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La Pietra's 51st Graduating Class

On Monday, May 21, La Pietra celebrated its 51st commencement ceremony with 15 outstanding graduates. From the annual tradition of the Junior Class decorating the ceremony stage to the Parent Faculty Association preparing the menu for the post-Graduation Reception, La Pietra's graduation is one of the most beautiful ceremonies in Hawaii.

This year's fifteen graduates sent out over 130 applications to nearly 100 different colleges and universities throughout the world. With nearly 60 acceptances, the class has garnered over $450,000 in merit scholarships. They will intend to pursue majors such as pre-medical biology, international studies, mathematics, nursing, acting, education, criminal justice, art, and more.

Delivering the keynote address to the Class of 2018 was alumna and prominent leader in Hawaii's hospitality industry, Kelly Banks Hoen '75. She is currently the General Manager of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. Hoen held previous positions as the General Manager for The Modern Honolulu, The Royal Hawaiian, and Princeville Resort.

In her address she states to the Class of 2018, "There's a sisterhood amongst you, and the sisterhood is ridiculously powerful." She goes on to say, "Your ability to support each other, to argue with each other, and still come out as a strong sisterhood, and watching each other's back is really a testament to how you build relationships. That skill of building relationships and bonding will take you far in this world."

She reverted back to her personal experience at La Pietra, when she graduated exactly 43 years ago. She states, "The formidable experience that I had, really impacted me to who I am today. I walked out of here in 1975, with confidence, with focus, while still maintaining that radical, ridiculous, goofy identity that I have. I knew that if I worked hard and had a lot of passion and dreamt big that I could achieve incredible things."

Hoen admits her gratitude to La Pietra – Hawaii School for Girls and the foundational skills that were instilled in her while attending. She affirmed to the graduating class, "The power of La Pietra is about shaping women for the future and that it has always been the mission and always will be, and it is also the power of sisterhood." Click here to watch her entire speech.

Board of Trustee Chair, Wendy Crabb, also spoke to audience members and the Class of 2018 of their accomplishments and achievements.

Head of School, Dr. Josh Watson presented three awards to outstanding graduates. The first award was the Joseph H. Pynchon Headmaster's award and is recognized for an individual who has made significant and personal contributions to the life of the school and service to others. It was presented to Georgina Rose D'Sanson '18.

The second award, the Lorraine Day Cooke Founder's Prize, was given to Malaya Caligtan-Tran '18. It is presented to the Senior who has high academic standing, extracurricular achievements, and outstanding citizenship.

The third award was the Barbara Cox Anthony Scholar Athlete Award, which is dedicated to the Senior who demonstrates athletic excellence, high academic achievement, and who has participated in several community service activities. The recipient was Jessica Akiona '18.

Before diplomas were handed out, Valedictorian Georgina Rose D'Sanson '18 addressed her peers.

In her speech she refers to her love of mathematics and states, "In Calculus we use integrals to solve four things such as position or total distance travelled. When a particular integral problem is too difficult or complex to solve, we use this method called u-substitution, in which we substitute a part of the integral with the letter 'u'. As previously stated, you [graduating class] have been an integral part of my experience at La Pietra; and simply put, nothing can ever nor will ever be able to substitute you ('u')."

Georgina will be attending Johns Hopkins University and pursuing mathematics. Click here to watch her entire speech.

To view highlights of the ceremony, click here.

Below is the list of colleges the Class of 2018 will be attending:

  • Drexel University
  • George Washington University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
  • Macquarie University
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Pitzer College
  • Southern Oregon University
  • The American Musical and Dramatic Academy
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Las Vegas
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of West Alabama