Darienites among those graduating from King
STAMFORD -- Ambitious students wondering how to succeed in a competitive world would be wise to develop a solid grounding in accounting and finance to get a leg up on their job competitors, former New York Life Insurance Company President Frederick Sievert told the 66 graduating members of King Class of 2011.
"The biggest career block and deficiency among employees is they simply don't understand or appreciate the importance of financial results," Sievert, 63, said. "Even worse, too many executives can't read a financial statement much less manage to one."
Sievert spoke to an audience of parents, relatives, friends, and fellow schoolmates of the graduating class on Sunday afternoon at a commencement ceremony at King on Newfield Avenue, a private preparatory school that teaches students in grades Kindergarten through 12.
"I always approach this ceremony focusing on our journey together," Head of School Thomas B. Main said. "They are about to pass through a portal on their next phase of their journey ... The closing of that portal means the door closes forever behind them."
Sievert cautioned the teens against coasting, and said they should make efforts to excel in all their college classes, likening it to working long hours and learning a company's mission once they enter the job world.
More InformationKing class of 2011 Nicholas Bass, Darien Tyler Benedetto, Norwalk Jonathan Berger, Norwalk Max Beyman, Norwalk James Boyle, Stamford Cali Capalbo, Stamford Joseph Careccia, Norwalk James Carlucci, New Canaan Valentina Casanova, Stamford Lillie-Marie Cooper, Old Greenwich Austin Doering, Norwalk Charles Enright, Stamford Jesse Futterman, Rye, N.Y. Katherine Gimpel, Stamford Kendall Hartzell, New Canaan Ilse Heine, Norwalk Scott Huley, Greenwich Matthew Johnson, Stamford Deondre Jones, Stamford Samantha Karp, New Canaan Kristin Keane, Darien Joseph Keeney, Greenwich Devon Kelley, Greenwich Patrick Kennedy, Greenwich Jonathan King, Harrison Adrienne Lange, Greenwich Ryan Lasnick, Stamford Morgan Lyew, Stamford Caroline Main, Stamford Timothy Marren, Rye, N.Y. Daniel Martin, Greenwich Christina Matera, Greenwich Jackson Mehan, Stamford Amanda Meyer, New Canaan Alexa Molinaro, New Canaan Elliott Morrill, Stamford James Murray, Stamford Philip Nussbaum, Stamford Michael O'Rourke, Stamford Max Orenstein, Darien William Qua, Darien Maximo Reyes, Darien Angus Robertson, Greenwich Greta Savickaite, Stamford Michael Schneider, Stamford Christopher Schoen, Stamford Caroline Sciolla, New Canaan Michael Serricchio, Stamford Steven Sheets, Stamford John Sheresky, Greenwich Lindsay Sherwood, Darien Elizabeth Smith, Rye, N.Y. William Smithline, Rye, N.Y. Rachel Stern, Stamford Lindsay Stone, Stamford Cary Sullivan, Darien Patrick Sullivan, Darien Katherine Sun, Greenwich Taylor Thomson, Norwalk Tre Tipton, Stamford Julie Tooher, Stamford Melanie Tremesani, Stratford Michael Velasco, Stamford Max Wardaki, Darien Emily Wilson, New Canaan Jennifer Wilson, New Canaan
"In this job market it is not enough to just get top grades in your area of study and I can tell you at New York Life we rarely looked at the resumes of students who had a GPA less than 3.5," Sievert said. "The competition for entry level jobs right now is pretty brutal."
Valedictorian Ilse Heine, 17, who has attended the school since sixth grade and will study at Vassar College next year, said she was thankful for what she said was the rigorous academic program of the school, recalling how she had been intimidated when she arrived as a middle schooler and was asked to memorize lines from Shakespeare.
"I realized that my time at King would be both challenging and meaningful," she said. ". . . We realize how fortunate we are to be given the tools to think in a world where individual opinion is often stifled."
"He will leave a void when he leaves the school and will be missed," Main said. "He is a very special person and I'm sure he will do great things."
Futterman said he believed the Class of 2011 exemplified the spirit of academic freedom that King tried to instill in students.
"This class has the drive to move beyond textbook learning and I think we possess this desire more than any other class," Futterman said.
In a long-running tradition at the school, the students were presented with engraved bells with the crest of the school and the date of the graduation ceremony which they rung as they exited the white tent in which the graduation was held.
Heine said she was wistful over her good experiences at King and excited for a new beginning.
"There are a lot of good memories but I'm also looking forward to the future," Heine said.
Mike Serrichio, 18, said a government class he took the second half of senior year sparked an interest in politics and in reading more frequently.
"Before that class I didn't read as much but now I've learned how enjoyable it can be and think I'll read for my whole life," Serricchio said.
Serricchio said he plans to study exercise science at Springfield College in Massachusetts, where he will play football.
"I'm more sad than glad today," Serricchio said. "I've gotten so used to coming back here and it will be strange not to be here in the fall."
Staff Writer Martin B. Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-964-2264.