remarks. “As you are going down your path, you will take all you know from the past. That is how you create your future!”
Among the prestigious awards he received at the Commencement was the Dr. Edwin N. Beery Award, inspired by the loyal dedication, wise leadership and achievement of Dr. Beery and presented to William for exemplifying those qualities and working for the betterment of Adelphi. William also received the Margaret A. Lowrie Award, named for a beloved English teacher, for his excellent work with the Oracle. William, who was inducted into Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn’s Chapter of the Quill & Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists in his sophomore year, was recognized at the Commencement for his role as Production Manager for the newspaper. He also received the Community and School Service Award, presented to outstanding members of the graduating class who have contributed the most to the welfare of the school community as well as the greater community during their time at Adelphi; and the New England Society History Award, sponsored by the New England History Society and presented to William for excellence in the study of History. William was also the recipient of the coveted Head’s Award, presented by Head of School Ms. Iphigenia Romanos for outstanding dedication, loyalty and principles as displayed in classwork, attendance, activities and service to the school and the community.
William will be attending NYU Tandon School of Engineering in the fall to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.
A powerful address was also delivered by Class of 2021 Salutatorian Ilona Makovetskaya. In her remarks, she thanked the many faculty members and administrators who guided her throughout her Adelphi journey and helped her become a leader within her class and to serve as an example to all Adelphians. During her time at Adelphi, Ilona served as Co-Managing Editor of The Adelphi Oracle and starred in a number of productions as part of Adelphi’s Theater Arts Program. She was a proud member of Adelphi’s Student Advisory Board and organized weekly homeroom challenges involving brain teasers and riddles. She encouraged her fellow classmates to never forget that they remain part of the Adelphi family after graduation.
“Let us remember to take Adelphi with us everywhere we go as we make our mark on the world,” she said. “We have learned and experienced so much from our home away from home, Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn. May Adelphi’s Pride, Tradition, Spirit, and Excellence live on and flourish!”
Among the prestigious awards Ilona received at the Commencement were the Sara Schau Memorial Award, dedicated to the administrative secretary who served the Academy from 1977 to 1997 and presented to Ilona for service to the Academy in the highest degree; and the Anna Gilmore Fuller Award, named for a beloved English teacher and presented to Ilona with scholarship as the prime consideration. The proud Quill & Scroll member, who was also inducted in her sophomore year, was also a recipient of the Margaret A. Lowrie Award for her outstanding contributions to the Oracle and was recognized for her role as Co-Managing Editor. Ilona also received the Adelphic Award, presented to the outstanding member of the graduating class who has contributed greatly to the growth of the Academy yearbook, The Adelphic. She was also presented the Community and School Service Award and the Mildred Johnston Award, named for a beloved English teacher and presented to Ilona for excellence in the study of English.
Ilona will be attending Baruch College in the fall to pursue a degree in business.
Classmate Susan Benjamin was unable to attend the Commencement Exercises, but that didn’t stop her from earning several notable awards and honors. Like William and Ilona, Susan received the Margaret A. Lowrie Award for her outstanding contributions to the Oracle and was recognized for serving dutifully as Co-Managing Editor of the newspaper. In addition to several certificates of merit in various subjects, she received the Charles Abaffy Award, named after a dedicated teacher, department chair, adviser and friend and presented to Benjamin for outstanding achievement in Social Studies. Susan was also a recipient of the Community and School Service Award.
Susan reflected on her experience at Adelphi during an interview with the Panther Press Room.
“I remember my first day like yesterday. The Adelphi family will always be a part of me,” she said. “My advice to students is to enjoy your Adelphi years while you have them because they go by so fast!”
Susan is excited to be attending St. John’s University in the fall to pursue a law degree.
Graduate Ariel Burshteyn was proud to receive the New York State Attorney General Triple C Award for demonstrating outstanding “Character, Courage and Commitment” at Adelphi. The 2019-2020 Quill & Scroll inductee was also recognized during the ceremony for his role as the Oracle’s Sports Editor this past year. Ariel received a Certificate of Effort in English as well as a Certificate of Excellence in History, among other awards. He looked back fondly at his time at Adelphi during a recent interview.
“I will miss my friends, and I will miss the newspaper for sure,” he said. “I learned a lot through Journalism Club. It’s fun. I definitely want to join the newspaper in college.”
Ariel will be attending Hofstra University in the fall and aspires to become a physical therapist.
Fellow graduate Luana Lin San received a Certificate of Merit for Art at the Commencement, along with an accompanying medal. She also received a special certificate for being a graduating member of Adelphi’s International Scholars Academy, along with certificates for her participation in Adelphi’s Mentorship Program and Etiquette Training. Her advice to younger Adelphians is simple, but important. “Keep working hard!” she said. “You will have success if you try.”
Luana is looking forward to attending college at the School for Visual Arts in the fall, where she hopes to earn a degree in graphic design.
Class of 2021 member Boris Rusol received a Certificate of Merit for History at the Commencement Exercises in recognition of his academic excellence, along with a very special award celebrating his athletic prowess. He was proud to receive the Les Finkelstein Memorial Award, dedicated to the memory of Adelphi’s longtime athletic director and presented to Boris for superior athletic achievement in all areas of physical education.
Boris offered some important advice to younger Adelphians. “Try your best, stay humble and learn from your mistakes,” he said. He will be attending Brooklyn College in the fall and hopes to pursue a career in cyber security.
Classmate Yinuo “Erika” Xiang received several prestigious awards at the Commencement, including the Herbert W. Scott Award, named after a beloved Math teacher and presented to Erika for excellence in the study of Mathematics; and the American Citizenship Award, sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and presented to Erika for possessing the qualities and characteristics the Academy hopes to instill in all of its students. A key Oracle staff member and 2020-2021 Quill & Scroll inductee, Erika also received special recognition for her excellent work both designing and writing for the newspaper. As part of a very special presentation, Director of Academy Operations Mr. Albert C. Corhan spoke about Erika’s ongoing work to create an Adelphi art collection composed of her original pieces highlighting the Academy. Then he and Head of School Ms. Iphigenia Romanos unveiled an incredible painting done by Erika depicting Adelphi Academy under snowfall. The talented artist was then presented a very special award in recognition of her efforts to create the new collection.
Erika was appreciative of the honor and the opportunity to make a lasting contribution to her school. “Art helps make your surroundings more colorful,” she said. “I’m glad to be able to do that for Adelphi.”
Erika will also be attending the School for Visual Arts in the fall, where she plans to major in Interactive Design.
Class of 2021 member Joseph Zaremba received a very special award at the Commencement — the Eric Paul Harrison ’59 Award, which was established in 1995 in memory of a dedicated alumnus of the Class of 1959, teacher, admissions director and guidance counselor, and presented to Joseph for overcoming personal odds to achieve in life skills. He also received several Certificates of Merit, including a Certificate of Excellence in Physical Education and a Certificate of Effort in Music.
Joseph aspires to become a union carpenter, and reflected upon his experience building a hospital at SUNY Old Westbury during the pandemic. “It took three days to build. We started with a tent filled with rocks and we ended up building a nice floor. It helped lead me into construction as a career choice,” he said. Joseph also reflected on one of his favorite memories at Adelphi. “I enjoyed starting my birthday tradition the most,” he said. “I would find out every student’s birthday, then spread the word to everyone to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ during lunch. I did that for all the students. I hope that continues!”
Ms. Romanos remarked at the Class of 2021’s extraordinary strength as well as each member’s own personal growth and development. “Each member of Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn’s Class of 2021 takes with him or her a unique set of interests and skills that were developed through their individual experiences as Adelphians,” she said. “I am so very proud of all of this year’s graduates for excelling despite uncertainty and achieving in the face of adversity. I have no doubt that each of these graduates will continue to build upon the foundation of hard work instilled in them during their time at Adelphi because each has already proven to be #AdelphiStrong!”
As the oldest private, independent, continuing, coeducational, college-preparatory day school in the borough and one of the oldest in the nation, Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn, “the little school of big dreams” has been “effectively preparing young people for college, career, and life, one day at a time” for over 150 years. Founded in 1863 and located in the historic Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, Adelphi enrolls students from two years of age through twelfth grade. A strong emphasis is placed on small class size, individualized attention, self-expression, critical thinking and challenging hands-on learning through Adelphi’s founding philosophy and dedication to the education of the “total child.” Adelphi students excel within a small, intimate, safe, caring, nurturing, and secure environment through Adelphi’s core values and founding principles of pride, tradition, spirit, and excellence. The student-teacher ratio is 8 to 1 and Adelphi is a New York State Regents Exempt Program with a 100% college application, acceptance and attendance rate. A founding member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, Adelphi receives its charter from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and has been a member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since 1928. Ms. Iphigenia Romanos serves as Head of School.
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Photos courtesy of Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn